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Between Opera and Oratorio. The Pasticcio Oratorios in Prague and Brno ca 1720–1760

Published Online: 31 Dec 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 18 (2021) - Issue 1 (December 2021)
Page range: 114 - 126
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2353-5733
ISSN
1734-1663
First Published
31 Dec 2013
Publication timeframe
1 time per year
Languages
English
INTRODUCTION

The practice of creating pasticcios, so popular in Baroque opera, received very positive feedback in the Czech Lands.

The study is the result of a research project financially supported by the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University Olomouc (FPVC2019/10). Translation by Ivana Tůmová.

Since the mid-1720s, which saw great progress in the reception of Italian opera in the territory of the Bohemian Crown, the principle of pasticcio appears almost simultaneously even in other genres, such as the oratorio or monastery plays in Latin. The carnival play Facetum Musicum from 1738 from the Osek monastery with arias by Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Frideric Handel, and Antonio Lotti, is an example of the last genre mentioned above.

J. Spáčilová and O. Macek, ‘Nová zjištění k latinské karnevalové opeře “Facetum musicum / Musicalisches Kurtzweil-Spiel” (Osek 1738)’ [New Findings on Latin Carnival Opera …], Hudební věda, vol. 48, nos 2–3, 2011, pp. 143–160. A new composer was added among the identified authors in 2020: Attilio Ariosti, whose opera La fede ne’tradimenti (Berlin 1701) includes the aria ‘Questi ceppi, e quest’orrore’ (Fernando, II/9) used here as an aria of Diogenes, ‘Ad vas pergo’. I owe my thanks to Tomáš Hanzlík for informing me of this fact.

In this study, attention is paid primarily to Italian pasticcio oratorio in Brno and Prague approximately between the years 1720 and 1760, although this practice was much more widespread.

J. Spáčilová, ‘Das Pasticcio in den böhmischen Ländern in der ersten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts’, Theatralia, vol. 22, no. 2, 2019, pp. 123–136. J. Spáčilová, ‘Local Conditions of Pasticcio Production and Reception: Between Prague, Wrocław and Moravia’, in G. zur Nieden and B. Over (eds), Operatic Pasticcios in 18th-Century Europe: Contexts, Materials and Aesthetics, Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag, 2021, pp. 489–506.

The principle of pasticcio will be observed in two aspects – firstly in pre-existing works with inserted arias (‘oratorio impasticciato’), and secondly in new compositions made up entirely of music by various composers.

For the latest definition of pasticcio, see zur Nieden and Over, Operatic Pasticcios.

In the Czech Lands, oratorio first appears as a genre imported by the imperial ensemble during the visit of the Viennese court to Prague in 1679–1680.

Cf. particularly M. Niubo, ‘Leopold I. a hudba císařského dvora v Praze v letech 1679–1680’ [Leopold I and the Music of the Imperial Court in Prague between 1679–1680], in O. Fejtová et al. (eds), Barokní Praha – barokní Čechie 1620–1740, Praha, Scriptorium, 2004, pp. 95–131.

As concerns the topics, the time and place of the performances, oratorios were usually held on Good Friday at the Holy Sepulchre – the so-called sepolcro.

Sepolcro is used here in its widest meaning, i.e. as a musical-dramatic work intended for performance at the Holy Sepulchre. For a discussion of the term, see J. Perutková, ‘Oratorios Performed at the Holy Sepulchre in the Bohemian Lands and Austria in the 18th Century (Part I): Methodological Questions on the Sepolcro in the Period of ca. 1700–1760’, Musicologica Brunensia, vol. 53, no. 1, 2018, pp. 79–96.

The new genre was primarily promoted by the Jesuits, who performed sepolcri in their Clementinum College. As of the second decade of the eighteenth century, the Good Friday oratorios were also shown in the Jesuit St Nicolas Church in the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). The first documented piece, performed in 1713, was the German oratorio Doloris et pietatis speculum Jesus in cruce demoriens bonis & peccatoribus à Deo propositum, oder Christus Jesus am Creutz ein Spiegel der Schmertzen [etc.] by Georg Reutter.

Libretto kept in the District Archives in Přerov, from the Piarist Library in Lipník nad Bečvou (without accession number). For other pieces performed there, see V. Kapsa, ‘Die Musik in der St. Nikolauskirche auf der Prager Kleinseite in der ersten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts’, Musicologica Brunensia, vol. 49, no. 1, 2014, pp. 189–209.

In 1724, the oratorios also began to be performed by the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star (Crusaders) in their church of St. Francis.

J. Fukač, ‘Die Oratorienaufführungen bei den Prager Kreuzherren mit dem Roten Stern als Typ lokaler Musikfeste’, Sborník prací filozofické fakulty Brněnské university, vol. H 29, 1994, pp. 69–89.

Since this church is situated directly opposite the Clementinum College with St. Salvator Church, where oratorios were performed by Jesuits, each had to develop different operating habits over time. While the Jesuits played the oratorios on Good Friday in the evening and sometimes on Holy Saturday, always in Latin,

M. Freemanová, ‘Three Points of a Triangle: Italian, Latin and German Oratorios and Sepolcros in Early 18th Century Central Europe’, Musicologica Brunensia, vol. 49, no. 1, 2014, pp. 175–187.

the Knights performed on Good Friday at 11 am, and after initial attempts with Latin and German, starting from the early 1730s their oratorios would be in Italian only. The repertoire focused on Viennese composers and compositions acquired directly from Italy or Germany (mainly Dresden). The productions of oratorios in Prague grew over the following years, and by the middle of the century oratorios were presented around Easter in more than ten churches in Prague.

