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Charles Burney’s Travel Journals, Second Journey, Episode 8: Burney in Berlin (2).


Music historian, composer, and musician Charles Burney (1726-1814) had the ambition to describe the history of music. To do so, he undertook two major journeys. His first journey in 1770 through France and Italy resulted in his book “Present State of Music in France and Italy.” Two years later, in 1772, Burney traveled through the Low Countries, Germany, and Austria and wrote “Present State of Music in Germany, The Netherlands and the United Provinces.”

In September 1772, Charles Burney is in Berlin, where he meets singer Mselle Schmeling, who sings arias by Thomasso Traetta for him. He also visits the composer and violinist Frans Benda. Burney also visits the King of Prussia, Frederick II, at his palace Sanssouci near Potsdam, where he hears him play flute concerts, perhaps composed by the king himself. Charles Burney also meets the famous flutist Quantz.

Thomasso Traetta (1727-1779)
From Antigona:
1. Aria: Ah, se lo vedere piangere
2. Aria: Ah, di si nobil Alma
From Ifigenia in Tauride:
3. Dormi, Oreste
Bejun Mehta, countertenor. Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and RIAS Kammerchor conducted by René Jacobs
(CD Che Puro Ciel – the Rise of Classical Opera. Harmonia Mundi HMC 902172)

Franz Benda (1709-1786)
4. Sonata in G major
– Andante
– Largo
– Allegro
Ivan Zenaty, violin. Petr Hejny, cello. Jaroslav Tuma, harpsichord
(CD Frantisek Benda – Violin Sonatas. Arta Classics F1 00222-2111)

Frederick the Great (1712-1786)
5. Concerto in C major for flute, strings, and basso continuo
– Allegro
– Grave
– Allegro assai
Konrad Hünteler, flute. Capella Coloniensis conducted by Ulf Björling
(2CD Schlosskonzert in Sanssouci. Cappriccio 51168)

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
6. Trio Sonata in A minor for two oboes and organ QV 2;41a
– Andante moderato
– Allegro
– Affetuoso
– Vivace
Han de Vries and Piet D’Hondt, oboe. Albert de Klerk, organ
(CD Han de Vries, The Almost Last Recordings. Attaca 2016148)

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