Berlin Classical Period

To speak of a “Berlin Classical Period” is unusual. For to regard the musical culture of the age of Frederick II as classical contradicts its common assessment as part of the so-called pre-classical era. With a view to the Viennese classical idiom the continuous appreciation, after the Seven Years’ War, of the music of Graun and Hasse is traditionally seen as “stagnation” (E. Bücken), a denial of musical progress. Indeed, the hesitant reception of the Mannheim and south German instrumental music asks for an explanation. It is for this reason that – with the exception of the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach – to this day scholarly interest in north German music has been comparatively low. It is hardly incidental that the significance of north German musical culture is mainly seen in its theoretical and aesthetic reflections, while the object of these reflections is largely excluded.

Even if the terms “classicism” and “classical” rarely appear, the corresponding receptive mode and criteria for the classical acceptation of certain composers are easily found. In any case the combined evidence from musical and literary sources allows us to determine north German musical culture in the 1740s and 1750s as “Berliner Klassik”. The starting point and focus of the debate are the eighteenth-century transmission and reception of the music of Carl Heinrich Graun, which – frequently together with that of Johann Adolf Hasse – is determined by a trend towards canonization. With this, one cannot help noticing a close affinity to the age of enlightenment under Frederick II and to sentimentality as a mode of listening. Besides, the process of establishing the model character of Graun’s compositions was accompanied by deliberations on a national musical culture. The term “Berliner Klassik” appears justified inasmuch as the Graun brothers were central figures in the music reception of their time, while the masters of neighboring towns and residences in turn derived their classical status from the Prussian capital’s musical life.

om217
Christoph Schaffrath (1709–1763)
Konzert für Cembalo und Streicher c-Moll (CSWV:C:11)
Edited by Jakob Schmidt
om164
Christoph Schaffrath (1709–1763)
Konzert für Cembalo und Streicher G-Dur (CSWV:C:41)
for Cembalo conc., Strings, B.c.
Edited by Reinhard Oestreich
Series A, symphonies
om123 / Volume 3
Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1762)
Die sieben ‚Darmstädter‘ Sinfonien
Seven symphonies
for 2 Hn, Str and Bc / Str and Bc
Edited by Tobias Schwinger
Series A, concertos
om153 / Volume 3
Christoph Nichelmann (1717–1762)
Konzert für Cembalo und Streicher d-Moll
for Cembalo concertato, Str and Bc
Edited by Ullrich Scheideler
Series A, chamber music
om129 / Volume 8
Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1762)
Sonata da chiesa a-Moll
in A minor
for Ob, Vl, Va and Bc
Edited by Richard Stone
Series A, chamber music
om145 / Volume 9
Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1762)
Sonata da camera Es-Dur
in E flat major
for Ob, 2 Va and Bc
Edited by Carolin Sibilak
Series A, ouvertures
om151 / Volume 3
Christoph Schaffrath (1709–1763)
Ouverture E-Dur (CSWV:A:2)
in E major
for Str and Bc
Edited by Reinhard Oestreich
Series A, chamber music
om21 / Volume 1
Johann Gottlieb Graun (1701/2–1771)
Acht Sonaten (GraunWV A:XVII:2 C:XVII:61,64,65,69,70,71,73)
Eight sonatas
for Vl and Bc
Edited by Bernhard Schrammek
Series A, concertos
om33 / Volume 1
Johann Gottlieb Graun (1701/2–1771)
Violinkonzert a-Moll (GraunWV A:XIII:13)
Violin concerto in A minor
Edited by Christoph Henzel
Series A, concertos
om52 / Volume 2
Johann Gottlieb Graun (1701/2–1771)
Violinkonzert c-Moll (GraunWV A:XIII:18)
Violin concerto in C minor
Edited by Christoph Henzel
Series A, chamber music
om69 / Volume 2
Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1762)
Sonata da camera b-Moll
in B flat minor
for Vl, Ob and Bc
Edited by Tobias Schwinger
Series A, chamber music
om70 / Volume 3
Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1762)
Sonata da chiesa c-Moll
in C minor
for 2 Vl and Bc
Edited by Tobias Schwinger
Series A, chamber music
om94 / Volume 4
Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721–1783)
Trio D-Dur
in D major
for Fl, Vl and Bc
Edited by Ingo Gronefeld
Series A, chamber music
om95 / Volume 5
Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721–1783)
Trio g-Moll
in G minor
for Fl, Vl and Bc
Edited by Ingo Gronefeld
Series A, chamber music
om97 / Volume 6
Carl Höckh (1707–1773)
Sieben Parthien
according to the original print Berlin (G. L. Winter) 1761
for 2 Vl and Bc
Edited by Philip Schmidt
Series A, chamber music
om104 / Volume 7
Johann Gottlieb Graun (1701/2–1771)
Trio c-Moll
in C minor
for 2 Vl and Bc
Edited by Tobias Schwinger