The solo clarinet compositions of Antonio Cartellieri (1772-1807) are comparatively unknown today, although during his lifetime his works were widely acclaimed in Viennese and Bohemian Courts. This study has been undertaken with the intention of providing additional clarinet repertoire, since none of Cartellieri’s solo clarinet compositions are available in modern performance editions, except for transcriptions for clarinet and piano of the slow movements of the clarinet concertos made by György Balassa in 1979.
The purpose of this research is to study Cartellieri’s compositions for solo clarinet and to assess both his historical role in clarinet repertoire and the value of these compositions for clarinetists today. Observation upon Cartellieri’s compositional style and treatment of the clarinet will be drawn from the analysis of four of his concertos and his four quartets for clarinet and strings. Today Cartellieri’s compositions represent some of the best traits of the late eighteenth-century wind virtuoso school. The concertos and the quartets are excellent training pieces for clarinet students emphasizing formal characteristics of the period. They are pleasant, charming, and unassuming works of the chamber genre; idiomatically suited for the solo instrument, emphasizing directness and balance of conventional structure. Cartellieri’s works were undoubtedly fashionable vehicles for displaying the virtuosity of clarinetists of his day. The surprising scarcity of surviving copies of Cartellieri’s clarinet works may be attributed to the decline of wind soloists’ popularity which began in the second quarter of the nineteenth century and moreover for the short and modest life that he lived.
It was not traditional to print scores for smaller chamber and orchestral works at this time, as they weren’t needed for performance, so all the scores in this study have been constructed from the parts that are available.