AN 18th-CENTURY ORCHESTRA, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Roll call of the members of a London orchestra, 1795

Manuscript list of the entire membership of an orchestra. 2 pages 4to ?London, 1795. A little worn at the left hand side and with small tears. An significant and informative manuscript from the time of one of Haydn's London visits.

The list, in three columns, is headed 'Mr Cramer', which suggests that the event was probably under the direction of Wilhelm Cramer (1746-1799), giving the surnames of all the players, and listing their pay (usually one guinea). Dated in the lower right hand corner 18 January 1795, with one word illegible and initials, perhaps 'W.G'. Many of the performers are continental, reflecting the rich diversity of English musical life at the time. Among the violinists are Cramer himself (second to [Giovanni] Salpietro) and the fifteen year old [George Augusutus] Bridgetower, who was to be the original dedicatee and first performer of Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata; the leader of the violas is listed as 'Fiorillo, i.e. presumably Federigo Fiorillo (1755-c.1823); two of the Shram family appear (violin and cello), and the leader of the double basses is of course Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846). Although the list is entirely in Italian ('Violoncelli' and 'Trombe', for example) this shows every sign of being an English concert, probably in London, and as such is a rare survivor and an important record of the personel of an orchestra of the time. Although Joseph Haydn was in England at this date there is no indication that he was involved with this concert. 1 page 4to, a summary of the orchestra (c.61 players, comprising a full string section with woodwind, trumpets and single trombone and timpanist) on the reverse.
[No: 26627]

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