J. Lauschmann, Pražské oratorium století XVIII. [Prague Oratorio in the 18th Century], Dissertation Thesis, Univerzita Karlova, 1938. J. Bužga, ‘Einige Quellen zur Geschichte der Osteroratorien in Prag und Brno (Brünn) und der Ostermelodramen aus Olomouc (Olmütz) im 18. Jahrhundert’, in De musica disputationes Pragenses, Praha, Academia, 1972, pp. 151–171.

The oratorio in Prague has been studied in recent years mainly by the Czech musicologist Michaela Freemanová. One of the last papers that she and Janice B. Stockigt wrote on this topic concerned the Latin version of S. Elena in Calvario by Leonardo Leo, performed at the Prague Jesuits in 1734, in which she identified two inserted arias by Jan Dismas Zelenka.

M. Freemanová and J. Stockigt, ‘Jan Dismas Zelenka and a Prague Performance of Sant’Elena al Calvario by Leonardo Leo (1734): an Hypothesis’, Hudební věda, vol. 51, no. 1–2, 2014, pp. 149–160.

The article opened the very interesting theme of oratorio ‘impasticciato’, interpolated, similarly to contemporary opera, with arias by other composers. Recent research demonstrates that this case was not unique in the Czech Lands. The oratorios produced in Brno under the patronage of Bishop Schrattenbach are further evidence of this practice.

ORATORIOS PRODUCED BY BISHOP SCHRATTENBACH IN BRNO

The Olomouc Bishop Wolfgang Hannibal Cardinal Schrattenbach (1660–1738, bishop from 1711) was one of the most prominent music patrons in Moravia.

J. Spáčilová, Hudba na dvoře olomouckého biskupa Schrattenbacha [Music at the Court of the Olomouc Bishop Schrattenbach], Olomouc, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, Filozofická fakulta, 2018.

As former Viceroy of Naples, he was very fond of Italian opera and arranged performances at episcopal châteaux in Kroměříž and Vyškov. In his family palace in Brno, he organised concerts of sacred music for every week of Lent. Up until the present, thirty-six oratorios have been documented thanks to librettos, but the total number is undoubtedly much higher.

The first references to oratorios in Brno come from the year 1723. Two years later, there was already evidence that oratorios performed here were interpolated with arias by foreign composers, as documented in preserved librettos. The final part of the libretto of Il rè del dolore in Giesù Cristo Signor nostro coronato di spine by Antonio Caldara (Brno 1725) provides four ‘arie aggiunte’. They are indicated in the respective places within the libretto with an asterisk and the instruction ‘Vedi in fine’. Three of these added arias are newly inserted (L’angelo Gabriello: ‘Tace sol chi è crudele’, ‘Non speri alcun contento’; L’anima penitente: ‘Cerca pur giudice ingiusto’). In contrast, the fourth one, ‘Con la sua morte’, used for the role of Gabriello, replaces the original ‘Con sua morte l’immortal’, which is preserved in the libretto. The new lyrics are based on the original, but the verse structure is simpler, as illustrated in Table 1.

A comparison of the original aria and the inserted aria in the oratorio Il rè del dolore (Vienna 1722, Brno 1725)

Original text (Pietro Pariati, Vienna 1722) Aria aggiunta (Brno 1725)
Con sua morte l’immortal vita, e gloria a l’uom darà, che peccando al Ciel morì, dove mai, dove si udì, tanto amore, e tanta bontà?Ma il superbo, il disleale a morir ritornerà ritornando al suo peccar. Chi mai può, chi può pensar, tanto ardir, tanta cecità? Con la sua morte l’uomo immortale a l’uomo frale vita darà.Ma il disleale nel vechio inganno con novo danno morrir vorrà.

The second oratorio with inserted arias is Il sacrificio di Gefte by Giuseppe Porsile, performed in Brno in the same year 1725. The libretto uses marking with three asterisks; there are five arias marked in this way. The first one is the aria of Elon ‘Io scuso il tuo dolor’, although there are no changes to the lyrics. The arias ‘Astri, che in Ciel splendete’ (Elon) and ‘Alma mia, che già t’aggiri’ (Menulema) are entirely new; they come in places where the original does not include any aria. Gefte’s original aria ‘Sento mancarmi in sen’ is replaced with the new lyrics ‘Lasciatemi in pace’. Instead of another aria of Gefte, ‘Misero son, si, si’, the Brno libretto includes Menulema’s aria ‘Dimmi almeno, o padre caro’; in order to maintain the dramatic expression, its position was shifted six recitative verses ahead. In contrast to the case of the libretto Il rè del dolore, the substituted arias do not have anything in common with the originals.

The graphic marking of inserted arias ‘con stelletta’, common in opera librettos, does not appear in other Brno oratorios. While librettos of adopted pieces often include changes in arias, these are not marked in any way. Another source of information regarding ‘oratorio impasticciato’ are therefore the few preserved music scores.

