Sidney Pratten, Catharina

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kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:25 am

Frank Nordberg wrote: Hopefully I'll be able to update the list soon but there's so much else I ought to do too! My main focus at the moment isn't Pratten but Pietro Pettoletti and there are several other 19th century guitar composers who deserve more recognition: Knijze, Ferrer, Cottin, Diabelli (if you think he's well enough known, think again!), the other Pettolettis, possibly Batioli etc.
I agree with Ferrer! Highly overlooked genius of charming miniatures for guitar solo. Other 19th century spaniards, (probably overshadowed by Tarrega and his school of followers) Vinas, Broca, Arcas, Cano, Manjon, Ciebra, ...ect, ect. ect.

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:42 am

Fabbri wrote:But words like "pretty" don't relate all that well to pieces like Sadness, Lament, A Lost Love, Forgotten, Sehnsucht...
Oh, you just have to learn to see the beaty in a teardrop!
Fabbri wrote:I suppose a harsh critic like Ophee...
To be fair, I think Ophee would have been perfectly able to apreciate the beauty of Pratten's music if he had been prepared for it. It's just that he expected something completely different. What I think happened is that he had read about Pratten's amazing skills as a performing virtuoso and expected her composition to match. When he found out they didn't, he got so diappointed he failed to notice the qualities they actually do have.
Fabbri wrote:...would argue that the emotionalism of these and similar pieces is false and sentimental.
If anybody who haven't examined the scores yet reads this: There is certainly nothing false about the emotions in Pratten's music.

I think she herself would have been happy to agree about its sentimentality. Sentimental wasn't regarded as something negative back then.
Fabbri wrote:Can we really distinguish between false and genuine expressions of feeling in music?
Current estimates of how much time we have left before the end of the world ranges between three days and a couple of billion years but they all agree that we don't have nearly enough time to finish that discussion. :wink:

But here's an interesting question:
Consider Tarrega's "Lagrima", Villa-Lobos' preludes, Mendelssohn's songs without words, Satie's Gymnopedies, Rubira's romance, Myer's Cavatina, MacDowell's "To A Wild Rose", Grieg's lyrical pieces ...
It's a "well established fact" that these are great works of music. What qualities do these compositions have that Pratten's don't? This is not a trick question. I genuinely don't know the answer and would love to know!

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:04 am

Frank Nordberg wrote:[But here's an interesting question:
Consider Tarrega's "Lagrima", Villa-Lobos' preludes, Mendelssohn's songs without words, Satie's Gymnopedies, Rubira's romance, Myer's Cavatina, MacDowell's "To A Wild Rose", Grieg's lyrical pieces ...
It's a "well established fact" that these are great works of music. What qualities do these compositions have that Pratten's don't? This is not a trick question. I genuinely don't know the answer and would love to know!
Its not a matter of quality...If John Williams or Christopher Parkening would have played and or recorded Pratten, her name would be popular and famous as say Tarrega. Indeed, excellent guitarists such as Williams and Parkening, to name two from dozens, hold the fate of the popularity of composers within their grasps of recording.

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:13 am

kefka wrote:Look at page 4, in the advertisment
...not insulting anyones intellegence here, just making a point.
Please keep making the points. That particular page was actually the starting point of my list of Pratten's works but a good thing can always do with some repetition. :)
kefka wrote:Apparently she wrote over a hundred pieces and were once for sale.
Far more. These are just the music for solo guitar and ensemble pieces where the guitar is the main instrument. Add all those songs with guitar accompaniment, the ukulele pieces with guitar accompaniment, the gigelira music and the concertina pieces (although I guess the latter aren't really that relevant on this message board) and you'll end up with a catalog of ... my best guestimate is around 500 works but it might be more.

kefka wrote:They have to be available somewhere today yes?
Try this:
http://copac.ac.uk/search?author=Pratten&keyword=guitar

and especially this:
http://copac.ac.uk/search?author=Pratte ... itar&rn=48

Seems somebody bought copies of nearly all of Pratten's publications for solo guitar and had everything bound into a single book. Unfortunately not digitized yet but we can always hope (or, if we can afford it, just visit the British Library).
kefka wrote:Anyone happen to notice this on Bojie?

http://biblioteket.statensmusikverk.se/ebibliotek/boije/p ... 201128.pdf
Oh yes, I did! To a music history researcher this is what's technically known as "sensory overload". Just the fact that it exists in this particular context and location is a potential source for a master's degree thesis and so is every other paragrah in the document.
kefka wrote:I agree with Ferrer!
I think Ferrer desveres his own discussion at this forum. He should be far more than just a digression in a Pratten thread. But oh well...

Ferrer was rediscovered by Noad and Wynberg who published some of his later pedagocial works in a couple of books at the beginning of the 1980s (if I remember correctly). Since then, some of his minor works have become part of the standard students' repertoire for guitarists. His major guitar works on the other hand, are still fairly unknown. His piano works are completely unknown and if/when they come to the attention of the music community at large, they may well require a complete rewriting of late 19th/early 20th century music history.
kefka wrote:Other 19th century spaniards, (probably overshadowed by Tarrega and his school of followers) Vinas, Broca, Arcas, Cano, Manjon, Ciebra, ...ect, ect. ect.
You forgot to mention Bosch and Castillo. And you mentioned two names I had hardly heard of: Manjon and Ciebra...

