Clementi's Selection of Practical Harmony

 

1. Summary

2. Composers and their works in the Selection of Practical Harmony

 

1. Summary

The Selection of Practical Harmony, published by Clementi & Co. between 1801 and 1814, is the result of Clementi collecting manuscript music during his frequent trips across Europe (1780–1784, 1784–1785, 1802–1810). It is in 4 volumes and contains works by 25 composers (other than Clementi), spanning a period of almost 200 years (from the early 17th century to the late 18th century):

Volume 1 (1801) contains 138 pages of music, by Agostini, Albrechtsberger, C.P.E. Bach, J.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, Caresana, Eberlin, C. Fasch, Handel, Haydn, Kirnberger, Marpurg, Martini, Mozart, Perti, Porpora, Telemann, F. Turini, and Umstatt. The book starts with a few pages of Counterpoint lessons by Clementi himself (‘Epitome of Counterpoint by the Editor’).

Volume 2 (1802) contains 156 pages of music, by Albrechtsberger, C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, Eberlin, Frescobaldi, Handel, Martini, Mozart, A. Scarlatti, and D. Scarlatti.

Volume 3 (1811) contains 122 pages of music by the Bach family (Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philip Emanuel, Johann Christoph Friedrich, Johann Christian, and their father Johann Sebastian).

Volume 4 (1814) contains 120 pages of music by Padre Martini and Albrechtsberger.

In the title pages, Clementi makes clear what type of music is contained in the volumes: ‘ingenious pieces by the most eminent composers’. One finds mostly polyphonic music: fugues, voluntaries, canons, as well as polyphonically written sonatas, dance movements, and fantasias. Clementi's contemporaries are given a marginal place in these volumes, with the exception of Albrechtsberger: the ‘eminent composers’ in question are mostly masters from the past.

The Selection of Practical Harmony still holds today the rare musical value it represented at the time of its publication. The volumes encompass a rich musical heritage and bring us insight into the complexity and artistic potency of Harmony and Counterpoint through musically outstanding keyboard examples. See table of contents and score of the original edition of volume 1.

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2. Composers and their works in the Selection of Practical Harmony

Padre Martini, J. G. Albrechtsberger, and C.P.E. Bach are by far the most represented composers in the Selection, covering all to themselves just over 50% of the 4 volumes. Martini is given a total of 106 pages (19.7%), Albrechtsberger 83 pages (15.5%), and C.P.E. Bach 80 pages (14.9%). Next come J.E. Eberlin with 47 pages (8.8%) and W.F. Bach with 45 pages (8.4%). Mozart is given a total of 11 pages (2.1%) with 2 works that are not originally for piano, and Haydn only 1 page (0.2%).

The following table provides further details of the composers and works represented in the Selection (N.B. titles of movements are mostly ‘anglicised’ here, whereas composers' names, which Clementi ‘anglicised’ in his edition, are kept in their original spelling; all quotation marks are from the Clementi edition):

 

