Francesco Zappa

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This article is about the 18th century Italian musician. For the album by Frank Zappa, see Francesco Zappa (album).

Francesco Zappa (born in 1717 most probably in Milan, died on 17 January 1803 in The Hague[1]) was an Italian cellist and composer who lived most of his adult life in The Hague, the Netherlands.

He was highly regarded for his virtuoso cello playing and his compositions were published and distributed throughout Europe. Zappa was of importance to the musical life of the Netherlands, and made substantial contributions to the quality, vibrancy and international outlook of The Hague's 18th-century music scene as a performer, composer, concert organiser and teacher.[2]

Life[edit]

Little is known about Zappa's early life. Zappa was first employed by the Sicilian Count Catani, to whom he dedicated his first work, 6 Trio sonatas. He worked for the Duke of York, giving him music lessons during the Duke's stay in Italy, from November 1763 to the middle of 1764, listing himself as maestro di musica to the Duke on the title page of his Trio sonatas Opus 2.

In mid-1764, Zappa and compatriot Ricci embarked on a tour of Europe, visiting Dresden, Frankfurt, Mainz and Mannheim. In September 1764, the two performed concerts around the Netherlands. In this period, Zappa establishes himself in The Hague, where he was subsequently employed by the Court of the Prince of Orange with regularity for the next four decades, first appearing on the payroll for the court's Winter concert season in 1766.[3]

In 1771 he played a series of concerts in Germany, visiting the Polish city of Gdańsk and, on 22 September, Frankfurt am Main. It is likely that he was also active in Paris in the 1770s. According to Mendel (1879), he undertook another tour of Germany in 1781, and with "his gentle and beautiful sound" inspired wonder in all who listened.

At the end of the 1780s Zappa was still gainfully employed as a music master based in The Hague (Maître de musique à la Haye), as noted in the 1788 manuscript of his Quartetto concertante. Other documentation confirms his continued presence in the city. He receives a permanent Dutch residence permit on 1 August 1791.[4]

In The Hague's Binnenhof on 2 November 1794, Zappa played in the court's last concert before the stadholder's family abdicated, fleeing to England in the face of the invading French army, which put an end to the court's music programme.

Musical output[edit]

Zappa's oeuvre includes symphonies, trios, sonatas, divertimenti and songs. His compositions often feature a prominent role for the cello.

Frank Zappa performed Francesco Zappa's Opus 1 trios and Opus 4 sonatas on Synclavier and released the resulting album, "His First Digital Recording in over 200 Years," on CD and LP in 1984. While assumed by many to have been related, Frank Zappa stated in his biography, The Real Frank Zappa Book, that in fact they were not.

The first recording of Francesco Zappa's symphonies was made by the New Dutch Academy directed by Simon Murphy; PentaTone Classics PTC 5186 365, released in 2009. The recording features American Baroque cellist Caroline Kang in the solo role in Zappa's "cello symphonies".

Works[edit]

  • Duets:
    • 6 Sonatas for keyboard/harpsichord, as Opus 4a (Paris, n.d.)
    • 6 Duos (violin, cello/2 violins) (Paris, n.d.)
    • Duo for 2 cellos, Ms., m. 5740, Sammlung Hausbibliothek
  • Trio sonatas, 2 violins and bass:
    • 6 Trios (London, 1765), as Opus 1 (The Hague, n.d.)
    • 6 Trios as Opus 2 (London, ca. 1767)
    • 6 Trios as Opus 3 (Paris, n.d.)
    • 6 Trios as Opus 4 (London, n.d.)
    • 6 Sonates à deux Violons & Basse, (The Hague, n.d.), Sammlung Thulemeyer
  • Other Works:
    • 6 Keyboard Sonatas, Opus 6 (Paris 1776), mentioned by Mendel (1879)
    • 6 Symphonies (Paris, n.d.)
    • 2 Romances, 1 violin, piano, as Opus 4 (The Hague, n.d.)
    • 2 Romances, 1 violin (The Hague)
    • Sonata for cello, Mus. ms. 23490, Berlin Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    • Sinfonia con Violoncello obbligato No. 1 for 2 violins, viola, violoncello obbligato, 2 oboes, 2 horns, Ms., m. 5737, Sammlung Hausbibliothek
    • Quartetto Concertante for 2 violins, viola, cello, "composta all Aya li 8 Liuglio 1788," Ms. m. 5740, Sammlung Hausbibliothek
    • 27 Pieces, 2 for piano, 5 for 1 violin, piano, as Opus 11 (The Hague, n.d.)
    • 2 Sonata à tre for violin, violoncello obbligato, bass, in Early Cello Series, xxiii (London, 1983)
    • Other works: Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Bad Schwalbach Evangelisches Pfarrarchiv, Milan Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Verdi

