The Opus 68 Wind Quintets of Franz Danzi
Scores and Parts Created from the Early 19th-Century Sources
Charles-David Lehrer, General Editor
Franz Danzi: Quintet in D Minor: Op. 68, No. 3
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon
Franz Danzi (1763-1826) published this work, the third of his Trois Grands Quintettes Op. 68, with the House of André in Offenbach during the latter part of the year 1823 or early in 1824.
This edition of Franz Danzi’s Op. 68 is based upon a late 19th-century manuscript of the parts located in the Département de la musique of the Bibliothèque Nationale under the call number L.2561. The individual parts contain an additional number 1 through 5 depending upon the instrument. The flute and oboe parts are each dated August 1888 and are signed by the copyist K. Larles.
The question is: why was this manuscript made when the parts were readily available in published form? Perhaps by 1888 the Danzi quintets in question were out of print, although the House of André was still operating and in good financial health. Penciled-in rehearsal letters indicate that the parts were actually used. But by whom? It so happens that in the year 1879 Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) formed his famous group for the performance of music for wind ensembles, the Société des Instruments à Vent; and this series of works by Danzi might have been part of its repertory, at least repertory that members of the ensemble could read through. Laila Storch reports that few quintets were ever programmed by the Société; so, perhaps the copy was made for student use at the Paris Conservatoire.
The instruments are given French names on the frontispiece for each individual part: flûte, hautbois, clarinette, cor, and bassoon; but Italian pervades the actual parts insofar as tempo and dynamics are concerned. There is no score. Clarinet in A and horn crooked in E are specified for this work. Throughout Danzi's nine quintets, though, the clarinetist will need Bb and A clarinets, while the hand-horn player will use several crooks.
The Op. 68 Quintetti are set in the following keys:
No. 1: La majeur
No. 2: Fa majeur
No. 3: Ré mineur
Each of Danzi's quintets follows the same four-movement scheme as Antoine Reicha's famous 24 wind quintets: sonata form, slow movement, scherzo, finale. It is significant that Danzi, who worked at the court of the Grand Duke of Baden in his magnificent Schloss in Karlsruhe at the time, chose the Parisian publisher Maurice Schlesinger to present his first three quintets, the Op. 56, for it was in Paris that Reicha's superb quintet players were in residence at several of the most prominent theatres in town. Covering all bases, the same series was issued concurrently in Berlin, the capitol of Prussia, by the father of Maurice, Adolf Martin Schlesinger who was the founder of Chez Schlesinger. The House of André in Offenbach, equally as famous and chosen by Danzi for the publication of his Op . 67 and 68, was headed by Johann Anton André. It was under his leadership that Mozart's personal thematic catalogue, which he owned, was published in 1841.
Following a fascinating slow introduction in D minor, a lively sonata form gets underway in 6/8, a meter usually reserved for the finale. During the exposition, Danzi presents Theme 1 in D major but changes the key signature to the relative major of the tonic minor [F major] a third above D major, when he reaches its second presentation. Theme 2 follows in Bb minor, a third below D major. Theme 3 is set in F major a third above D major and this area is immediately tonicized by two closing themes. There are no repeat signs for the exposition.
After a short transition, the development ensues with Theme 1 taking the lead. Theme 1 returns in the recapitulation in D major only, followed by Theme 2 in the subdominant minor [G minor]. D major is again reached with the appearance of Theme 3, but in a surprise move, Danzi goes to the parallel minor for the closing material, ending with a Phrygian cadence which includes a Tierce de Picardie on the final chord.
In the original Bb clarinet part, the key signature of one sharp is held throughout the entire movement: rather than changing the key signature when the tonality changes, the additional three sharps are added as accidentals as they come up. The same procedure is followed in the finale.
The composition of this movement is, to be sure, heavily under the influence of several of Reicha’s Romantic procedures. Danzi has, in fact, created a Reicha wind quintet parody! This is a very superior and unique movement.
The slow movement is set in rondo format and in a third relationship with the primary key of the quintet [D minor] in this case Bb Major. The three refrains are led each time by the clarinet, and they enclose two couplets. The first couplet is set in a third relationship with the tonic at Db major, while the second couplet is placed a third below the tonic in G major. Similar relationships involving the interval of the third were found in the first movement. This movement contains absolutely superb writing for wind instruments.
Returning to D minor, Danzi lays out this Menuet in rounded binary form. The contorted theme of the oboe is most fascinating as it makes its chromatic descent in the A section of the structure. The Menuet proper is followed by a Trio, also set in rounded binary form but in the key of Bb major, a third below the tonic. Again the composer is reinforcing the third relationship concept which has permeated this quintet. This is a very strong movement.
When I first noticed the two breves that end this work, I knew something special was afoot. In fact, at times the tactus is on the semibreve, i.e. whole note. In addition, this movement is a sonata form, unusual for Danzi since he leans towards the rondo for his finales. Again he is paying his respects to Antoine Reicha.
Beginning in the tonic D minor, the exposition contains two primary themes and several closing themes. The development concentrates upon Theme 2, as does the recapitulation which omits Theme 1. The structure:
Theme 1: tonic [D minor]
Theme 2: relative major [F major]; twice
Theme 1: fragment
Theme 2: Neapolitan realm [Eb major]
Theme 2: relative major [F major]
Theme 1: fragments
Theme 2: parallel major [D Major]; twice
Closing themes: parallel major
This is the ninth and final quintet published by Franz Danzi. Its many mannerisms make it appear to be a tribute to Antoine Reicha. In fact, it may be the only quintet among Danzi’s nine to have been composed under the influence of Reichas works. Many movements among the other eight are so akin to late 18th century music, insofar as their style is concerned, that they might have actually been composed without any knowledge of Reichas quintet compositions, the latter which first appeared in print around 1818. In fact, by 1811 Danzi was supervising the instruction on wind instruments in Stuttgart at an institute for music established by the King of Württemberg, and he could have easily produced his first wind quintets at that time. The following year, 1812, he was appointed to the court of the Grand Dukes of Baden in Karlsruhe, were he remained for the rest of his days. .
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