Composers Total number of pages Works
AGOSTINI, Paolo (1583–1629) 1 line
  • vol.1, p. 32: 1 Canon (‘perpetually ascending one tone’).
ALBRECHTSBERGER, Johann Georg (1736-1809), ‘composer of the Cathedral at Vienna’ 83 pages
  • vol.1, p. 51–75: 9 Fugues;
  • vol.2, p. 2–15: 6 Fugues;
  • vol.4, p. 78–121: 21 Fugues, with 6 of them preceded by a ‘Cadenza or Prelude’ (Fugues 7–12) and another 6 by a ‘Prelude’ alone (Fugues 13–18). The last 3 Fugues end vol.4 of the Selection: ‘Christus resurrexit’, ‘Alleluja’, and another ‘Alleluja’ (‘Ite Missa est’).
BACH, Carl Philip Emanuel (1714–1788), ‘2nd son of Seb. Bach’ 80 pages
  • vol.1: 2 Canons (p. 31 and p. 34), 2 Minuets (p. 36), and from p. 110 to 126: 1 Voluntary (A major), 2 Fugues, 1 Fantasia and Fugue (G minor), 1 Voluntary and Fugue;
  • vol.2, p. 45–64: 1 Fantasia and Fugue (C minor), 1 Fantasia (C major), 1 Voluntary (the famous 'Solfeggietto' in C minor), 1 Fugue, 1 Sonata 'composed expressly for the Organ' (B flat major: Allegro - Arioso e cantabile - Allegro);
  • vol.3, p. 47–87: 1 Fantasia (C minor), 1 Adagio affettuoso e sostenuto, 1 Fugue, 1 Rondo, 1 Fantasia (C major), 1 Fugue on the name of 'BACH', 1 Allegro assai, 1 Andantino con moto, 1 Presto, 1 Allegro spiritoso, 1 Sonata (F major: Allegro moderato - Allegro) and 1 Sinfonia (F major: Allegro di molto - Andante - Allegro assai).
BACH, Johann Christian (1735-1782), 'youngest son of Seb. Bach' 13 pages
  • vol.3, p. 102–114: 2 Sonatas (E major: Allegro assai - Adagio - Prestissimo; and C minor: Grave - Allegro moderato - Allegretto).
BACH, Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-1795), '3rd son of Seb. Bach' 14 pages
  • vol.3, p. 88–101: 1 Fugue, 1 Rondo, 1 Minuet, 1 Polonaise, and 1 Sonata (C major: Allegretto - Andante alla Siciliana - Allegro).
BACH, Johann Ernst (1722-1777) 5 pages
  • vol.1, p. 127–131: 1 Fantasia and Fugue.
BACH, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) 32 pages
  • vol.1, p. 132–145: 1 Prelude (G major), 1 Gavotte–Courante–Loure–Allemande–Sarabande–Bourée–Gigue (ending vol.1), nowadays known as the 5th French Suite in G major (in a different order) [N.B. this is the first known edition of the Suite1];
  • vol.2, p. 65–73: 1 Toccata and Fugue, 1 Adagio and Fugue;
  • vol.3, p. 115–123: 2 Fugues (ending vol.3).
BACH, Wilhelm Friedemann (1710-1784), 'eldest son of Seb. Bach' 45 pages
  • vol.3, p. 2–46: 9 Fugues, 1 Capriccio, 13 Polonaises (6 of them coupled in 3 pairs), 1 Adagio, and 1 Vivace.
CARESANA, Cristoforo (1640-1709) 1 page
  • vol.1, p. 32–33: 1 Fugue ('on 2 subjects').
CLEMENTI, Muzio (1752-1832) 6 pages
  • vol.1, p. 2–7: 'Epitome of Counterpoint'.
EBERLIN, Johann Ernst (1702-1762) 47 pages
  • vol.1, p. 76–102: 5 Voluntary and Fugues;
  • vol.2, p. 16–35: 4 Voluntary and Fugues.
FASCH, Carl Friedrich Christian (1736-1760) 1 line
  • vol.1, p. 31: 1 Canon 'per diminutionem'.
FRESCOBALDI, Girolamo (1583-1643), referred to as 'the celebrated Girolamo Frescobaldi, who flourished about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and was organist of St Peter's Church at Rome' 20 pages
  • vol.2, p. 138–157: 3 Canzonas, 3 Fugues (spurious!), 1 Corrente, and 1 Toccata (ending vol.2).
HANDEL, Georg Frideric (1685-1759) 27 pages
  • vol.1, p. 36–37: 1 Fugue (2 voices);
  • vol.2, p. 74–99: 11 Fugues.
HAYDN, Franz Joseph (1732-1809) 1 page
  • vol.1, p. 34–35: 1 Minuet (in canon) and Trio.
KIRNBERGER, Johann Philip (1721-1783) 24 pages
  • vol.1, p. 8–31: 2 Voluntaries (on identical subjects), 6 Fugues, 1 Gavotta, 1 Prelude and Fugue, 1 Polonaise, 1 Fugue and Polonaise, and 1 Prelude and Fugue.
MARPURG, Friedrich Wilhelm (1718-1795) 2 pages
  • vol.1, p. 106–107: 1 Prelude and Fugue.
MARTINI, (Padre) Giovanni Battista (1706-1784), referred to as the 'celebrated Padre Martini' 106 pages
  • vol.1, p. 32: 1 Canon;
  • vol.2, p. 100–129: 4 sonatas:
    1. F minor: Prelude - Fugue - Siciliana (Adagio) - Corrente - Gavotta;
    2. G minor: Prelude - Fugue - Adagio - Allegro - Sarabanda;
    3. A major: Prelude - Fugue - Adagio - Allegro - Balletto;
    4. E minor: Prelude - Fugue;
  • vol.4, p. 2–77: 9 sonatas:
    1. E minor: Adagio - Allegro - Aria, with 4 variations - Minuet;
    2. B minor: Prelude - Allegro - Adagio - Gigue - Aria;
    3. D major: Prelude - Allegro - Adagio - Corrente - Aria;
    4. D minor: Prelude - Allegro moderato - Adagio - Gavotta - Corrente ('Canon ad diapason intensum');
    5. B flat major: Prelude - Allegro - Sarabande - Corrente - Gigue;
    6. G major: Prelude - Allegro - Andante - Allemanda - Minuet;
    7. C minor: Prelude - Allegro - Adagio - Allegro - Aria;
    8. C major: Prelude - Allegro - Adagio - Allegro - Aria;
    9. F major: Grave - Allegro - Allemanda - Aria.
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) 11 pages
  • vol.1, p. 108–109: 1 Fugue from the Requiem, 'adapted for the Organ or Piano Forte by Muzio Clementi';
  • vol.2, p. 36–44: 1 Fantasia (F minor: Allegro moderato - Andante cantabile - Tempo primo), 'adapted for the Organ or Piano-Forte by Clementi'.
PERTI, Giacomo Antonio (1661-1756) 3 lines
  • vol.1, p. 33: 1 Fugue (3 voices).
PORPORA, Nicola (1686-1768) 13 pages
  • vol.1, p. 38–50: 6 Fugues ('rather Fugatos'), the last one with the title 'Fuga Diatonica, Enarmonica, Cromatica'.
SCARLATTI, Alessandro (1660-1725), 'father to Domenico Scarlatti' 2 pages
  • vol.2, p. 130–131: 1 Fugue.
SCARLATTI, Domenico (1685-1757), 'the celebrated Performer on the Harpsichord and Organ' 6 pages
  • vol.2, p. 132–137: 2 Fugues (the 2nd, in G minor, is 'the celebrated Cat's Fugue').
TELEMANN, Georg Philipp (1681-1767) 1 page
  • vol.1, p. 75: 1 Fughetta.
TURINI, Francesco (1589-1656) 1 line
  • vol.1, p. 31: 1 Canon (in 4 parts).
UMSTATT, Joseph (1711-1762) 3 pages
  • vol.1, p. 103–105: 1 Voluntary and Fugue.

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1 Plantinga, Leon, ‘Clementi, Virtuosity, and the «German Manner»’, in Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 25, No. 3 (Autumn 1972), p. 327. The information is also found in Plantinga, Leon, Clementi: His Life and Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 188 (footnote 42).

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