Born 1745-1801, Czech-Germa composer Carl Stamitz was talented and influential, though not always prosperous. His Viola Concerto in D major, which is written in 1774, is famous amongst musicians. Alongside Hoffmeister's Viola Vonverto in G major, both of them are staples of Violists' repertoire. This concerto was first published in Frankfurt and Paris, where Stamitz had been living since 1770. It was composed, no doubt, for his own use as a piece to show his virtuosity, through the abundant use of chords, pedal notes, harmonics and even a left-hand pizzicato.
Both in the first and the third movement of this concerto, Stamitz uses chords in different ways: First with several chords at the beginning of the theme, and as a drone accompanying the melody, but also at other times by writing a double melodic line. The violist is able to explore his his own rage and color, at the same time mantaining a strong dialoque with the orchestra.
The first movement is Allegro, opens with a long orchestral exposition of the first theme. A bridge passage links to the second theme, to conclude the exposition. The second movement is an Andante moderato in D minor, rich in pathos, with a very contrasting mood to the previous and the following movements. The last movement is a very simple and lively Rondo, built more around the alternation between soloist and orchestra, with the solo viola introducing the rondo theme and the orchestra repeating it.
I am Comparing Stamitz's viola concerto to Mozart clarinet concerto in A major, k.622, which is written in 1791. Both of them are considered of the usual three movenments, in a fast - slow - fast form. And both of them are in the Galant style, which is joyful and light. However, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major is a beautiful example of his Italian influenced lyricism. Melodic ideas seem to flow together effortlessly as opposed to disparate themes presented one at a time. The lack of a cadenza is of note since we would normally expect to find one during the Classical era.
Overall, Stamitz's music is not too far removed from the works of the ealy Mozart, or Middle period of Haydn's. His works are very melodic, with the voices quite often led in thirds, sixths and tenths. A so-called "Mannheim sound" infiltrated the lifelong style of Stamitz's music. This is characterised by bold, powerful tuttis, dynamic effects, thrilling crescendos, and an idiomatic treatment of the orchestra.
“Stamitsz viola concerto No.1” Youtube Video. Uploaded Apr 7, 2012. Posted by “ atsusiueno” Accessed March 21, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDi0ZdhIfmc
Burkholder, J. Peter, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V, Oalisca. A History of Western Music. Eighth Edition. (W.W. Norton and Campany, New York, New York). 2010
Stamitz, Carl Philipp. Viola Concerto in D major, Op.1. Score. IMSLP. Accessed March 21, 2014.