Theodor Schwartzkopff

Theodor Schwartzkopff (1659-1732)

For many, Theodor Schwartzkopff is an unfamiliar name. He was a viola da gamba player who was baptised on 6 Nov 1659 in Ulm and died on 13 May 1732 in Ludwigsburg. His father Georg Reinhardt Schwartzkopff was a city musician, organist and organ builder in Ulm. From about 1682, as a young man, Schwartzkopff was employed at the Stuttgart court, where the prevailing musical taste was French. In 1686 he became vice-kapellmeister and in 1690 kapellmeister. In 1700 Johann Sigismund Kusser was appointed chief conductor.

His trio-sonata for viola da gamba and bassoon is rather a suite in 5 movements than a sonata. The first movement has the form of an ouverture, with a slow beginning followed by a fastersecond section. All the other movements are dances: a lengthy chaconne followed by three very short dances Bourée, Aria and Gigue. Schwartzkopff’s main oeuvre consists of solo sonatas for viola da gamba, and trio sonatas for viola da gamba and violin. The sonata on this recording, with its simple, but enchanting Chaconne, is one of the few pieces ever with the combinationof viola da gamba and bassoon.

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