Regarding sheet music, only five full scores and one fragment of oratorios produced in Brno have been discovered up until the present (see Tab. 3). These are Il peccato di Adamo (anonymous fragment), Il trionfo della croce (Giacomo Cesare Predieri), Morte, e sepoltura di Christo (Antonio Caldara), Il martirio di S. Giovanni Nepomuceno (Nicola Porpora) and Cristo nell’orto and La deposizione dalla croce (Johann Joseph Fux). With the exception of the last mentioned, all the scores share one interesting common feature. They contain inserted arias written on a similar type of paper by the same few local copyists. Several indicators, however, suggest that instead of newly composed music, these are arias borrowed from other works. First of all, it is the highly uncertain aligning of the text, which required multiple corrections, scraping and rewriting in the music. A direct reference to another opera has been found in the score of Cristo nell’orto: the notes ‘Atto II’ and ‘del Sig. Jacomelli’ in one of the arias. These borrowed arias are always retexted in accordance with the original libretto. The local arranger, however, often struggled with Italian diction, as is evident, for example, from the aria ‘Gioja la cruda morte’ from Caldara’s Morte e sepoltura, where the first bar is even pasted over.

Nearly half of the borrowings have been identified to date. The mentioned aria used in Caldara’s oratorio Morte e sepoltura (Brno 1730) comes from Porpora’s opera Siface (Venice 1726). A fragment of the anonymous Il peccato di Adamo (Brno 1726) was identified as an aria from Astarto by Giovanni Bononcini (Rome 1715, Kroměříž 1730). Particularly noteworthy are the borrowings in Cristo nell’orto (Brno 1731) from operas which premiered in Italy just one year before the Brno production. It is one aria from Vinci’s Alessandro nell’Indie (Rome 1730) and four arias from Giacomelli’s Scipione in Cartagine nuova (Piacenza 1730; these are the ones identified by the inscription ‘del Sig. Jacomelli’ in the score). The reason for the substitutions was mostly the replacement of ‘old-fashioned’ arias accompanied by basso continuo (those which remained in the scores are marked with the ‘col basso’ instruction for violins and violas).

What is remarkable, however, is the very different musical language of the inserted arias compared to the rest of Fux’s oratorio, which is composed in the traditional style of the Viennese high Baroque. As an example, we can mention the aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’, where the difference is obvious at first sight. Fux’s version is in A minor, with typical syncopated bass and elaborated treatment of both voices (see Fig. 1). Vinci’s aria, on the other hand, is in B flat major, is homophonic, symmetrical, with a simple quaver accompaniment, where the opening ritornello uses typical gallant elements, such as small values, sextuplets and ornamentation (see Fig. 2).

Figure 1

Aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’ from the oratorio Cristo nell’orto by Johann Joseph Fux (Vienna 1718)

Figure 2

Inserted aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’ in the oratorio Cristo nell’orto (Brno 1731), originally from the opera Alessandro nell’Indie by Leonardo Vinci (Rome 1730)

An interesting case is Porpora’s oratorio Il martirio di S. Giovanni Nepomuceno (Brno 1732). It contains only one inserted aria ‘Come all’Olimpo in cima’ that has not been identified yet. Although the aria is intended for the tenor role of Consigliere, it is written in a soprano clef, apparently in accordance with the original. This fact is pointed out in the note ‘Nota bene Consigliere’ inscribed on the edge of the page. What is more remarkable, however, is the use of two arias from this oratorio in the opera Nitocri performed at Schrattenbach’s court three years later. Identification is possible thanks to slips of paper fixed to the score providing the name of the singer (‘Jon’, i.e. Anton John), the role (‘Manete’), the location of the aria (‘atto terzo’), and an incipit of the lyrics (see Fig. 3).

Figure 3

Slip of paper in the score of Porpora’s Il martirio di S. Giovanni Nepomuceno [D-B Mus. Ms.17781, fol. 15v], referring to the use of the aria in the opera Nitocri

This has been the only recorded example of a borrowing of an aria from an oratorio to an opera up to the present time. One should bear in mind, however, that with regard to the music style, Porpora’s S. Giovanni Nepomuceno is extremely modern, with virtuoso arias that were undoubtedly well-suited for use in an opera.

The inserted arias were, of course, adapted for the local production, primarily by reducing the virtuoso vocal passages. The technical limits of Schrattenbach’s court soloists are also reflected in the original layers of scores: the coloraturas are simplified (by rhythm adjustment or omitted notes), some bars and entire arias are transposed due to new tessituras, etc.

What was the manner of adaptation of these inserted arias with regard to lyrics? In all the cases, they are equipped with new texts (corresponding to the given oratorio) which have nothing to do with their original text. This was not very common in pasticcios, where the text was typically left basically as it was, with a few words changed according to the new dramatic situation. The substitution of one text for another is usually referred to as contrafactum, but for eighteenth century opera, the term ‘parody’ is more appropriate.

R. Falck, ‘Parody and Contrafactum: A Terminological Clarification’, The Musical Quarterly, vol. 65, no. 1, 1979, pp. 1–21.

