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- Sonata in E:
- Sonata in A:
- Tempo di Minuetto
Marianne Martinez, the Austrian daughter of a Spanish diplomat, was at the very center of musical life in 18th century Vienna. She studied composition with Nicolo Porpora and Joseph Haydn. The latter received free room and board in their house for three years in exchange for teaching the highly gifted ten-year-old Marianne keyboard and composition. Thoughout their lives, he considered her as an adopted daughter. Her portrait may still be seen in Haydn’s home in Vienna.
She was best known for symphonies and piano concerti. She is also remembered by a song in the Italian style, “La Tempesta.” The tempest refers both to a literal storm, as portrayed with some colorful tone painting in the violins and harpsichord, and the storm of the heart that is love. Note the “heartbeat” played by the cello in the middle section of the piece.
The young Haydn was given board and lodging family friend and court poet Pietro Metastasio supervised her education and clearly developed her talent in an unusual way for the time. She wrote over 200 works including a symphony, concertos, a large oratorio, masses, and numerous keyboard works (reminiscent of Haydn in athletic mode) and vocal works. In her fifties she founded a singing school; she also ran musical soirees which attracted all the major artists of Vienna. The lucky woman apparently was also one of the favorite piano four-hands and duet partners of W.A. Mozart. Her music is open hearted, sprightly and elegant.
Her Symphony in C major (1770) is the only known classical symphony written by a woman. She wrote it aged 26, and it is in light tuneful Viennese style. The first movement has a no-nonsense character, full of rhythmic vitality and spiced up with imaginative use of different phrase lengths. Flowing flute lines pervade the slow movement, while the Finale is a spirited dance in 3/8 with energetic leaps.
In 1772, Charles Burney passed through Vienna on one of his musical tours and reported meeting Martinez, and he heard her sing and play.
“Her performance indeed surpassed all that I had been made to expect. She sung two aria of her own composition, to words of Metastasio, which she accompanied on the harpsichord, in a very judicious and masterly manner; and in playing the ritornels, I could discover a very brilliant finger. Her voice and manner of singing both delighted and astonished me! After these two songs she played a very difficult lesson of her own composition, on the harpsichord, with great rapidity and precision.”