Tag Archives: Duke of Cumberland’s Band

Mozart’s “Haydn” String Quartets

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartet, strings, K. 387, G major. (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Part for first violin, beginning of first movement

The Jasper String Quartet will perform Mozart’s String Quartet K. 387 and Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 59, no. 3 on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 5:15 PM, at the Beinecke Library.  The  concert and reception will celebrate the opening of the exhibition “God Save the King: Music from the British Royal Court, 1770-1837.”

This early edition of Mozart’s string quartet K. 387, shown above, was published in London circa 1797, as part of a set of three  quartets: K. 387, 421, and 458 (“Hunt”).   Together with K. 428, 464, and 465 (“Dissonance”), these quartets are known as the “Haydn Quartets,” a set of six works composed by Mozart in Vienna during 1782-1785 and first published by Artaria in 1785, with a dedication to Joseph Haydn.  A generation older than Mozart, Haydn is considered the father of the string quartet as a modern form of composition, and his works in this genre exerted a strong influence on Mozart.  Haydn and Mozart were friends as well as colleagues, and are said to have performed quartets together in Mozart’s home in Vienna, with Haydn on first violin and Mozart on viola.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartets, strings, K. 387, 421, 458 (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Part for first violin, cover.

The Hanover Royal Music Archive’s edition of Mozart’s first three Haydn quartets was published by Lewis Lavenu (died 1818).  Lavenu founded his London music publishing business at no. 23 Duke Street by 1796; the quartets appear to have been published soon after, as the paper is watermarked 1797.  Manuscript annotations identify each part and indicate that these parts are the “1st”  of two books, each of which contained three of the six quartets.  Lavenu formed a partnership with Charles Mitchell in 1802 and continued his business under the name Lavenu & Mitchell.  Mozart’s Haydn quartets were evidently popular with English musicians, as they were reissued by Lavenu & Mitchell circa 1805.

A label affixed to each part indicates that the music was sold at the premises of William Milhouse:

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartets, strings, K. 387, 421, 458. (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Part for first violin, label on cover.

The Milhouse family (sometimes spelled Millhouse) were prominent makers of woodwind instruments in Newark and London.  William Milhouse (1761-1834) had opened his London shop by 1787 and moved to 337 Oxford Street by end of 1797.  Milhouse continued as a highly successful woodwind maker through the 1830s, claiming association with the royal family as manufacturer to the Dukes of Kent and Cumberland.  While primarily an instrument maker, he also published and sold music, as is indicated by the label on the quartets.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartets, strings, K. 387, 421, 458. (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Original folder, from music of the Duke of Cumberland’s band.

Originally housed in this folder headed “H. R. H. E. D. C.” (His Royal Highness, Ernest Duke of Cumberland), the quartets are part of music performed by the private band of Ernest Augustus (1771-1851), Duke of Cumberland and later King of Hanover.  Though most music of the Duke’s band is for wind band or orchestra, some chamber music is present, indicating both a flexible range of musicians employed by the Duke, and his interest in hearing these particular works.

Below are example pages from second violin, viola, and cello parts for Mozart’s string quartet K. 387:

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartet, strings, K. 387 (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Part for second violin, third movement and beginning of fourth movement

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartet, strings, K. 387 (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Part for viola, third movement and beginning of fourth movement

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quartet, strings, K. 387 (London: L. Lavenu, circa 1797). Part for cello, end of first movement and beginning of second movement

Music for the Duke of Cumberland’s Band

"Catalogue of Music for H. R. H. The Duke of Cumberland’s Private Band." Cover

Within the larger Archive of predominantly vocal, keyboard, and chamber genres, a distinct group of materials identified as music for the Duke of Cumberland’s private band contains hundreds of works for band and orchestra ensembles, dating circa 1790-1812.  The eighth child and fifth son of George III, Ernest Augustus held the title Duke of Cumberland from 1799 and became King of Hanover in 1837.  In his youth, Ernest Augustus attended the Universität Göttingen, received military training in Hanover, and served in the Hanoverian army during the period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.  After his return to England, Ernest Augustus remained active in politics and the military, and was often seen as a controversial figure, drawing allegations of both political misconduct and personal scandal. 

The music of his private band reveals Ernest Augustus’s musical interests, and provides evidence of how works for large ensembles were circulated, adapted, and heard by audiences in private venues.  This material is an apparently intact group, consisting of complete sets of parts for performers, either printed music or arrangements in copyist’s manuscript, each in an original annotated folder.  Music is typically for an ensemble of clarinets, flute, bassoons, serpent, horns, trumpets, trombone, and timpani.  Some works include additional woodwinds, brass, or percussion, and some are for orchestra with strings, or for chamber ensembles.  Accompanying the music is a manuscript catalog, shown above, listing “Favourite Pieces for Playing” and “Military Music” identified by title, composer, and arranger.

"Catalogue of Music for H. R. H. The Duke of Cumberland’s Private Band." Sample page

Manuscript arrangements for band include works by major composers, both of previous generations, such as Purcell or Handel, and contemporary composers including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.  Among lesser-known composers, some are identified as musicians employed in the Duke’s band or in other private or military ensembles.  One example is John Collier, who is represented in the Archive by twelve compositions and arrangements.  Among his published works is this march and waltz composed for the Duke of Cumberland and dedicated to George IV as Prince Regent:

Collier, John. H. R. H. The Duke of Cumberland’s New March & Waltz (London: W. Milhouse)

Collier is identified as “Master of H. R. H. The Duke of Cumberland’s Band” on the title pages of several of his published works, such as this arrangement for band of a work by Ignaz Pleyel:

Collier, John. A Grand Sonata Dedicated to the Queen by Ignace Pleyel (London: W. Milhouse)

Original folders for music of the Duke’s band are headed “H. R. H. E. D. C.” (His Royal Highness, Ernest Duke of Cumberland) and a shelf mark.  The folder for Collier’s Pleyel arrangement includes an incipit of the work:

Collier, John. A Grand Sonata Dedicated to the Queen by Ignace Pleyel (London: W. Milhouse). original folder

Images of the complete set of parts are available in Beinecke’s Digital Library.

Among other arrangements by Collier is a version of Mozart’s overture to Le Nozze di Figaro for an ensemble of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 6 clarinets, 3 bassoons, serpent, 3 horns, 3 trumpets, trombone, and timpani.  This set of manuscript parts is in an unidentified copyist’s hand:

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Le nozze di Figaro. Overture. Arranged by John Collier. Part for first clarinet

Images of the complete set of parts are available in Beinecke’s Digital Library.