Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Marianna Martines

Marianna Martines: A Woman Composer in the Vienna of Mozart and Haydn

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 320
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Marianna Martines
    Book Description:

    Marianna Martines (1744-1813) was one of the most accomplished, prolific, and highly honored female musicians of the eighteenth century. She spent most of her life in a remarkable household that included celebrated librettist Pietro Metastasio, who supervised her education and remained a powerful and supportive mentor. She studied with the young Joseph Haydn, and Vienna knew her as a gifted, aristocratic singer and keyboard player who performed for the pleasure of the Empress Maria Theresa. The regular private concerts she held in her home attracted the presence and participation of some of Vienna's leading musicians; Mozart enjoyed playing keyboard duets with her. She composed prolifically and in a wide variety of genres, vocal and instrumental, writing church music, oratorios, Italian arias, sonatas, and concertos. Much of that music survives, and those who study it, perform it, and listen to it will be impressed today by its craftsmanship and beauty. This book, the first volume fully devoted to Martines, examines her life and compositional oeuvre. Based largely on eighteenth-century printed sources, archival documents, and letters (including several by Martines herself, most of them published here for the first time) the book presents a detailed picture of the small but fascinating world in which she lived and demonstrates the skillfulness and creativity with which she manipulated the conventions of the gallant style. Focusing on a limited number of representative works, and using many musical examples, it vividly conveys the nature and extent of her compositional achievement and encourages the future performance of her works. The late Irving Godt was Professor of Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. John A. Rice, independent scholar, is a member of the Akademie für Mozart-Forschung in Salzburg.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-763-6
    Subjects: History, Music

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Musical Examples
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Editor’s Note
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    John A. Rice
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xv)
    Irving Godt
  7. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The music historian Charles Burney spent several weeks in Vienna in 1772. One of his most cherished ambitions was to meet the court poet Pietro Metastasio, whose librettos, set to music hundreds of times, had helped to shape the music of his age. But once in the presence of the great dramatist, Burney found his attention distracted by the entrance of a young woman, “who was received by the whole company with great respect. She was well dressed, and had a very elegant appearance.” This was Marianna Martines, whose family had lived with Metastasio for about forty years and whose...

  9. Chapter One The Scene and the Players
    (pp. 9-21)

    Vienna has changed much since Marianna’s day. The walls that once encircled the capital (fig. 1.1) are down, their ring now traced by wide boulevards booming with traffic and trams. Smooth, swift subways link the inner city with bustling suburbs where cattle once grazed. The old palaces are now museums, libraries, government offices, convention centers, or even rental properties. Here and there a touch of glassy modernism sprouts among the bewigged eighteenth-century and plump nineteenth-century facades. Glittery boutiques lure tourists where modest shops once fed the daily needs of a living city.

    The new city is overlaid almost transparently upon...

  10. Chapter Two The Young Musician
    (pp. 22-34)

    Marianna Martines was baptized on May 4, 1744, in the Michaelerkirche, probably on the day she was born into her well-connected, bilingual, and talented family.¹ She came into the world during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa, when Joseph Haydn was still a twelve-year-old soprano in the imperial chapel. She was, to the best of our knowledge, the first girl born to the family. Most of what little we know of Marianna’s childhood and musical training comes from the autobiographical letter that she wrote to Padre Martini in December 1773:

    I was born in the year 1744 on the...

  11. Chapter Three Early Works
    (pp. 35-57)

    Despite her literary activities and the social responsibilities that accumulated as she grew older, Marianna stuck to her music. By the age of sixteen she had completed at least one mass if not two, and the solo motetNe maris ira insane. At an even younger age she must have begun the assiduous daily exercise of composition and study she described in her 1773 autobiographical letter to Padre Martini: study to which her copies of music by Caldara and Lotti bear witness. In the years from 1760 to 1768—from the age of sixteen to twenty-four—Martines appears to have...

