2 pages. Quarto. Dated Dresden, March 25, 1801. Densely written in dark brown ink. In German (with translation).
Naumann mentions his "Italian opera" Aci e Galatea, to be performed shortly; the "Pilgrim's Song;" the challenges confronting a librettist, etc.
The composer expresses his gratitude to the recipient for his parody of the Pilgrim's Song from his oratorio I Pellegrini al sepoicro: "I am very pleased that you were able to make use of some of the items sent back. The added lyrics are beautiful and on the whole fit the music well... I would have put to use your beautiful poetic talent to write German lyrics for many a piece of music lost to the world, or at least to Germany. It is one of the most thankless tasks, but all it takes is your keen sensitivity and your musical knowledge and insights to confront the inherent challenges."
He then goes into specific portions of the text and their relationship to the music, suggesting changes that the librettist might make, e.g. " 'Freunde singt mit Herz u. Mund, stimmt an den Chorgesang' to measure 8 and to continue after the fermata, 'eines Jahres' ... "
In closing, Naumann states "I commit myself and always follow my text very strictly," going on to say "I am called to rehearsal, so I have to close ..."
Slightly worn; creased at folds; narrow strip of archival tape to right margin of verso; very small identification in ink in a contemporary hand to lower left margin of first page ("Joh. Gottl. Naumann").
The Pilgrim's Song is from I Pellegrini al Sepoicro, composed in 1798 with text by Stefano Pallavicini, the most famous of the nine oratorios that Naumann wrote for performance at the Katholische Hofkirche in Dresden.
His opera Aci e Galatea referred to in the letter was first performed in Dresden on April 25, 1801 at the Kleines Kurfürstliches Theater.
"[Naumann] received his first musical training at the Kreuzschule in Dresden, and in May 1757 went to Italy as travelling companion of the Swedish violinist Anders Wesström. In Padua Tartini took an interest in him, as did Padre Martini in Bologna (1762) and Hasse in Venice. In 1762 he made his début in Venice as an opera composer with the intermezzo Il tesoro insidiato ... On Hasse’s recommendation, he was engaged as second church composer at the Dresden court. There he was promoted to church and chamber composer (1765) and then to Kapellmeister (1776) ... Naumann accepted a favourable lifelong contract as Oberkapellmeister in Dresden (1786). He also became a leading figure in the musical life of the city ..."
"... Naumann’s extraordinarily large output includes about 25 stage works, one French and 11 Italian oratorios (most for the Catholic Hofkirche in Dresden), German choral cantatas, 21 masses and many other sacred pieces, Italian and German solo cantatas, lieder and a few instrumental works. He was the most important personality in the music history of Dresden between Hasse and Weber, as well as one of the most esteemed musicians in Europe in the late 18th century and one of the last German composers to study in Italy... Together with the poet Gottfried Körner, he seriously put forward the idea of a German national opera... "
"... Aware of the literary manifestations of the Sturm und Drang, Naumann used an extremely sensitive and intimate style representative of early Romanticism in his later works, above all in the church music, Italian solo cantatas and lieder. Particularly innovatory are the harmony, the recurring motifs, the cultivation of woodwind and the choice of texts, which increasingly emphasize nature worship and the cult of elevated friendship. His Vater unser, in the style of a lyrical choral cantata, was esteemed for many years beside Graun’s Tod Jesu and Haydn’s Creation." Dieter Härtwig and Laurie H. Ongley in Grove Music Online.
Naumann's letters are very rare to the market, ABPC recording only two examples sold at auction in the last 40 years. Item #31240
Price: $2,800.00 other currencies