Karlsruhe, Sinfonia

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The anonymous Karlsruhe Sinfonia, c. 1690, modern edition by David Whitwell. This German Hautboisten example represents the first stage of the indoor ensemble in Germany.

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Product Description

Anony­mous, c. 1690
Mod­ern edi­tion by David Whitwell (1937–)

Date: c. 1690
Instru­men­ta­tion: Haut­bois­t­en (Ob 1.2.3, Bsn 1.2, Tpt)
Lev­el: 4

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Notes on the Karlsruhe Sinfonia

Ear­li­er music his­to­ry texts assumed that the Haut­bois­t­en name referred to a small mil­i­tary band, usu­al­ly of 2 oboes, a bas­soon, and side drum, which would alter­nate com­po­si­tions with a sin­gle trum­pet play­er. From exam­i­na­tion of the actu­al reper­toire in libraries through­out Europe, today we know that there was an impor­tant indoor ensem­ble based on the Le Grands Haut­bois of Louis XIV. This ensem­ble had dou­bled parts result­ing in an ensem­ble of usu­al­ly 12 play­ers. The 12 play­er Haut­bois­t­en ensem­ble con­tin­ued into the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry and, among oth­er things, explains why Mozart wrote a wind ensem­ble for 12 winds and string bass.

The Haut­bois­t­en move­ment began in France with an ensem­ble of shawms, bas­soons, and trom­bones under Fran­cis I (1494–1547) of France. A lat­er con­tin­u­a­tion of this roy­al tra­di­tion, now known as the Les Grands Haut­bois, under Louis XIV (1638–1715), became an ensem­ble which spread to Ger­many (with the new oboe) begin­ning about 1680. 

While the Les Grands Haut­bois of Paris also includ­ed trom­bones on occa­sion, it remained a basic 12-mem­ber ensem­ble of oboes and bas­soons. It was this instru­men­ta­tion which was first heard in Ger­many, but around 1705 two horns were added. Once one had an ensem­ble of oboes, bas­soons and horns, one had a Clas­si­cal Peri­od Haut­bois­t­en ensem­ble except for the dif­fer­ence in musi­cal styles.

The present Ger­man Haut­bois­t­en exam­ple, the anony­mous Sin­fo­nia found in Karl­sruhe, rep­re­sents the first stage of the indoor ensem­ble in Ger­many. The trum­pet, when used in the inside con­cert, appears as a nor­mal mem­ber of the ensem­ble. Ear­li­er in the Ger­man Baroque there had been a very small mil­i­tary band with per­haps 2 oboes and 2 bas­soons, with a drum. For this street use this small ensem­ble alter­nat­ed with a trum­pet, who marched in front if the ensem­ble was mov­ing. In such a case the trum­pet played alone, using the tra­di­tion­al Renais­sance sonatas, etc., which were part of the reper­toire of this instru­ment. There­fore, to pro­vide rest, the trum­pet would play a com­po­si­tion, then the lit­tle Haut­bois­t­en mil­i­tary band would play, then the trum­pet, etc., con­tin­u­ing in alternation.

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