  12. Chapter Four The Musical Dramatist
    (pp. 58-78)

    To a composer of Marianna’s talents who honed her skills, as she tells us in her autobiographical statement, by studying the scores of the greatest operatic composers of the age, and whose arias were likened by one of her contemporaries to Jommelli’s, opera must have beckoned.¹ Yet this was a genre restricted largely to professional composers, which meant, of course, to men. She wrote no operas, but she left in her two surviving oratorios a vivid sense of her skills as a dramatic composer. And she left in her settings of Italian aria texts a hint of what might have...

  13. Chapter Five Italian Psalms
    (pp. 79-132)

    In 1768 Metastasio received a present from Saverio Mattei, a young scholar from southern Italy who reintroduced himself to thepoeta cesareo(with whom he had briefly corresponded in 1766) by sending him a recently published book. Mattei accompanied the gift with an ode addressed to Metastasio and a letter brimming with fulsome praise for the famous man—but not omitting a bit of puffery of himself. His ode consists of eighty-one lines of unabashed sycophancy replete with obscure classical allusions and compliments to Empress Maria Theresa and her servant Piero (Pietro Metastasio). Mattei imagined himself swept heavenward in Apollo’s...

  14. Chapter Six Padre Martini and the Dixit Dominus
    (pp. 133-153)

    When Martines was born, and for the first thirty-six years of her life, a woman ruled the Austrian Monarchy. Empress Maria Theresa proved herself one of the most able and energetic monarchs of her era. Her territories stretched precariously from the North Sea to the Adriatic, from the borders of France to those of Russia and the Ottoman Turks. In them lived not only Germans but Hungarians, Poles, Italians, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Serbs, and smaller Slav nationalities. She was the mother of sixteen children whom she managed as instruments of her rule. In 1765 she allowed her twenty-four-year-old son Joseph...

  15. Chapter Seven Family Honors and Private Music Making
    (pp. 154-179)

    1774 was the year not only of theDixit Dominusbut also of theRitterstand, the edict that raised the Martines family to the Austrian aristocracy. The copy of the decree that survived the fire of 1927, apparently a rough draft, sets forth the accomplishments of the four living Martines brothers. It makes no mention of Marianna.¹

    By the time of the decree, Dionysius had already accomplished valuable things as a mine engineer, Johann Baptist was serving as a loyal infantry officer, Carl Boromeus was a conscientious official in the Austro-Bohemian Imperial Chancellery, and Marianna had been received into the...

  16. Chapter Eight Isacco Figura del Redentore and the Death of Metastasio
    (pp. 180-192)

    1782 was a momentous year in the life of Marianna Martines: a year of musical fulfillment, personal tragedy, and financial gain. Vienna’s Tonkünstler-Sozietät performed her oratorioIsacco figura del Redentorein its two concerts during Lent, on March 17 and 19. For the first and probably only time in her life she had the opportunity to present a major work in a completely public setting, in which her music could be compared with that of Vienna’s leading professional composers. About three weeks later Metastasio died at the age of eighty-four. His death left her without the man who had been...

  17. Chapter Nine “Countless Artistic Pleasures”: Martines as Musical Hostess and Teacher
    (pp. 193-212)

    Sometime between Metastasio’s death in 1782 and 1786 (most likely in 1785), the Martines family moved to the first floor of building No. 25 in the Herrengasse.¹ This building, which no longer exists, stood at the eastern end of the street, on the corner opposite the old Burgtheater and the palace: that is, diametrically across the Michaelerplatz from the house they had lived in for over half a century. With both parents dead, Dionysius in Bohemia managing the imperial gold and silver mines of Joachimsthal (Jáchymov), and Johann Baptist in the army, the Viennese family was much reduced. Metastasio’s death...

  18. Appendix One The Martines Family
    (pp. 213-213)
  19. Appendix Two Letters to and from Marianna Martines
    (pp. 214-243)
  20. Appendix Three Metastasio’s Will and Codicil
    (pp. 244-255)
  21. Appendix Four List of Works
    (pp. 256-264)
  22. Notes
    (pp. 265-286)
  23. Bibliography
    (pp. 287-294)
  24. Index
    (pp. 295-300)
  25. Back Matter
    (pp. 301-301)