The Forstmeyers hailed from Weißenburg in Bavaria, where the father was town musician and trained three of his sons in the same profession. Andreas Ehrenfried Forstmeyer (1732–1787), the composer of the trio sonata, briefly attended the Latin school of his home town and then from 1743 to 1748 was his father’s apprentice. A master craftsman’s diploma documents his dismissal with the remark that he “learned well the privileged esteemed liberal art and Musicam instrumentalem legitimo modo”. He subsequently moved to Karlsruhe to become a court musician: He started out in 1751 as an oboist and lackey, then from 1753 was employed as a horn player, and finally in 1770 became a violinist and violist. His social advancement was further facilitated when after the death of his first wife he married the daughter of a counsellor to the prince. Nevertheless at the time of his death Forstmeyer was encumbered with debts, a fate that he shared with many professional musicians of the time. Forstmeyer had two of his works printed. His opus 1, a collection containing Six Sonates pour le Clavecin avec L’accompagnement d’un Violon, ou Flûte, was published in 1770 by Johann Michael Götz in Mannheim; since the devastating fire at the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar in 2004 we only have a photomechanical copy of the piece, however. And in 1779, again in Mannheim, Götz published Forstmeyer’s Opera dramatica per la voce col clavicembalo obligato è accompagnamento del violino; the only copy of this piece in the Badische Landesbibliothek was lost during the air raid on Karlsruhe in 1942. In addition to the trio sonata presented here there are another four chamber pieces transmitted in Karlsruhe in manuscript, partly even autograph: Two trio sonatas for the same scoring – flute, violin and bass – and two quartets for flute, violin, viola and bass. [...]
The trio for flute by Forstmeyer is written in the tradition of the Karlsruhe and Mannheim chamber music, which is characterized by the early eschewal of a keyboard instrument for the basso continuo. On 23 November 1750 Giovanni Battista Sammartini (1700–1775) had sent the margrave concertini for a flute quartet (string trio with flute), explicitly mentioning on the title page that a violoncello would suffice as bass instrument. Here we have an early indication of the dying-out of the thorough-bass practice. Soon after we witness – not only in the context of the Mannheim School – the emerging classical string quartet and the related string or flute trio, to which we may count Forstmeyer’s piece.
Abstract from the preface by Tobias Bonz (translation: Stephanie Wollny)