References[edit]

  1. ^ Simon Murphy and Cornelia Klugkist "ZAPPA IN THE NETHERLANDS New Discoveries on the life of Francesco Zappa (1717 – 1803), Cellist and Composer at the 18th Century Court of Orange in The Hague" first published in Musica Antiqua, vol 1 issue 3, July - September 2012, published Spring 2013 on http://www.newdutchacademy.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:zappa&catid=40:articles&Itemid=55
  2. ^ Simon Murphy and Cornelia Klugkist "ZAPPA IN THE NETHERLANDS New Discoveries on the life of Francesco Zappa (1717 – 1803), Cellist and Composer at the 18th Century Court of Orange in The Hague" first published in Musica Antiqua, vol 1 issue 3, July - September 2012, published Spring 2013 on http://www.newdutchacademy.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:zappa&catid=40:articles&Itemid=55
  3. ^ Simon Murphy and Cornelia Klugkist "ZAPPA IN THE NETHERLANDS New Discoveries on the life of Francesco Zappa (1717 – 1803), Cellist and Composer at the 18th Century Court of Orange in The Hague" first published in Musica Antiqua, vol 1 issue 3, July - September 2012, published Spring 2013 on http://www.newdutchacademy.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:zappa&catid=40:articles&Itemid=55
  4. ^ Simon Murphy and Cornelia Klugkist "ZAPPA IN THE NETHERLANDS New Discoveries on the life of Francesco Zappa (1717 – 1803), Cellist and Composer at the 18th Century Court of Orange in The Hague" first published in Musica Antiqua, vol 1 issue 3, July - September 2012, published Spring 2013 on http://www.newdutchacademy.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:zappa&catid=40:articles&Itemid=55

Further References[edit]

  • Francesco Zappa, Symphonies, edited by Simon Murphy, The Hague, 2007
  • Francesco Zappa, Symphonies, Simon Murphy (conductor), New Dutch Academy, PentaTone Classics SA-CD, 2009
  • Simon Murphy and Cornelia Klugkist "ZAPPA IN THE NETHERLANDS New Discoveries on the life of Francesco Zappa (1717 – 1803), Cellist and Composer at the 18th Century Court of Orange in The Hague" Spring 2013 at http://www.newdutchacademy.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:zappa&catid=40:articles&Itemid=55
  • Francesco Zappa, "Sinfonie", critical edition by Jacopo Franzoni (Milano: Ricordi, 2010 - Archivio della sinfonia milanese, 3)
  • Jacopo Franzoni, "Chi Era Francesco Zappa?" in "Antonio Brioschi e il nuovo stile musicale del Settecento lombardo" by Davide Daolmi and Cesare Fertonani (Milano: LED, 2010)
  • Karl-Heinz Köhler. "Francesco Zappa" in Friedrich Blume (ed.). Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Kassel, Basel et al. 1968), Band 14
  • H. Mendel & A. Reissmann, (eds.). Musikalisches Conversations-Lexikon (Berlin, 1870–79), Band 11, 1879)
  • David Ocker. "The Musical Times of Francesco Zappa," liner notes from the album Francesco Zappa, Barking Pumpkin Records, 1984
  • Guido Salvetti & Valerie Walden in Stanley Sadie, (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary Of Music & Musicians (London, New York, Massachusetts 2001), 2nd. ed., ISBN 1-56159-239-0
  • E. van der Straeten. The History of the Violoncello (London, 1915/R1971), quoted by Köhler (1968)

External links[edit]