Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

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bicinium
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Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby bicinium » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:07 pm

Greetings,

The gist of this post is "what to name a work page about a double bass solo with orchestral accompaniment that isn't a concerto"?

A number of Domenico Dragonetti's works that I've uploaded as concertos (the ones numbered 1-5) are actually only ever referred to in the manuscript sources as "solos" with orchestral accompaniment; unlike the concerto op.1, which is definitely billed as a concerto (as well as at least two other concertos that I haven't uploaded yet). I don't like that there is both a Concerto No.1 and a Concerto Op.1, for instance, and I think the best and most authentic way to improve the situation is to rename the numbered works closer to what they are called in the manuscript, i.e. solos "a tutta orchestra". But my question is, what would be the page title be?

Thanks

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Re: Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby steltz » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:10 pm

For a start, here are some questions:
1) are the manuscript sources that use the work "Solo" autograph or holograph sources?
2) are the printed sources first editions that would have been done under Dragonetti's supervision or approval?
3) Would an Opus no.1 not be a Concerto no.1, if it were the composer's first work? (Although I am aware that opus numbering has many pitfalls, and is not chronologically reliable for many composers.)
4) If the Concerto no.1 isn't an op.1, does it have its own opus number?

And a couple of other comments:
a) "Solo" is a title that we use for work pages, especially where the composer has used it, so I am not necessarily advocating against the use of "Solo". I am thinking of the myriad of "Solo" titles that were used as competition works at the Paris Conservatoire (e.g. Klosé).
b) There are examples of concerto numbers that don't line up with chronological ordering. Off the top of my head, Crusell's op.1 concerto was not the first one he wrote. So we have gotten used to referring to them by opus number rather than the chronological ordering (which is anyway only "probable" at best).
c) There are examples of works that have one title on the autograph manuscript, and a different one on the printed copy. One example would be Schumann's "Fantasiestücke" for clarinet and piano, which is "Soireestücke" on the autograph manuscript. However, in this case, the 1st edition printing was done under the editing or supervision of either Schumann or his wife Clara, so one can assume the change met with Robert's approval. And in any case, so few people have actually seen the autograph manuscript, no one would find it under its original name. So Robert's 2nd choice it is . . .

As for Dragonetti, I would first and foremost look for a solution that uses Dragonetti's original titles, even if we have some of them under "Solo" and some of them under "Concerto". The opus numbers (if they exist) should be good enough identifiers. If we start naming every solo piece with orchestra with one generic title just for consistency, then we either have to make Mozart's Rondo for flute a "Concerto no.3" or make it, along with the two full concertos, "Solos", but I think this is a false consistency and leads to a confusion all of its own.

Not to be recommended, in my opinion.
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Re: Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby steltz » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:21 pm

OK, looking at Concerto no.1 briefly, I notice a couple of things -- first, the "Famous Concerto" seems to have come from Doblinger's 1958 edition, and I would think the title is Doblinger's -- I doubt that any composer would be egotistical enough to name a first edition "A Famous Concerto". Next, the manuscript "Add MS 17726" in the British Library has the note: "scored for 5 strings, by Simon Sechter, in whose hand they are", i.e. this is not in Dragonetti's own hand, if I read it correctly. So I wouldn't necessarily take his title as being genuine, or his scoring for that matter.

I understand the discomfort with a Concerto no.1 alongside a Concerto op.1, but on a cursory glance, I wouldn't rename the concertos to be consistent with an edition that probably has been named by a publisher or copyist and not Dragonetti.

Are you aware of any earlier manuscripts or printed editions for this specific work? B
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Re: Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby bicinium » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:33 pm

Thank you. I hope these observations help.
steltz wrote:1) are the manuscript sources that use the work "Solo" autograph or holograph sources?

The pieces designated as "Concertos" look like professional copies to me. The volume is prefaced by Vincent Novello (the text is difficult to make out), but I can't see any statement on the handwriting.

