Jakob Greber (?-1731)

Jakob (Giacomo) Greber’s first recorded appearance in London is in 1703, when he provided incidental music for a play at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields theatre. His opera Gli amore d’Ergastowas the first to be produced at the Haymarket, and so inaugurated the performance of Italian opera in London. In this period his association with the singer Francesca Margarita de l’Epine was the cause of some comment. Prior to coming to London he is said by contemporary sources to have studied in Italy, but nothing is known of this period of his life. However, the fact that he was referred to in 1703 as ‘Signior Jacomo Greber’ perhaps indicates his status as an Italian composer.

On his return to Germany he served the Duke Karl Philipp first in Innsbruck and later, after Karl Philipp became Elector Palatine, in Neuberg, Heidelberg and Mannheim, where he became joint kapellmeister with Johann Hugo von Wilderer. Greber has left a modest body of compositions including several stage and celebratory works, and a small number of cantatas.

Gre 1

Fuori di sua capanna
Sinfonia a Flauto solo

cantata for alto (a'-e''), recorder and bc
sinfonia for recorder and bc

Price: £ 6.90

The cantata, Fuori di sua capanna is a simple pastoral scene of the unrequited love of the shepherd Fileno for the Nymph Lycorias. It has the structure Recit.-Aria-Recit.-Aria typical of an Italian cantata of the beginning of the 18th century.

The Sinfonia for recorder is in five sections with various time signatures. The work opens with an introduction in common time, followed by a fast movement in duple time. The final two sections in triple time and 6/8 respectively are dance like in character, with repeated sections A-A-B-B. These are preceded by an Aria movement in 3/2 time. This delightful work deserves to be better known.

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Gre 2

Tu parti idolo mio


Edited by Michael Hofmeister

for alto (b-d''), recorder, two violins and bc

Price: £ 8.40

We have little information about the origins of the cantata Tu parti idolo mio. The source of the manuscript tells us that Greber already was Kapellmeister of Karl Philipp – see below. Krüger suggests, relying on the watermarks, that the cantata was composed during the Neuburg period around 1717. The flute part of Tu parti idolo mio definitely was written for a particular flute virtuoso. It might, for instance, have been composed for one of his colleagues - the later Mannheim list of 1723 shows nine oboe- (and flute!) players in the Elector’s orchestra.. It is certain, though, that the flute part is remarkably virtuosic. Strangely, however, the text does not seem to be quite compatible with the music. The theme of the abandoned woman (donna abbandonata) usually finds its expression either in a Lamento or a Furioso. The text also gives no hint of pastoral or arcadian scenery and no bird-metaphors justify the fluttering figures of the flute, which on the other hand make this cantata a very appealing and unique piece. Tu parti idolo mio has the most typical structure of an Italian cantata of the early 18th century: Recitativo - Aria - Recitativo - Aria.

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Sample page: download
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