Está en la página 1de 2

Analyse the impact of the Stamitz and his court orchestra in

Mannheim to the overall development of the symphony

Johann Stamitz, born in 1717, was a Czech composer and violinist whose impact on
the development of the symphony cannot be understated. Through his court
orchestra in Mannheim, Stamitz developed the now well-documented ‘Mannheim
effects’, progressed several distinct musical elements, and changed the way
symphonies and their movements within were structured. Stamitz’ Symphony in Eb
Major demonstrates all of these developments well, and will be used throughout to
exemplify these changes.

Firstly, composers of the Mannheim school, such as Stamitz, innovated musically in


many ways. One such example is the Mannheim Rocket, in which there is an
ascending melodic line over a crescendo figure. This can be seen on the third page of
the score, in which the first and second violins rise chromatically from an Ab to the F
an octave above. This chromaticism is in some way atypical of the Rocket, as it is
common to be composed with an arpeggio, however, the effect of building
excitement is still very much created in this moment. Another key feature is the
Mannheim Sigh. This can be seen prominently in pages four and nine of the score, in
which the first note of two descending slow notes is given more weight than the
second. The Mannheim Roller also features in this symphony. This can be seen on the
first page of the Prestissimo in which there is a piano Eb pedal in the lower strings
while the first violins crescendo.

Furthermore, Stamitz also developed the musical elements. Firstly, orchestration was
expanded. His symphonies of the 1750s were written for standard string section,
two horns, and two oboes, with flutes and clarinets often playing the part of the
oboe. This is the orchestra that is seen in Symphony in Eb. Moreover, the oboes and
horns were now given solo lines beyond the purely doubling purpose they had
served previously. For example, in page nine of the score, the two oboes can be seen
to play a soli passage without string accompaniment. This pioneered the use of the
wind section for solo passages, and was responsible for Mannheim Birds. He also
established extended crescendos across the orchestra, causing greater dynamic
interest. Such a crescendo can be seen on the second page, in which the whole
orchestras crescendoes from piano to fortissimo over three bars. In addition, a
slower harmonic rhythm was common, with the harmonic rhythm of Symphony in
often being no faster than minims, and there tended to be a persistent rhythmic
drive throughout. Stamitz also utilised themes that were unique to each other, and
which much of the music was built upon.

In addition, Stamitz pioneered the four-movement structure, each movement largely


following the template: fast – slow – minuet and trio – faster. This can be seen in his
Symphony in Eb, which has tempo descriptors, of allegro, andante, minuet and trio,
with a prestissimo finale. He was one of the first composers to consistently stick to
this structure, with over half his symphony and nine out of ten orchestral trios being
in four movements.
Moreover, he developed sonata form in many ways, often using it instead of rondo
form in finale movement, and sometimes even using it in the slow movement instead
of ternary form. This was very revolutionary at the time, and broke many
compositional norms that had been previously accepted.

Overall, Stamitz innovated in many ways to develop the symphony, and the effects
of this can be clearly seen in the symphonic works of following composers, namely
Mozart and Beethoven, who both very much had adopted his ideas on the strcuture
of the symphony, and the Mannheim Effects he was a part of developing can be seen
throughout a vast majority of the music written in his legacy. So, for these reasons, it
can be said that Stamitz had a huge impact on the overall development of the
symphony.