The inserting of re-texted opera arias into oratorios was only a step away from using the pre-existing music to compose a complete brand-new piece. Such a piece of music could be termed ‘parodic pasticcio’. This phenomenon is most prominent in a group of otherwise unknown oratorios by famous Italian composers, performed in Brno in the 1730s (see Tab. 4). As Bishop Schrattenbach was a renowned music patron with personal contacts in Italy, some of the pieces could have been composed on his commission. These definitely did not include La santissima annunziazione di Maria sempre Vergine (Brno 1732) and La donna forte (Brno 1737) by Leonardo Vinci, however, as by this time the composer had been dead for several years. All these oratorios were most likely composed as parodic pasticcios out of opera arias by those composers who are named on the printed librettos as the authors of the music.

More to the topic J. Spáčilová, ‘Unbekannte Brünner Oratorien Neapolitanischer Komponisten vor 1740’, Musicologica Brunensia, vol. 49, no. 1, 2014, pp. 137–161.

Schrattenbach’s court musicians, who were responsible for procuring the new pieces of music every year for the entire six weeks of Lent, apparently combined, under the pressure of the time, a practical point of view with the Bishop’s preference for contemporary Italian opera.

An example is the oratorio Daniello (Brno 1737), which is cited as the work of Francesco Araja. The score of this work has not yet been found, but one of the arias used here certainly comes from the opera Tigrane (first set to music by Johann Adolph Hasse, Naples 1729). A comparison of the two texts shows that the aria was modified only slightly for use in Brno (see Tab. 2).

A comparison of an aria used in the oratorio Daniello (Brno 1737) with the original from the opera Tigrane

Original text in the opera Tigrane Francesco Araja: Daniello

Che gran pena traffigge il mio core l’odio parla e son vinta d’amore fremo irata e pietosa mi struggo quel che fuggo più deggio bramar. Che gran pena traffigge il suo cuore l’odio il rode ed un fiero rancore, freme irato, e superbo si strugge, sempre fugge che deve bramar.
Forma il labro sdegnosi gl’accenti sorge il core e li dice tu menti chi vuoi morto? quel dolce tesoro per cui moro e m’è caro il penar. Forma il labbro sdegnoso gl’accenti benche il core gli dica tu menti: morto brama quel primo sostegno che nel regno si deve bramar.
LA VITTIMA D’AMORE AND THE BEGINNINGS OF THE PASTICCIO ORATORIO IN PRAGUE

The fact that this practice of pasticcio oratorios found a very favourable response in Brno can be proved by the oratorio La vittima d’amore, produced in that city in 1741, that is, already after Schrattenbach’s death. According to the libretto, the author of the music was Joseph Umstatt (1711–1762), the Kapellmeister of Count Dietrichstein. The work was considered lost for a long time, but Steffen Voss identified its score several years ago, previously known as Hasse’s La morte di Cristo.

S. Voss, ‘Das Johann Adolf Hasse zugeschriebene Passions-Oratorium La morte di Cristo und seine musikhistorische Einordnung’, Musicologica Brunensia, vol. 53, supplementum, 2018, pp. 261–281.

According to this source, only the smaller part of the piece was composed by Umstatt, since he used arias by other composers, namely by Johann Adolph Hasse, Leonardo Leo, Francesco Feo, Giovanni Battista Pescetti, and Giovanni Porta. Most of the arias were taken over complete with the text, which was only slightly modified. A connection to Schrattenbach’s oratorios can be demonstrated in the aria ‘Schernito, e disprezzato’, which was adopted directly from the local sources, as is evident from the text inscribed in the score of Caldara’s oratorio Morte e sepoltura, which originated in Brno.

Cf. Spáčilová, ‘Unbekannte’.

The subsequent fate of this work is very interesting from the perspective of the spreading of the oratorio pasticcio genre to another location – the church of St Francis in Prague, which belonged to the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. As already mentioned, oratorios were performed there every year on Good Friday. One of the first pieces performed was the Latin pasticcio oratorio Fides, spes, charitas peccatorem ex contemplatione passionis ad poenitentiam invitantes (1725). The printed libretto does not provide the name of the librettist or the composer. The work is listed, however, among the oratorios which were performed at St Francis’ from 1724 until 1759. The list is part of the Crusaders’ inventory from 1737.

The inventory was rediscovered several years ago in CZ-HR.

The records include the title, composer, sometimes the librettist or the donor, and are an important source of information in addition to the printed librettos (see Tab. 5).

The accession numbers of previously unidentified librettos are listed in Table 4.

Based on the records, the librettist of Fides, spes, charitas was Karel Kořínek, a member of the Order, and the author of the music was one ‘Hönel’. The Czech musicologist Jiří Fukač, who devoted his thesis and several studies to the Crusaders’ inventory, identifies this musician as the Piarist Anselm Hönel, chaplain in Schlackenwerth.

J. Fukač, Jiří. Křižovnický hudební inventář. Příspěvek k poznání křižovnické hudební kultury a jejího místa v hudebním životě barokní Prahy [The Knights of the Cross Music Inventory. A Contribution to the Recognition of the Knights of the Cross Musical Culture and its Place in the Music Life of Baroque Prague], Diploma Thesis, Masarykova Univerzita, 1959.

This view has been accepted by Barbara Renton and others.

B.A. Renton, The Musical Culture of Eighteenth-century Bohemia, with Special Emphasis on the Music Inventories of Osek and the Knights of the Cross, PhD Thesis, City University of New York, 1990.

