In addition to hundreds of individual 18th-early 19th century music publications, the Hanover Royal Music Archive contains thirty-eight bound volumes of printed music for use by Queen Charlotte, her daughters, or other royal amateurs. An example is this volume owned by the Queen, containing harpsichord parts for several chamber works:
The binding, calf with gold tooling and red leather label lettered in gilt, is a style shared by many similar volumes in the collection. On a preliminary page are an ownership inscription and table of contents, written by Frederick Nicolay, the Queen’s music librarian:
The first work in the volume is Johann Christian Bach’s Sonatas for harpsichord, violin, and violoncello, W. B 43-48 (London: Welcker, ).
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) was the youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He spent much of his career in England, settling in London in 1762. The title page identifies Bach as music master to Queen Charlotte, a position which he held from 1763 until his death in 1782. The sonatas are dedicated to Princess Augusta (1737-1813), sister of George III, styled Hereditary Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg after her marriage in 1764 to Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, (1735-1806).
During the 1760s, Bach became well-established in England, where he composed Italian operas for King’s Theatre and with Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), established the Bach-Abel concerts, the first public subscription concerts in London. Other works in the volume are by contemporaries of Bach, most active in London during the same period. Not listed in the table contents is Carl Friedrich Abel’s Six sonatas for harpsichord, violin or flute, and violoncello, op. 5 (London: Bremner, ), dedicated to the Queen. A German composer and bass viol player, Abel settled in London in 1758. Along with Bach, he was appointed chamber musician to Queen Charlotte, circa 1764.
Among other contents of the volume are:
F. P. (Francesco Pasquale) Ricci (1732-1817), Sonatas for harpsichord, violin, and violoncello, op. 4 (London: Welcker, ), dedicated to William V, Prince of Orange, (1748-1806). An Italian composer, Ricci was appointed maestro di cappella at Como Cathedral in 1759, and traveled to Paris, London, and The Hague during 1768-1777. Ricci and Bach apparently collaborated on a Méthode … pour le forte-piano (Paris, c1788), published after Bach’s death.
Gaetano Pugnani, (1731-1798), Six sonatas for harpsichord, violin or flute, and violoncello (London: Welcker). Pugnani, an Italian violinist and composer, performed in concerts with Bach, and composed and conducted opera for the the King’s Theatre, 1767-1769.
Felice Alessandri (1747-1798), Six concertos for harpsichord, 2 violins, and violoncello (London: Welcker). Alessandri also composed operas for the King’s Theatre in the 1760s.
Ferdinando Pellegrino (ca. 1715-ca. 1766), Six sonatas for harpsichord and violin, op. 4 (London: Bremner, ). An Italian composer, harpsichordist and organist, Pellegrino was likely active in London, circa 1763-1765.
Images of the complete volume are available in Beinecke’s Digital Library.