Marianna Martines (1744-1813) was one of the most accomplished, prolific, and highly honored female musicians of the eighteenth century. She spent most of her life in a remarkable household that included celebrated librettist Pietro Metastasio, who supervised her education and remained a powerful and supportive mentor. She studied with the young Joseph Haydn, and Vienna knew her as a gifted, aristocratic singer and keyboard player who performed for the pleasure of the Empress Maria Theresa. The regular private concerts she held in her home attracted the presence and participation of some of Vienna's leading musicians; Mozart enjoyed playing keyboard duets with her. She composed prolifically and in a wide variety of genres, vocal and instrumental, writing church music, oratorios, Italian arias, sonatas, and concertos. Much of that music survives, and those who study it, perform it, and listen to it will be impressed today by its craftsmanship and beauty.
This book, the first volume fully devoted to Martines, examines her life and compositional oeuvre. Based largely on eighteenth-century printed sources, archival documents, and letters [including several by Martines herself, most of them published here for the first time] the book presents a detailed picture of the small but fascinating world in which she lived and demonstrates the skillfulness and creativity with which she manipulated the conventions of the gallant style. Focusing on a limited number of representative works, and using many musical examples, it vividly conveys the nature and extent of her compositional achievement and encourages the future performance of her works.
The late Irving Godt was Professor of Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. John A. Rice, independent scholar, is a member of the Akademie für Mozart-Forschung in Salzburg.
Breaks new ground. . . . The ample provision of examples (from works not necessarily easily accessible to most readers) together with Godt's thorough sifting of the archival sources have created a satisfying account of a noteworthy figure. . . now deservedly restored to a . . . prominent place on the historical scene. . . . A welcome contribution to the history of music in eighteenth-century Vienna. . . . An unusual woman who may well have influenced her male contemporaries, as well as being influenced by them. MUSIC & LETTERS [Susan Wollenberg]
Solidly researched and hitherto unpublished or little-known empirical documentation. . . . Offers for the first time a full record of Martines's works. . . . Emphatically refut[es] the nineteenth-centy view . . . that disregarded Martines's compositional achievements. . . . Will undoubtedly appeal to a wide readership among scholars of eighteenth-century studies. EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STUDIES [Yael Sela]
Makes a strong case for Martines's creativity as a composer in the galant style. The strengths of this volume result from Rice's significant editing as well as from the pioneering research by the late Godt. SUMMING UP: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. CHOICE [J. Michele Edwards]
Godt and Rice's volume . . . sets new standards [for books on women composers] by rejecting any vestige of special pleading, and by including such an abundance of substantial musical extracts as to entrust Martines's reputation to the judgement of its readers. . . . Rice's contribution enriches the book considerably. MUSICAL TIMES [Patricia Howard]
Marianna Martines's excellence as a composer has, until now, been unsuspected. Irving Godt left no stone unturned in his research about Martines's life and works. The well-chosen musical examples give the music world for the first time an opportunity to become aware of the high quality and appeal of Martines's work. Through quotations from letters, journals, and travelers' accounts, we see how an eighteenth-century aristocratic woman could, thanks in part to a prominent mentor [here, the court poet Metastasio], achieve a significant international reputation. Marita Petzoldt McClymonds, Professor Emerita of Music, University of Virginia