Marianna von Martines (1744-1812) at 275

This Saturday marks the 275th birthday of Marianna von Martines (1744-1812). It is especially thanks to Irving Godt (and his book Marianna Martines: A Woman Composer in the Vienna of Mozart and Haydn) that Martines receives the recognition today that does justice to her importance in (Viennese) musical life. The environment Martines was born in can be described as particularly lucky: in 1744 she was born in the Großes Michaelerhaus in Vienna, where Nicola Porpora, Pietro Metastasio, and from 1751-1756 Joseph Haydn also lived. Metastasio encouraged Martines's extraordinary talents from an early age and arranged for Haydn to be her first piano teacher. As a singer and harpsichordist she also sang and played at the Viennese court. She spoke English and French in addition to her native German and Italian. Her influence endured through the singing school she founded, from which numerous important singers emerged.

Martines mainly composed church music, but her oeuvre also includes arias, piano works, three concertos, and a symphony. RISM has a total of 54 sources for Martines, including six autograph manuscripts. The image above shows the beginning of the aria "Per pietà bell'idol mio." The manuscript is from the collection that once belonged to Maria Antonia Walpurgis, Elector of Saxony and is now in the SLUB Dresden.

Image: Marianna von Martines, "Per pietà bell'idol mio," SLUB Dresden (D-Dl Mus.1-F-82,16-7; RISM ID no. 212008189).

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