Marianna von Martines

Feminale of Music

Painting of the composer Marianna von Martines

Martines was one of the most prominent musicians of the Mozart era in Vienna. Her compositional and interpretive qualities were especially emphasized by numerous contemporaries.

Marianna von Martines (born on May 4, 1744 in Vienna, Austria, died on December 13, 1812 in Vienna) was an Austrian composer, harpsichordist and singer (soprano). As a child, Marianna von Martines received her first piano lessons with Joseph Haydn. In her short autobiography Martines also mentions only Haydn and Giuseppe Bonno as teachers. Other sources also mention Nicola Porpora and Johann Adolph Hasse as teachers. Through her father Nicolo Martines (1689–1764), who worked as master of ceremonies for the papal nuncio in Vienna, she met the poet Petro Metastasio (1698–1782), a friend of hers who lived in the same house. He took care of Martines and her siblings after both parents died shortly after each other.

Marianna made her first appearances at the court of Empress Maria Theresa, who invited her to perform at various occasions. In 1761 she made her first appearance as a composer when her first mass was performed. On May 29, 1773 Marianna Martines became the first composer to be admitted to the Accademia Filarmonika di Bologna. The oratorio »Isacco Figura del Redentore«, performed in 1782 and based on a text by Metastasio, is one of the highlights of her compositional work.

In the same year Metastasio died and left his entire fortune to Martine's siblings. Marianna also received a piano and several spinets. In addition, she gave soirées at her house at least once a week. Tradition has it that Martines strongly influenced Viennese musical life in the 1780s and 1790s through those very evenings. On the tradition and reception of Marianna von Martines‘ work, Eva Weissweiler states: »The musicological reception of Marianna von Martines‘ works is an interesting example of how deliberate falsification of history can be handed down for decades or taken over uncritically when it comes to belittling a woman's compositional achievements. Hanslick even claims in all seriousness that all her pieces are lost«. (Weissweiler, Eva. Women composers from 500 years. A history of culture and impact in biographies and examples of works. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Paperback, 1981)

Compositions

Sinfonia in C major, Overture, published by Luxgap recorded by Sannambula & Friends as part of The Hispanic Society Concert Series 2017-2018

Dixit Dominus I, published by Douglas Buchanan, artistic director of the Maryland Choral Society, with whom he recorded the first movement of Dixit Dominus in a concert on 5 March 2017 at Mt Calvary Catholic Church in Forestville, Maryland.

Sonata in A major, 2nd movement, published by and performed by Renana Gutman (piano)

Piano concerto in a minor, 1st Allegro con spirito, published by and played by Judith Valerie Engel (piano) together with the student orchestra of the Mozarteum Salzburg recorded at the Solitär, University Mozarteum Salzburg Audio and video recording and its arrangement by Shaun Choo.

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