A closer look at the inventory and a comparison with the actual state of the Crusaders’ collection offer another explanation, though. This ‘Hönel’ is in fact none other than George Frideric Handel. The collection contained a copy of his Laudate pueri (HWV 237) and the Latin version of the Utrecht Te Deum (HWV 278). The title pages of the music carry a similar version of his name – ‘Hänel’.

J. Spáčilová, ‘Zur Händel-Rezeption in den böhmischen Ländern in der ersten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts’, Handel-Jahrbuch, vol. 65, 2019, pp. 261–273.

Apart from Fides, spes, charitas, the Crusaders’ inventory mentions another pasticcio oratorio. It was a German oratorio about Perseus and Andromeda, arranged ‘from music by various authors’.

Crusaders’ inventory, fol. 55v: ‘Oratorium Germanicum die von Perseo Vorfreüte Andromeda ex rebus defuncti Geyer a 5 voc --- diversimo de compilatum.’

The score originally belonged to the St. Vitus’ regens chori Christoph Gayer; following his death (1734), his music collection became the property of the Crusaders. According to a newly found libretto titled Jesus Christus ein Heyland, it is most likely the oratorio performed at Prague’s St Nicholas Church in 1728.

For more information, see Perutková, ‘Oratorios Performed at the Holy Sepulchre’, p. 92.

The lyrics of the piece are identical with the so-called ‘oratorium germanicum’ by Johann Joseph Fux.

T. Hochradner, Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von Johann Joseph Fux, Band 1, Vienna, Hollitzer, 2016, pp. 63–34, 130–133.

Umstatt’s pasticcio oratorio La vittima d’amore was performed at the Prague Crusaders in 1744. According to the inventory, the acquisition of the score was arranged by Dietrichsteins’ former tenor Karl Beer, thus it was in all probability the music material of the Brno production.

Karl Beer was in service to Count Franz Anton Rottal; according to preserved librettos, in 1735–1736 he sang in operas performed in Holešov (K. Jurášková and J. Spáčilová, Italská opera na holešovském zámku v době Františka Antonína Rottala [Italian Opera at the Château in Holešov under Franz Anton Rottal], Holešov, Město Holešov, 2019). After his ensemble was disbanded, he started working for Count Dietrichstein. In 1743, he applied for the position of a choir singer in Olomouc. Cf. J. Sehnal, Hudba v olomoucké katedrále v 17. a 18. Století [Music in the Olomouc Cathedral in the 17th and 18th Centuries], Brno, Moravské museum, 1988, p. 165.

The Crusaders’ diary for the year 1744 provides us with the information that the reception of the composition by the audience was highly positive.

‘Oratorium musicum ab hora 11, cui interfuerunt copiosissimi et maximi de nobilitate et plenissima ecclesia iam a mane sub caeremoniis. Distribuntur synopses in Italico textu, adest etiam inter alios magnates excellentissimus dominus dominus comes Gallasch et supremus burggravius hic circa 12 veniens et finito oratorio apud illustrissimum dominum dominum generalem modicam refectiunculam in aliquo jusculo et aliquo ovo sumens cum omni contentatione, pii auditores universim consolati abiise et musicam plurimum laudarunt.’ Diarium domesticum, National Archives in Prague, fond 195 ŘKř, cart. 316. I would like to thank Jiří K. Kroupa for helping me with this text.

The composer himself knew the Prague Crusaders because he had visited their monastery already in 1737, at that time in service to Imre Esterházy, Primate of Hungary.

Diarium domesticum, National Archives in Prague, fond 195 ŘKř, book no. 218.

PASTICCIO ORATORIOS AT THE PRAGUE CRUSADERS AROUND 1750

It was possibly due to the success of Umstatt’s La vittima d’amore (but perhaps even for practical reasons) that the practice of pasticcio oratorios gained complete prevalence at the Crusaders’ church in the following years. Oratorios were performed in two-year cycles: the first part was played in one year and the second – in the following year, but each part was performed under a different title. Librettos do not state the authors of the music, but their identity may be discerned thanks to the list of performed oratories provided at the end of the Crusaders’ inventory. The arranger of pasticcios was the Crusaders’ regens chori Josef Bleilebel. At the time of research, it was impossible to analyse these works in detail, because the Crusaders’ collection is inaccessible. We can therefore examine them only on the basis of the librettos and records in the inventory.

The first pair of oratorios consisted of La caduta di Pietro (1749) and Gesù Cristo negato da Pietro (1750). The arias in the first part are attributed to Fux, Porpora, and Graun; the second part, performed one year later, also includes the names of Conti and Lotti (see Tab. 5). The basis for the pasticcio was probably provided by Fux’s oratorio with the lyrics of Pietro Pariati’s Gesù Cristo negato da Pietro – a score that was in the possession of the Crusaders.

Crusaders’ inventory, fol. 55v: ‘Oratorium Italicum descriptum a Dno Wenceslao Feiler procuratum à Rdissimo Dno Giesu Negato da Pietro a 5 voc ex E --- Fux’.

Arias by other composers cannot be identified, but it is possible that with Porpora, the music was not a recycled older work but a newly composed piece, as the author lived in Prague at that time.

