Mathias Georg Monn at 300

Concerto Ex B moll | à | Clavicembalo. | Flauto Traverso. | Violino. | è | Basso. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - PK (D-B) 14630/1 (RISM ID no. 453501269)

Not much is known about Mathias Georg Monn, a composer of the Viennese Early Classic period who was born 300 years ago this Sunday. Monn (9 April 1717 – 3 October 1750) is named in the records of the Klosterneuburg Monastery as Discantist for the years 1731/32. In 1738 or later he was the organist of the Karlskirche in Vienna. An autograph collection of thoroughbass exercises is preserved at the Austrian National Library, which points to some sort of teaching activity on his part. He died at the age of 33.

Most of his symphonies show a string quartet-influenced instrumentation and are usually in three movements. Instrumental music predominates Monn's oeuvre. Only a few masses count among his vocal music. For concertos, Monn favored the piano as a solo instrument, as was common practice in eighteenth-century Vienna. The transmission of his works is limited to the former lands of the Hapsburg Empire.

The RISM online catalog has ca. 130 entries for Mathias Georg Monn.

An imprint containing six string quartets by Monn was published posthumously (Vienna: Bureau d'Arts et d'Industrie, ca. 1803) and copies are preserved today in Belgium (B-Bc), Croatia (HR-Zha), Hungary (H-SFm), and the United States (US-DMu). The print served as the model for further manuscript copies (RISM A/I: M 3058, MM 3058; RISM ID no. 990041704).

As far as the scholarly literature is concerned: Volume 39 of the series Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (Vienna, 1912) is dedicated to Mathias Georg and his brother Johann Christoph Monn and includes five symphonies and two concertos by our birthday boy. In addition, it lists all of his instrumental works. The Viennese Concerted Mass of the Early Classic Period by Bruce C. Mac Intyre (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1986) names three of Monn's masses, and Kenneth Emmauel Rudolf lists 16 symphonies in his The Symphony 1720-1840. However, the field lacks a full catalog of works and a book-length study. Who wants to fill this gap?

Treat yourself to the Cello Concerto in G minor by Mathias Georg Monn in this recording with Jacqueline du Pré:

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