[…] Höckh’s chamber works comprise sonatas and 24 capricci through every key for solo violin (without basso continuo), violin sonatas with basso continuo, and the “Parthien” for two violins and basso continuo presented in this volume. The collection Musikalisches Vielerley edited by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in Hamburg in 1770 contains three compositions by Höckh: the fourth and fifth issue present a violin sonata with basso continuo accompaniment in G major, the 23rd issue contains a piece for solo violin (with continuo) in C major, and in the 40th and 41st issue there is a partita for two violins and continuo in d minor. […]
A number of partitas for a larger scoring have also survived. The second part of the Breitkopf catalogue of 1762 lists “VII. Partite a due Violini e Basso, di Carl HOECKH. Maest. di Cap. di Pr. d’Anh. Zerbst” (A, G, F, e, D, C, B-flat), which today have to be considered lost. In 1761 Höckh published Sieben Parthien von zweyen Violinen und Baß with George Ludewig Winter in Berlin. This print served as the basis of the present edition.
A curious detail is the number of partitas, which is unusual for the eighteenth century. The seven partitas in A, B-flat, C, D, e, F and g bear Italian tempo indications and follow the principle of fast – slow – fast. Exceptions are the III. partita with its repetition of the first movement after the second, and the IV. partita with its four-movement structure, the last movement being a Tempo di Menuetto. Some of the inner movements are in the subdominant; in the fourth partita the middle movement is in the parallel key, in the sixth it is in the dominant, and in the last partita it is in the mediant key.
Erich Schenk has given an apt characterization of the seven partitas: “In the concluding movements we hear the serene tones of a Ländler (no. 2), heartfelt cantilenas (no. 6), the characteristic hunting mood of a stylized gigue (no. 3), in the middle movement of no. 5 we already find the specific minor mood of Viennese classicism, and the opening movement of no. 7 has a complex theme decidedly reminding of Johann Christian Bach and Mozart. Such a compilation will only rarely be found in northern Germany. The beginning of the allegro of no. 1 presents the particularly humorous solmization joke known from the finale of Beethoven’s First Symphony. Merry Neapolitan motifs such as the ‘a capella’ type observed in the last movement of no. 6 demonstrate the influence of the Italian style in Hoeckh’s instrumental music.”
The term Partita or Parthia should not be understood in the strict generic sense; rather, it is used as a kind of collective title. In the compositions presented in this volume it is applied to a trio sonata texture (with two equally ranking violins and continuo), which has to be seen as a kind of transitional stage towards the sonata forms of the nascent string trio, keyboard trio, and string quartet.
(Philip Schmidt, translation by Stephanie Wollny)