According to Count Questenberg’s correspondence, Porpora was certainly staying in Prague in the autumn of 1750. J. Perutková, Der glorreiche Nahmen Adami. Johann Adam Graf von Questenberg (1678–1752) als Förderer der italienischen Oper in Mähren, Vienna, Hollitzer, 2015, p. 180.

In any case, it is very interesting to observe the representation of different generations of authors, as there was music in very different styles performed within one event (similarly to Schrattenbach’s performances in Brno).

The next pair of compositions was La deposizione dalla croce (1751) – La sepoltura di Gesù Cristo Salvatore nostro (1752). The second libretto is already clearly marked as ‘Parte Seconda’, which confirms that it was a follow-up to the performance from the previous year. Based on the name of the librettist and an analysis of the text, it is possible to identify the work as La deposizione dalla croce by Giovanni Claudio Pasquini; however, it is the first version from 1728 created for Johann Joseph Fux, not the second one from 1744. The score of Fux’s oratorio was, nonetheless, not part of the Crusaders’ collection. With regard to the music, the inventory only states that the oratorio was ‘arranged very well from works by different authors’, but it does not provide any names of the authors included.

The Crusaders’ collection includes contrafacta of two numbers from Hasse’s La deposizione dalla croce (RISM ID no.: 550248868, 55028237). However, only the first of them may be assigned to the 1728 version of the libretto.

The last example from this group of pasticcio oratorios is Il martirio per l’osservanza della divina legge sofferto da’ primi quattro fratelli Macabei (1757) – La madre de Macabei (1758). The name echoes Fux’s oratorio La donna forte nella madre de’ sette Maccabei with lyrics by Pietro Pariati (Vienna 1715), whose score was part of the Crusaders’ collection.

Crusaders’ inventory, fol. 56r: ‘Oratorium ex Partitura descriptum voces cum generali basso instrumenta propria de Machabaeo, et Herode, Heliodoro Antiocho à 5 vocibus ex A --- Fux’.

An attractive hypothesis regarding the use of this piece as the basis for the new oratorio (as with the performances in 1749 and 1750) has to be disproved, however, since based on the libretto (from which only the first part has been preserved) the lyrics have been identified as L’osservanza della divina legge nel martirio de’ Macabei written by Antonio Maria Lucchini for Francesco Bartolomeo Conti in 1732.

The music for the first part was selected from among compositions by Hasse, Jomelli and Galuppi. Once again, the arrangement of arias was done by Josef Bleilebel and the music for the recitatives was composed by a local musician, Zachow. The process of creation of the second part was somewhat complicated; according to a record in the inventory, the music was adapted from a German Passion oratorio by Graun, which had been brought from Berlin by Václav Schödl, who had studied with the Crusaders.

For more information about Václav Schödl, see K. Veverka, Hudební život a významné hudební události u pražských křižovníků s červenou hvězdou v 18. století ve světle listinných pramenů [Music Life and Important Music Events at the Prague Order of the Cross with the Red Star in the 18th Century in Paper-Source Background], PhD Thesis, Univerzita Karlova, 2017, pp. 35–37.

The work has not been identified more precisely so far. Although the music for Metastasio’s Italian libretto La passione di Gesù Cristo was composed by Johann Gottlieb Graun, a note concerning the German language points rather to the famous Der Tod Jesu by his brother Carl Heirich Graun. In addition, several parts of this work have been preserved by the Crusaders as contrafacta.

CZ-Pkřiž XXXV D 199, XXXV D 200.

The Sinfonia was composed by Hasse, recitatives and the final choir were composed by Zachow, and the lyrics of the arias were translated and adapted by Bleilebel.

The preserved librettos of these ‘compiled’ oratories do not suggest in any way that these works might be pasticcios. The lyrics correspond verbatim to original versions of the respective librettos, which indicates careful arrangement work that avoided adjustments of lyrics to new music. At the same time, it prevents even hypothetical attribution of the original arias, which would allow us to identify the individual pieces of music by the various authors represented in the compilation.

CONCLUSIONS

What could be the reasons for inserting operatic arias into oratorios or writing brand new pieces in the style of parodic pasticcios? One fact is that in the Czech Lands, there was an enormous concentration of places where opera was cultivated, considering the size of the country. Apart from Prague, Brno, and Breslau (now Wrocław) with their Italian companies, it was the châteaux in Jaroměřice, Kroměříž, Vyškov and Holešov that, particularly in the 1730s, enjoyed a lively music life with their own independent ensembles and court composers.

For more information about Jaroměřice, see Perutková, Der glorreiche Nahmen Adami. Operas performed in Moravia are listed in J. Spáčilová, Catalogue of the Italian Opera Libretti in Central Europe in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century, I: Moravia, Prague, KLP, forthcoming.

The beginnings of the Italian oratorios at the Knights of the Cross in Prague overlap with the launch of the first Italian opera company in 1724.

D.E. Freeman, The Opera Theater of Count Franz Anton von Sporck in Prague, Stuyvesant, NY Pendragon Press, 1992.

Copies of opera arias were easily available thanks to the travelling Italian singers or agents employed by many of the nobility directly in Italy.

