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HPSCHD-L  December 2017

HPSCHD-L December 2017

Subject:

Re: Charman(d)

From:

Davitt MORONEY <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Harpsichords and Related Topics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 2 Dec 2017 02:38:33 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (109 lines)

OK, so it's time to deal with Charmand/Marchand. I've already explained
this before, I think, but no matter.
It's incumbent on the originators of this incident to explain themselves
fully first. It's actually impossible to contradict a total absence of
genuine evidence. Nevertheless, I can't find any convincing points. They
are non existent. So I remain a Doubting Thomas.
Let me say straightaway that I will be happy to change my mind on the
points below if some real evidence is published. Until then, here's my
position.

The dubious points are numerous. Here are just a few:
-- *Charmant*. Anyone who is "charming", a "charmer", is pulling wool over
someone's eyes. We can all see the obvious anagram for Marchand, but has
anyone asked why it might have been needed?
-- *Monsieur* *Renar*d is apparently said in the MS to have "arranged" the
pieces. A fox is clearly in the henhouse. (As Andrew has already noted.)
-- The date on the MS is said to be "illegible". (Surprise, surprise!)
-- Some composers' names in the MS are said be "illegible". (Surprise,
surprise!)
-- As for the collection the MS supposedly comes from ("the dissolved
Forestieri-Steiner fund"), how convenient that it is now dissolved! More to
the point, is there any evidence whatsoever that it actually existed? If
someone knows something about this "fund" please tell us all.
-- The handwriting shown in the page reproduced doesn't look quite right to
me. It's a good imitation, but several little notational details leave me
unconvinced that this is really an original eighteenth-century document.
-- An article is cited, as if to add a sort of scholarly aura to the text.
It's mentioned several times but in a totally inadequate manner (just
"Rosenthal, 2005"). Does this really exist? The main scholarly publications
I've found by people called Rosenthal published in 2005, are on social
research (Gabriele Rosenthal), medical research (Marilynn Rosenthal),
behavioral research (Robert Rosenthal). If someone can find such a
published scholarly musical article, please tell us all. Did I miss it?
-- I could mentions other things, but why flog a dead horse? However, I
have to add that there's the problem of the style of the music. I just
don't believe it. That's a subjective assessment, yes. But so be it. My
experience, right or wrong, tells me this is not what it says it is.
Experts can be wrong, but let's see some evidence. There hasn't been a
single tiny shred of evidence ever produced. Just a smokescreen.

Of course, the pieces are quite nice. I'm happy if people enjoy listening
to them. Several of my graduate students -- and even undergraduates -- have
written comparable pastiches, equally amusing, equally pleasing and ...
stylistically equally unconvincing, to me at least. I've composed a lot of
such pastiches in my time, also. And always passed them off as jokes (like
Scott Ross's fake Scarlatti Sonata played on 1 April 1985). My favorites
among my own pastiches were a galliard in the style of Byrd that introduced
"Happy Birthday" into the last section (for a friend's 70th birthday
party), that I said I had discovered in an French manuscript, where it was
attributed to "Monsieur Oiseau"); and a fughetta on "Tea for Two" in the
style of JSB, commissioned by the French radio back in the 1990s... When it
comes to composers of pastiches, maybe it takes one to know one (and even
to admire one)... But the bottom line for me is that these "Marchand"
pieces, despite being excellently written, strike me have having a little
too much Duphly in them. They seem out by a generation, stylistically.

The Italian composer Remo Giazotto insisted for most of his very long life
that he hadn't composed the "Albinoni Adagio", but that it was
reconstructed from a fragmentary manuscript in Dresden, conveniently bombed
during the Second World War (a bit like "the dissolved Forestieri-Steiner
fund"). But of course, Giazzoto did compose it. Yet many people now think
that that is what Albinoni's music is like, syrupy strings/harmonies and
all.  I suppose it's not really a bad thing if it leads them to listen to
Albinoni, or to music of any kind. I'd never want to criticize anyone for
enjoying something. Pleasure is too precious.

There's also the Pachelbel canon. Does anyone really believe that piece
could possibly be by Pachelbel? (OK, perhaps it's more of a misattribution
than an outright "fake". The unique source certainly dates from thirty
years after Pachelbel's death, and that's what the music sounds like, music
from the 1730s.)

And there were the six fake Haydn sonatas -- fine pieces, but composed by
the same forger who "wrote" over fifty letters supposedly by Berlioz, until
the wonderful antiquarian music dealer Albi Rosenthal unmasked him in the
1960s. (Ah yes, Rosenthal....! Now where have I heard that name being taken
in vain?)

There's a long (and fascinating) list of real musical "fakes". Vivaldi's *Il
Pastor Fido *sonatas are perhaps the most famous case for the Baroque
repertoire. They were faked by Nicolas Chédeville. Oh, wait a minute!
Chedeville admitted in court in 1749 that he'd agreed to compose "Vivaldi's
Opus 13" in 1737 when he'd been asked to do so by ... Monsieur Marchand!
Not Louis Marchand, but the publisher Jean-Noel Marchand. Anyone who knows
the details of French musical forgeries in the eighteenth century knows
this "Marchand" connection.

Best wishes,
DM




*Davitt Moroney​​Professor Emeritus Department of Music*

*Morrison Hall*


*​University of California, Berkeley​CA 94720-1200*


>

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
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