This discussion is about Madame Catharina Sidney Prateen née Pelzer and she' s great enough to deserve her own dedicated thread with no digressions but even so:
There is a generally accepted theory that the late 19th century was a "black hole" in the history of guitarism. I think it's obvious by now that this isn't because nothing happened during that time period but because nobody has had the time to take a serious look into the matter. The question is, who's willing and able to do the work to fill this gap and - since even music researchers need money to pay for bread on the table and a roof over their heads - who's gonna pay for it?
kefka wrote:
Frank Nordberg wrote:Its not a matter of quality...If John Williams or Christopher Parkening would have played and or recorded Pratten, her name would be popular and famous as say Tarrega.
My point eaxcatly! :)
(I'd still be happy if anybody provided valid arguments why I was wrong though :wink:)

Fabbri, and Kefka, I have a feeling we are preaching to the converts here. I'm pretty sure we - and anybody else who may have endured the thread this far - agree that Pratten's music derserve more attention and apreciation. Question is: What do we do about it?

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:06 am

Frank Nordberg wrote:
I think Ferrer desveres his own discussion at this forum. He should be far more than just a digression in a Pratten thread.
I agree! Perhaps you should start the thread?

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:13 am

Frank Nordberg wrote:
Try this:
http://copac.ac.uk/search?author=Pratten&keyword=guitar

and especially this:
http://copac.ac.uk/search?author=Pratte ... itar&rn=48

Seems somebody bought copies of nearly all of Pratten's publications for solo guitar and had everything bound into a single book. Unfortunately not digitized yet but we can always hope (or, if we can afford it, just visit the British Library).
Thanks Frank! ... The only digitized PDF of Pratten i am aware is the Bojie and Huddleson. Anyone know of any online source with digitized files of Pratten's works to add to the aforementioned lists?

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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:09 am

Elves and fairies certainly suggest what Frank calls 'pretty music', though I'd like to see the scores rather than judge from the titles. The March of the Fairies, for example: fairies marching?? Maybe she was into pre-modern irony.

The concert programme is a great find, Kefka. Good source for social history. Notice the price of Giulia's guitar lessons: £7 an hour, which in modern terms is at least £200. Makes you wonder about her clientele.

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:05 pm

Fabbri wrote:Elves and fairies certainly suggest what Frank calls 'pretty music', though I'd like to see the scores rather than judge from the titles. The March of the Fairies, for example: fairies marching?? Maybe she was into pre-modern irony.

The concert programme is a great find, Kefka. Good source for social history. Notice the price of Giulia's guitar lessons: £7 an hour, which in modern terms is at least £200. Makes you wonder about her clientele.
Read the title page of her compositions...Instructoress to Her Highness Princesss Luise. High end clientele indeed!

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:00 pm

kefka wrote:Anyone know of any online source with digitized files of Pratten's works to add to the aforementioned lists?
There's a copy of "German March" for guitar and piano in the GFA archives:
http://archives.guitarfoundation.org/?f ... ils&a1=233

GFA also has a copy of one of Giulia Pelzer's song arrangements:
http://archives.guitarfoundation.org/?f ... ils&a1=207
(One curious digression btw: why did Giulia keep her maiden name after she married?)

I know of two other libraries that have a few works by Pratten in their collections: The University of Michigan (in their "Women Composers Collection") and the Hoschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover. Neither collection has been digitized and I don't know if there are any plans to do so.
Fabbri wrote:Notice the price of Giulia's guitar lessons: £7 an hour, which in modern terms is at least £200.
That's not for a single lesson but for a course of twelve. I did some calculations based on this programme a while ago. Can't find them at the moment but my conclusion was that Giulia's income from teaching placed her in the upper half of the middle class which is what we would expect anyway. She would have earned money from performing and selling sheet music too of course but probably not much.
kefka wrote:Instructoress to Her Highness Princesss Luise. High end clientele indeed!
That's another curious digression. Pratten taught two of Queen Victoria's daughters but she only mentioned one of them. I wonder why.

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:40 pm

I hope this is a treat for all you Pratten enthusiasts:

Catharina Josepha Pratten - Malbrook Fantasia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4ks2c35 ... qg&index=2

Perhaps as beautiful as Sor's I daresay! Ok, the BIG question...where does one aquire the score?

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:53 pm

kefka wrote:I hope this is a treat for all you Pratten enthusiasts:
It is indeed. Thanks!
Frank Nordberg wrote:The music Catharina Pratten wrote isn't great or serious by any standard. They are unpretentious little miniatures...
Obviously I was wrong. She did write more "serious" works too.
kefka wrote:Ok, the BIG question...where does one aquire the score?
There are surviving copies at the British Library in London and at the Biblioteca nazionale centrale in Florence. Can't find it online though so somebody will have to do it the good old-fashioned way and actually visit one of those libraries.