For the topic of travelling musicians, see R. Strohm, ‘Italian Operisti North of The Alps, c. 1700 – c. 1750’, in R. Strohm (ed.), The Eighteenth-Century Diaspora of Italian Music and Musicians, Speculum musicae 8, Turnhout, Brepols, 2001, pp. 1–60. In relation to the Czech Lands, cf. D. Freeman, The Opera Theater, pp. 295–359, and J. Spáčilová, ‘Soloists of the Opera Productions in Brno, Holešov, Kroměříž and Vyškov. Italian Opera Singers in Moravian Sources c. 1720–1740 (Part I)’, in G. zur Nieden and B. Over (eds), Musicians’ Mobilities and Music Migrations in Early Modern Europe. Biographical Patterns and Cultural Exchanges, Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag, 2016, pp. 255–273.

The question is whether the practice of the pasticcio oratorio was not actually triggered by social demand instead of practical reasons. Oratorios are considered the spiritual counterpart of the opera, performed during Lent, when theatres were closed. Unlike the opera, they had the advantage of being less demanding to present (no need for stage and costumes or singing by heart) and had a more stable institutional background. Under the guise of spiritual drama (and with a perfect understanding of the story), the audience could enjoy its favourite modern opera music. Similar reasons probably lie behind the mass expansion of Latin contrafacta of opera arias used in the church as part of the liturgy.

M. Jonášová, ‘Italienische Opernarien im Dom zu St. Veit in Prag’, in C. Herr et al. (eds), Italian Opera in Central Europe 1614–1780. Volume 2: Italianità: Image and Practice, Berlin, Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2008, pp. 163–206. T. Jeż, ‘The Reception of Neapolitan Music in the Monastic Centres of Baroque Silesia’, Studi Pergolesiani, vol. 8, no. 1, 2012, pp. 343–369.

The last problem is the question of genre purity or confusing the oratorio with opera. Could there possibly be a greater gap than is between Fux’s traditionalist musical language on the one hand and the modern, high Neapolitan aria, full of coloraturas and petty gallant ornamentation on the other? And yet they were performed within a single piece of music.

Pasticcio is defined as a medley, a patchwork of heterogeneous parts. In ‘Czech-made’ pasticciooratorios, the combination of various musical styles is also complemented with blending of purpose, since the primary function of an oratorio is no longer the praise of God or spiritual uplifting; instead, it is becoming a form of entertainment, in the same way as contemporary opera.

Figure 1

Aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’ from the oratorio Cristo nell’orto by Johann Joseph Fux (Vienna 1718)
Aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’ from the oratorio Cristo nell’orto by Johann Joseph Fux (Vienna 1718)

Figure 2

Inserted aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’ in the oratorio Cristo nell’orto (Brno 1731), originally from the opera Alessandro nell’Indie by Leonardo Vinci (Rome 1730)
Inserted aria ‘Più forte incontrerai’ in the oratorio Cristo nell’orto (Brno 1731), originally from the opera Alessandro nell’Indie by Leonardo Vinci (Rome 1730)

Figure 3

Slip of paper in the score of Porpora’s Il martirio di S. Giovanni Nepomuceno [D-B Mus. Ms.17781, fol. 15v], referring to the use of the aria in the opera Nitocri
Slip of paper in the score of Porpora’s Il martirio di S. Giovanni Nepomuceno [D-B Mus. Ms.17781, fol. 15v], referring to the use of the aria in the opera Nitocri

Selected records of pasticcio oratorios in the Crusaders’ inventory (Prague 1737)

1725 f. 55v Oratorium latinum Fides, Spes, Charitas peccatorem ex Contemplatione Passionis ad paenitentiam invitantes Textus R P: Caroli Korzinek Aria Dni Hönel productum Annô 1725
1744 f. 56v Oratorium cum libellis La Vittima d’amore emptum 7 f: 30 x a D. Tenorista quondam Beer Authore Vmstadt apud Principem Dittrichstein in Moravia Capelae Magistro
1749 f. 56v Oratorium collectum ex diversis Authoribus Fux, Porpora, Graun coram operistis et Nobilitate plena bene productum a Joseph Bleileb cum libellis Caduta di Pietro prima pars
1750 f. 56v Oratorium collectum secunda pars libelli Giesu negato ex diversis Authoribus Fux, Contini, Graun, Porpora, Lotti cum applausu productum a Bleileb
1751 f. 56v Oratorium vel compamento collectum ex diversis Authoribus titulatur la Deposizione dalla Croce prima pars coram magna Nobilitate productum à Bleileb
1752 f. 56v Oratorium vel compamento secunda pars collectum cum applausu productum titulatur La sepoltura à Bleileb
1757 f. 57r Oratorium seu prima pars titulatur Il Martirio sofferto da’ primi fratelli Macabei ex diversis Authoribus Hasse, Jomelli, Galuppi, collectum attente productum. Recitativo à D. Zachkow: Ariae à Bleileb
1758 f. 57r Oratorium vel secunda pars titulatur La madre de’ Macabei Ariae ex Oratorio germanico de passione Authore Graun à D. Wenceslao Schödl Berlin: symphonia Hasse. Recitat: et Chorus à D. Zachow. Cum laude et copiosa Nobilitate sine invitatione productum. Textus transversus à Bleileb.

