The consort suite in the German-speaking lands (1660-1705)
It is likely that most of the composers considered in this dissertation would have thought of themselves as being German, even if they were nominal citizens of the Holy Roman Empire. The end of the Thirty Years War in 1648 had hardly brought lasting peace to Germany: in France, Louis XIV had territorial ambitions, and this brought him into conflict with Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite the political machinations of the period, French cultural influence was very strong in Germany. The music of Jean-Baptiste Lully swept through the German courts during the 1670s and '80s, and remained the dominant influence in German suite writing until the early part of the eighteenth century. French music was known in Germany long before Lully. Dance music from France was widely disseminated, and this dissertation considers the manner of this dissemination as well as the influence of the ballet de cour. But there were parallel traditions of suite Writing during this time: suites by town musicians exhibited quite different characteristics from the French courtly suite. Here, concepts of careful organisation came to the fore: town musicians often issued their suites in printed collections that used a variety of techniques to link movements within suites. The collections themselves were often carefully organised: a similar, if not identical, sequence of movements could be used throughout a collection, and suites themselves could be arranged in ascending order of key. This dissertation will also study two particular trends of suite composition in Leipzig and Hamburg. In Leipzig, composers such as Rosenmiffler and Pezel offered performers a choice, not of individual dances, but of movement sequences. In Hamburg, Becker and Reincken were part of a late flowering of variation techniques that had been popular at the start of the century. The trio suite is considered as a separate genre, as are the suites written by composers such as J. H. Schmelzer at the imperial court of Vienna. Throughout, the dissertation deals with questions of instrumentation, national style, organisation and whether suites were intended to be abstract instrumental music or functional dance music. It ends with four case studies that indicate the trends in suite writing at the start of the eighteenth century.