Or maybe we just need a little bit of patience. It seems the Florence library is planning to digitize their collection but hasn't gotten around to it yet:
http://www.internetculturale.it/opencms ... ina=ordina

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:26 am

Frank Nordberg wrote: Hopefully I'll be able to update the list soon but there's so much else I ought to do too! My main focus at the moment isn't Pratten but Pietro Pettoletti and there are several other 19th century guitar composers who deserve more recognition: Knijze, Ferrer, Cottin, Diabelli (if you think he's well enough known, think again!), the other Pettolettis, possibly Batioli etc., etc., etc.
.
Actually Diabelli caught the attention of two famous composers, Beethoven and Liszt. They both wrote variations on a waltz of his. He maybe more famous than you know?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variation_ ... li_(Liszt)

Personally I adore Breams recordings of Diabelli's Sonatas.

You mention Cottin. Now he isnt a composer that is talked about in music theory college classes like Beethoven, but we guitarists should know him and should familiarize ourselves with some of his works...afterall, he was important enough to the great Tarrega to be the one he dedicated Recuerdos de la Alhambra to.

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:24 pm

kefka wrote:Actually Diabelli caught the attention of two famous composers, Beethoven and Liszt. They both wrote variations on a waltz of his. He maybe more famous than you know?
Oh, I'm not suggesting he's forgotten. In addition to that famous waltz, many of his Bagatelles and Sonatinas are still very much part of the standard repertoire for piano students.

I still feel his guitar works deserve more attention though, in particular the three sonatas. There aren't many full-fledged sonatas in the early guitar repertoire at all. And the ones matching Diabelli's in quality I think can be counted on one hand.

I think his etudes, op. 39 also deserve more attention. Two or three of them keep turning up in various guitar methods and students' repertoire anthologies but most of them are all but forgotten. As a whole Diabelli's op. 39 is actually a full-fledged guitar method similar to Carulli's and Carcassi's but - just like Giuliani's method - without the explanatory text and theory.
kefka wrote:You mention Cottin. Now he isnt a composer that is talked about in music theory college classes like Beethoven, but we guitarists should know him and should familiarize ourselves with some of his works...afterall, he was important enough to the great Tarrega to be the one he dedicated Recuerdos de la Alhambra to.
I have to admit I've just discovered Cottin myself and I've only had time for some quick glances at some of his works. But from what I've seen so far, I'm sure his quality level was way above the average. I've especially noticed that he seemed to have this rare ability to write educational music that is both gratifying to play and manageable for a student. Far to much of the student repertoire for classical guitar is marred either by the composer forgetting the musical aspect or misjudging the technical difficulties (or quite often both at the same time). Cottin seems to have always been able to avoid those two traps.
From what I understand, the Cottin family played much the same role in Paris as the Pelzer/Pratten family did in London.

Since you mention Recuerdos de la Alhambra: It is very intersting to note that three of the guiatrists mentioned in this thread, Pratten, Ferrer and Cottin, all are known to have supported the young and aspiring Tarrega but as far as I know, Cottin is the only one of them Tarrega publicly aknowledged.

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:28 am

Frank Nordberg wrote:
kefka wrote:Actually Diabelli caught the attention of two famous composers, Beethoven and Liszt. They both wrote variations on a waltz of his. He maybe more famous than you know?
I still feel his guitar works deserve more attention though, in particular the three sonatas. There aren't many full-fledged sonatas in the early guitar repertoire at all. And the ones matching Diabelli's in quality I think can be counted on one hand.

I think his etudes, op. 39 also deserve more attention. Two or three of them keep turning up in various guitar methods and students' repertoire anthologies but most of them are all but forgotten. As a whole Diabelli's op. 39 is actually a full-fledged guitar method similar to Carulli's and Carcassi's but - just like Giuliani's method - without the explanatory text and theory.

I have to admit I've just discovered Cottin myself and I've only had time for some quick glances at some of his works. But from what I've seen so far, I'm sure his quality level was way above the average. I've especially noticed that he seemed to have this rare ability to write educational music that is both gratifying to play and manageable for a student. Far to much of the student repertoire for classical guitar is marred either by the composer forgetting the musical aspect or misjudging the technical difficulties (or quite often both at the same time). Cottin seems to have always been able to avoid those two traps.
From what I understand, the Cottin family played much the same role in Paris as the Pelzer/Pratten family did in London.
I never knew this. I actually know nothing of Cotton, with the exception of seeing his name above the header of Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

Where can I find information on Alfred Cotton? Where did you learn this?

I feel he is one of those lost composers who deserves to be brought back to life with todays guitarists. I have seen several of his scores in the online library's, and they remind me of David del Castillo's, another composer who wrote charming salon type pieces, yet seems to be unknown.

Thanks for menioning Diabelli's Op.39 etudes. I will check them out.

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:34 am

Didnt mean to get off topic...back to Pratten.

I read in the liner notes from David Starobin's recordings of Regondi's Etudes, not only did Regondi dedicate and present his ten Etudes to Pratten, Regondi use to gig with her, playing duets in concert. I wonder what duets they performed together? Sor? Original arrangements? Original compositions? Interesting...

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