Oratorios from Brno with inserted opera arias

PLACE YEAR TITLE MUSIC SOURCE
Brno 1725 Il rè del dolore in Giesu Cristo Signor nostro coronato di spine A. Caldara Libretto: CZ-R Z.f.18/adl.6a
Brno 1725 Il sacrificio di Gefte G. Porsile Libretto: CZ-R Z.f.18/adl.5ab
Brno 1730 Morte, e sepoltura di Christo A. Caldara, N. Porpora Score: D-B Mus. Ms. 2720
Brno 1730 Il trionfo della croce G. C. Predieri, ? Score: D-B Mus. Ms.17900
Brno 1731 Cristo nell’orto J. J. Fux, L. Vinci, G. Giacomelli Score: A-Sm RaraHs Fux 2
Brno 1732 Il martirio di S. Giovanni Nepomuceno N. Porpora, ? Score: D-B Mus. Ms.17781

Pasticcio oratorios in the Czech Lands

PLACE YEAR TITLE MUSIC SOURCE
Prague 1725 Fides, spes, charitas peccatorem ex contemplatione passionis ad poenitentiam invitantes G. F. Handel Libretto: CZ-Pu 55.G.71/adl.2, CZ-Pnm B 4033; Crusaders’ inventory, f. 55v
Brno 1726 Il peccato di Adamo G. Bononcini (and others Fragment of the parts: CZ-Bm A 20.648, A 20.763
Brno 1732 La santissima annunziazione di Maria sempre Vergine L. Vinci Libretto: CZ-OLu 35.477
Brno 1732 Il trionfo della virtù in S. Nicolò di Bari L. Leo Libretto: CZ-OLu 35.476
Brno 1736 Il candor vendicato di Nostra Signora G. Porta Libretto: CZ-HR Y.309
Brno 1737 San Vicenzo Fererio G. Bonno Libretto: CZ-Pnm B 4154
Brno 1737 La donna forte L. Vinci Libretto: CZ-Pnm B 4155
Brno 1737 Daniello F. Araja Libretto: CZ-Pnm B 4141
Brno 1738 David umiliato F. Araia Libretto: CZ-Bk 3486/adl.23
Brno 1738 La divina pietà trionfante nell’imaculata concezione di Maria Vergine N. Porpora Libretto: CZ-OLu II-44.146
Brno 1741, Prague 1744 La vittima d’amore J. Umstatt, J. A. Hasse, L. Leo, F. Feo, G. B. Pescetti G. Porta, A. Caldara Libretto Brno: CZ-Bm B 325/adl.5 Libretto Prague: CZ-Pu 34.C.319/adl.17; CZ-OLu 33.498 Score: see S. Voss, Das Johann Adolf Hasse zugeschriebene Passions-Oratorium, Crusaders’ inventory, f. 56v
Prague 1749 Caduta di Pietro J. J. Fux, N. Porpora, Graun Crusaders’ inventory, f. 56v
Prague 1750 Giesu Cristo negato da Pietro J. J. Fux, Conti, Graun, N. Porpora, A. Lotti Libretto: CZ-Pnm B 4036; Crusaders’ inventory, f. 56v
Prague 1751 La deposizione dalla Croce ‘collectum ex diversis authoribus’ Libretto: CZ-Bu CH-0000.471; Crusaders’ inventory, f. 56v
Prague 1752 La sepoltura di Gesu Cristo Salvatore nostro ‘collectum’ Libretto: CZ-Pnm B 4037; Crusaders’ inventory, f. 56v
Prague 1757 Il martirio per l’osservanza della Divina legge sofferto da’primi quattro fratelli Macabei J. A. Hasse, N. Jomelli, B. Galuppi, Zachow, J. Bleilebel Libretto: CZ-Pu 52 C 8/adl. 8; Crusaders’ inventory, f. 57r
Prague 1758 La madre de Macabei Graun, J. A. Hasse, Zachow, J. Bleilebel Crusaders’ inventory, f. 57r

A comparison of an aria used in the oratorio Daniello (Brno 1737) with the original from the opera Tigrane

Original text in the opera Tigrane Francesco Araja: Daniello

Che gran pena traffigge il mio core l’odio parla e son vinta d’amore fremo irata e pietosa mi struggo quel che fuggo più deggio bramar. Che gran pena traffigge il suo cuore l’odio il rode ed un fiero rancore, freme irato, e superbo si strugge, sempre fugge che deve bramar.
Forma il labro sdegnosi gl’accenti sorge il core e li dice tu menti chi vuoi morto? quel dolce tesoro per cui moro e m’è caro il penar. Forma il labbro sdegnoso gl’accenti benche il core gli dica tu menti: morto brama quel primo sostegno che nel regno si deve bramar.

A comparison of the original aria and the inserted aria in the oratorio Il rè del dolore (Vienna 1722, Brno 1725)

Original text (Pietro Pariati, Vienna 1722) Aria aggiunta (Brno 1725)
Con sua morte l’immortal vita, e gloria a l’uom darà, che peccando al Ciel morì, dove mai, dove si udì, tanto amore, e tanta bontà?Ma il superbo, il disleale a morir ritornerà ritornando al suo peccar. Chi mai può, chi può pensar, tanto ardir, tanta cecità? Con la sua morte l’uomo immortale a l’uomo frale vita darà.Ma il disleale nel vechio inganno con novo danno morrir vorrà.

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