The Capture of the Cape of Good Hope for Solo Piano
Cecilia Maria Barthelémon was born c. 1770 in London into a musical family. Her father, François Hippolyte Barthelémon (1741-1808) was a violinist, composer, and played the viola d’amore as well as being an orchestral leader. Cecilia made her debut on March 3, 1779, at the Haymarket during intermission between the Parts of the Messiah. She was active as a soprano, harpist, keyboardist, and composer.
Cecilia Barthelémon’s The Capture of the Cape of Good Hope is written in seven sections, each with its own title or description. The dramatic quality of these pieces is characteristic of the late classical period. She uses dramatic pacing, contrast of moods between themes, and uses the power of rests. Barthelémon uses a wide variety of rhythmic patterns, well beyond the Alberti bass style. Her harmony contains surprise resolutions, deceptive cadences, and carefully placed diminished chords.