THE REVIVAL OF ITALIAN MUSIC PUBLISHING

Sei Quartetti per due violini viola, e basso composti espressamente per una Società di Sig[no]ri Diletanti …

[Venice, Marescalchi e Canobbio, 1774?]

Four part books, oblong folio, Violino primo pp. 13, [1], with an engraved title-page featuring a quartet of putti; Violino secondo pp. 9, [1]; Viola pp. 7, [1]; Basso pp. 8; fine copies, each stitched as issued.

£1750

Approximately:
US $2224€2048

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First edition, very rare, of a complete set of quartet part books published in Venice by the composer–publishers Marescalchi and Canobbio. 

A virtuoso violinist, Esser (1737–c. 1795) was Konzertmeister at Kassel from 1761–4, then toured Europe (with a period in London in 1775–6, where he published some symphonies and duets). Mozart met him twice, and had guarded praise for his playing if not its extravagance: ‘he played well, but he did too much …’.

The Bolognese composer Luigi Marescalchi began to publish music from Venice in around 1770, along with the engravers Innocente Alessandri and Pietro Scattaglia; the violinist Carlo Canobbio joined the concern in 1773. Altogether they published around seventy works, evenly distributed between operatic arias and instrumental works: ‘Dans le domaine instrumental … une place plus large est faite aux œuvres de violonistes-compositeurs d’origine allemande (comme Wilhelm Cramer, Karl Michael Esser et Friedrich Schwindl)’ (Sylvia Mamy, La musique à Venise, 2018). ‘Although the enterprise was temporarily abandoned about 1775, the brief period of its duration marked the revival of music publishing in Italy after 70 years of almost total inactivity’ (Grove online). After a hiatus, Marescalchi later transferred his business to Naples. 

RISM E 832 (3 copies only: Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien, Biblioteca Gaetano Donizetti Bergamo, and archivio capitolare Pistoia). 

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