Regarding the solos with orchestral accompaniment:
Add MS 17726 contains scores of some quintets (or double bass solos with string quartet accompaniment) and also the solos with orchestra which I uploaded as concertos. The title page by Novello reads "A collection of solos for the Double-Bass, composed by Domenico Dragonetti" plus some autobiographical paragraphs. The scores themselves contain no title (apart from tempo indications) and it is not even always clear where each piece ends and the next one begins.
Luckily, there is a catalog for this entire volume in Add MS 17826, which includes at the top:
"Musica a quintetti, par Violino, 2 viola, violoncello, Contra Basso a Solo. Di D. Dragon."
And then:
"a tutta orchestra" (followed by the relevant solos)
At the bottom, added later by Novello:
"This exceedingly rare and curious List, of some of Signor Dragonetti's compositions, is in his own handwriting."
One of the solos, No.6 (which I haven't uploaded yet) appears as a set of parts in Add MS 17832, with each first page marked as "Potpori" and "N.28". On the 1st violin part, Novello wrote "A collection of very curious pieces, composed by Dragonetti, and in his own handwriting".
steltz wrote:2) are the printed sources first editions that would have been done under Dragonetti's supervision or approval?

Only some of Dragonetti's vocal pieces were published during his life. The current state of affairs was started by Doblinger in the 20th century, I think.
steltz wrote:3) Would an Opus no.1 not be a Concerto no.1, if it were the composer's first work? (Although I am aware that opus numbering has many pitfalls, and is not chronologically reliable for many composers.)

Indeed, but the current "Concerto No.1" is not that work, and has only ever been referred to as a solo (indirectly, by Novello) and never as a concerto.
steltz wrote:4) If the Concerto no.1 isn't an op.1, does it have its own opus number?

There are only page numbers. Solo No.6 has the N.28, maybe, but such numbers are extremely rare throughout all the volumes, so there's no telling what they represent.

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Re: Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby Carolus » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:30 am

Further to Steltz's questions, do the works fall into the conventional three-movement concerto form? The fact that we're referring to works featuring a double bass soloist with an orchestra weighs into the equation as well. Manuscripts, even holographs, are notoriously unreliable for titles - for some composers more than others of course. What were the pieces referred to at their premieres? As for opus numbers, they seem to be spotty at best with Dragonetti so simply sticking to the generic formula of <generic title> in <key> is best unless we run into more than on in the same key, in which case we can resort to a catlog number in order to differentiate two which would other wise have identical titles (e.d. Concerto for Double Bass in D major). Adding designations such as Concerto No.1 implies that it was the first composed, and such chronological designations have a long list of disproved claims (Beethoven's "No.1" is really at least his third foray into the form, for example, even though it was the first to be published).

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Re: Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby bicinium » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:36 am

Carolus wrote:Further to Steltz's questions, do the works fall into the conventional three-movement concerto form?

The three pieces I've found which are designated as "Concerto" on the manuscript, have three movements in the fast-slow-fast scheme (this includes the Concerto Op.1 currently uploaded). The "solos with orchestra" Nos.1-6 do not. 1-5 have two movements each, save for a short, opening largo somewhere, and No.6 has roughly five (YouTube).
Carolus wrote:What were the pieces referred to at their premieres?

I don't know of any biographical information about Dragonetti's own pieces. He was mostly famous for playing Corelli.
Carolus wrote:As for opus numbers, they seem to be spotty at best with Dragonetti so simply sticking to the generic formula of <generic title> in <key> is best unless we run into more than on in the same key, in which case we can resort to a catlog number in order to differentiate two which would other wise have identical titles (e.d. Concerto for Double Bass in D major).

Alas, two of the three are in G major, the third being in C major (subtitled "gran concerto"). There is no catalog for Dragonetti's works; the "D." numbers are plate numbers of the Vicenza conservatory press, mistaken for catalog numbers. I would still argue for keeping the "Op.1" since the title page clearly says "opera prima", making it a useful signifier, like how it is referred to here on YouTube.

I've been ordering microfilm scans of all ten Dragonetti volumes from the British Library and intend to upload them as collections as soon as they're complete, so maybe then the broader community can sort this out.

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Re: Renaming of Dragonetti concertos to "solos with orchestra"

Postby Carolus » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:34 pm

There is no problem with using Op.1 as long as there is no competing Op.1 which happens more than we would like with composers (and even moreso publishers) of the era. We also have an internally generated catalog system (IDD numbers in this case) which can be employed in the cases where there are more than one work in the same key. Using a plate number for a catalog number is not such a good idea, as other publishers might issue the same work with their own plate number.


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