Tuesday 29th May 1230 Pm Royal Academy of Music Museum Piano Gallery
Viotti-Ideal Chamber Music
with Inbar Verni-Harp
Repertoire -Viotti-Sonata for Harp and Violin (dedicated to Lady Dunmore), plus Country Dances for 1808 & 1809
A celebration of Giovanni Battista Viotti through his private artistic world, which was always more important to him than concert giving. Soundbox explores a work that he dedicated to Lady Dunmore, his love of playing dance music, his friendships with Madame de Genlis, Thomas Moore, William Sotheby, Germaine de Stael, Margaret Chinnery, walks in the woods around Waltham Abbey and Epping Forest, and his mutual admiration with the portraitist of the age Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun. I am delighted to welcome the wonderful young harpist Inbar Vernia to to participate in the session.
Music-Giovanni Battista Viotti-Sonata, for Harp with Violin Accompaniment, dedicated to Lady Susan Dunmore-Allegro Brillante
A Walk in the Woods
Viotti-Adagio ‘composta da una dilettante’
Viotti was also the last great soloist who as reportedly happy to work as an accompanist, whether to harpists, pianists or dancers. This has led to questions as to whether Viotti’s main work whilst in the employ of Marie Antoinette was to accompany her as she played sonatas on the harp or fortepiano.
As with almost every aspect of Viotti’s sojourn at Versailles, information is sketchy at best. However inappropriate the role of of violin accmpnanist might seem for Viotti, his Grand Sonata for Harp, with an accompaniment for a violin (ad libitum) epitomises this subservient role. This work was dedicated to Lady Dunmore, at whose soirées he would very likely have met the Comtesse de Boigne, who was an “old friend”.
Jacques Marquet de Montbreton de Norvins (1769-1867) was later Napoleon’s chief of Police in Rome. He described a soirée in the hôtel of the Mme. de la Briches, on the Rue de la Ville Évéque in November 1790, before the ‘tempest’. Cards were being played, whilst Viotti accompanied the niece of the philosophe, Abbé André Morellet (1727-1819), the harpist, Mlle. Belz. The evening was interrupted by the arrival of the recently married Comte and the ‘delicious’ Comtesse de Noailles, nicknamed ‘Madame Etiquette’ by Marie Antoinette, whom she served as ‘First Lady of Honour’. Two years later, the Comtesse made a very different and rather more dramatic entrance into polite society at Brighton, having “travelled by boat disguised as a man, concealed in a giant coil of cable for fourteen hours.”