Eighteenth Century Women Composers for the Harpsichord or Piano, Vol. II

By Marianne Martinez, Maria Hester Park (Ed. Barbara Harbach)

Martinez - Sonata in A Major (Excerpts)
Rondo - Adagio
Tempo di minuetto
Park - Sonata in C Major (Excerpts)
Allegro spirito
Rondo Allegramente

Catalogue Number: H1802
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H1802 Score $18.95

Marianne Martinez (1744 – 1812) was a highly educated Viennese composer. As a child, she attracted considerable attention as both a singer and keyboardist. She studied piano and composition with Haydn, Porpora, and Metastasio. In 1733, she was made an honorary member of the Bologna Accademia Filharrnonica. Like other women composers of her time, Martinez held weekly salons where well-known musicians gathered.

The Sonata in A Major has a rhythmically energetic first and third movement, with a more lyric second movement. The three movements are in binary form with each section repeated.

Maria Hester Park (1775 – 1822) was an English composer, pianist, and singer. At the age of ten, she made her piano debut during an oratorio interval at Drury Lane, where her father, John Park, was the celebrated first oboist. At fifteen, she made her singing debut at the Gloucester Festival, and she sang frequently in London concerts and festivals for the next twenty-five years. She composed at least 13 opus numbers, though several have been lost. Attaching opus numbers to music is rare in English women keyboard composers of this time; it suggests Miss Park’s seriousness and dedication to composition. She retired from composing at forty, when she married.

Park’s Sonata for the Piano Forte in C Major, Opus VII [c. 1796] was sold in shops throughout London. Following the tradition of the time, this three-movement sonata was performed on either harpsichord or the developing pianoforte. The exciting Allegro Spirito opens with an explosive ascending three octave scale pattern. The first movement is typical of the eighteenth-century sonata style, with the exposition of two contrasting themes and a development section which utilizes both themes. The second theme has a singing melody and an Alberti bass accompaniment. The entire movement is characterized by rhythmic vitality and variety, and after a passage in the relative minor, it closes with the recapitulation.

The two­part Larghetto is a series of variations, each with successively faster notes in the left hand. The second part exhibits a short thirty-second note cadenza before the final variation using sixteenth notes.

The rhythmically exciting Rondo Allegramente is a five-part movement. The rondo has a homophonic texture and becomes increasingly active, moving from eighth to sixteenth notes. The first episode features the repetition of motives and sequences, a brief passage in the parallel minor, and almost constant sixteenth-note motion. After a restatement of the Rondo, Park writes an episode in the relative minor, entitled Minore. The Alberti bass and extended arpeggiated melody evoke Sturm and Drang, perhaps an influence of family friend Joseph Haydn, whose Hanover Square Room concerts she attended (sometimes as performer). The minor episode gradually becomes more rhythmically static until the dramatic entrance of the now-familiar Rondo.


Historical Keyboard