Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Campagnoli and Bach?

Bartolomeo Campagnoli (1751-1827) published his Opus 22 Capricci for solo viola in Leipzig in 1815. They are important etudes for the viola because they are original for the instrument, and they are rewarding to practice. There isn't much known about Campagnoli, though I did read somewhere that he was one of Rodolphe Kreutzer's (1766-1831) teachers, and it is certainly possible that Campagnoli learned some of his craft from Tartini, either through personal contact or through his music.

One look at Kreutzer #11

and this variation of Campagnoli #25

makes the relationship between these two composers abundantly clear. I imagine that Kreutzer figured that Campagnoli's technical paramaters for the viola (i.e. writing etudes that would build technique and not cause injury) would be just right for an all-purpose intermediate book of etudes for the violin. There is no doubt in my mind that he pilfered passages here and there.

Even though they were published in Bonn in 1802, only a few violinists knew about Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonatas and Partitas. They weren't really known until 1943, when Ferdinand David made his edition; and even then they were not well known until they were performed by the famous Joseph Joachim. I used to think that Kreutzer might have been one of the few violinists who had the 1802 publication because of how Bach-inspired his 37th Caprice sounds.

But then I noticed that Campagnoli's 33rd Caprice for viola is practically a study on Bach's C-major Fugue.

Then there's his 5th Caprice:

But the real clincher is an outright quote of the Chaconne in Campagnoli's 24th Caprice:

This makes me wonder if it it was Campagnoli and not Kreutzer or David who was the 19th-century's first window to the solo violin music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Here's a link to the first publication of the Campagnoli Caprices, and one to the 1850 publication of the Kreutzer Caprices.


nobleviola said...

Great post! I have always loved the Campagnoli etudes, since I was introduced to them by Joe DePasquale. They are so musical, and to me, much less dry than the Kreutzer.

Throwaway_bicycling said...

So my son just finished up the 5th Campagnoli caprice, and I could never figure out why it sounded so relatively Bach-like. I think you solved it. :-)

Now to find out whether he can solve No. 17...

Anonymous said...

1843- Ferdinand David publication. Nice insights!