Patronage of Theoretical Works on Music

The Archive contains several theoretical works on music that were supported by members of the royal family, either as dedicatees or subscribers.  These are typically works of musicians who also received patronage as composers and performers.  An example is Augustus Frederic Christopher Kollmann (1756-1829), who is represented in the Archive by compositions for keyboard and voice, An Introduction to the Art of Preluding and Extemporizing in Six Lessons for the Harpsichord or Harp, and An Essay on Practical Musical Composition.

Kollmann, Augustus Frederic Christopher (1756-1829). An Essay on Practical Musical Composition (London: author, 1799). Title page

Kollmann was born in Germany, where he began his career as an organist and teacher before serving as organist and schoolmaster at the Royal German Chapel in St James’s Palace, London, from 1782 until his death in 1829.  During his career in England, Kollmann published works in English on instrumental instruction, music analysis, harmony, and composition.  His Essay on Practical Musical Composition (1799) was dedicated to George III, who owned a copy of Kollmann’s previous work, An Essay on Musical Harmony (1796).  The subscriber’s list was headed by Queen Charlotte and included the Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of York, and Princesses Augusta, Elizabeth, and Mary, as well as Charles Burney, John Peter Salomon, and other leading musicians.  Kollmann’s signature, indicating his ownership of copyright, appears on the title page of the Archive’s copy, shown above.

Kollmann, Augustus Frederic Christopher (1756-1829). An Essay on Practical Musical Composition (London: author, 1799). Pages 100-101

Contents address composition of fugues, canons, sonatas, and symphonies, and styles of vocal, instrumental, and national music.  Kollmann was influential in the revival of interest in J. S. Bach’s music in England; musical examples in the Essay include excerpts from Musikalisches Opfer and Die Kunst der Fuge.  Kollmann cited Haydn’s London Symphonies as a source for his ideas on the newer compositional forms of sonata and symphony, and the Essay contains an early description of sonata form.  In the section shown above, “Of Style and National Music,” Kollmann discusses music for church, chamber, theater, and open field, all genres well-represented in the Archive.

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