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Cannabich: “Ceyx et Alcyone” & “Angélique et Médor, ou Roland furieux:” deux ballets héroïques de Mannheim

Cannabich: “Ceyx et Alcyone” & “Angélique et Médor, ou Roland furieux:” deux ballets héroïques de Mannheim

Vanaf 10,00 EUR



24 Okt 2024 20:00 - 21:30
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Celebrating Carl Theodor’s Legacy in the Golden Age of Mannheim

As a continuation of their ongoing exploration of the nearly forgotten and often underrated Mannheim School of composers, Anders Muskens, Rachael Beesley, and Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester aim to tell musical stories from the mid-18th century in this program, in the form of the Ballet en action and the programmatic symphony, or program music. This concert also celebrates the 300th jubilee of the Prince-Elector Carl Theodor (1724-1799), who cultivated a rich musical golden age in Mannheim during the 18th century.

Concert Program

Christian Cannabich (1731-1798)
Ceyx et Alcyone (Mannheim, 1762-63), ballet héroique

Christian Cannabich (1731-1798):
Angélique et Médor, ou Roland furieux (Mannheim, 1768), ballet héroïque

Directed by Anders Muskens (harpsichord), Rachael Beesley (concertmaster)
João Luís Veloso Paixão (declamation)
featuring a full complement of period strings, winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon), brass, and percussion

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts


This concert program features programmatic ballet music by Christian Cannabich. Although we present the story with music only and no choreographed dance, the performance will be driven by a declamation of each ballet’s story in French from the original published synopses.

Christian Cannabich (1731–1798) was a primary driving force behind the ascent of the Mannheim Court Orchestra to unparalleled heights during its golden age in the mid 18th century. Cannabich was born in Mannheim into a musical family, and studied violin with Johann Stamitz. At the tender age of 12, he first entered the orchestra as a ripieno violinist. Recognising his talent, Carl Theodor granted the young virtuoso a scholarship to study in Italy, where he studied with the leading composer, Niccolò Jommelli. Armed with this newfound wisdom, he returned to Mannheim in 1757, assuming the mantle of orchestra director after the death of his former teacher, Johann Stamitz. In 1764, Cannabich accompanied Duke Christian IV to Paris to help promote the compositions of the Mannheim School composers. Mozart notably described Cannabich in July 1778 as “the best director that I have ever seen, has the love and awe of those under him.” He was long revered as one of the finest directors of an orchestra, and his students like Wilhelm Cramer went on to lead prestigious orchestras in London and abroad.

Cannabich's ballet music resonates with the echoes of dramatic, mythological tales, waiting to be resurrected for contemporary audiences. Our mission is to awaken these narratives, infusing them with a renewed sense of beauty, clarity, and empathy, captivating listeners with the timeless allure of their stories.To achieve this, we harness the power of musical rhetoric, delving deep into the heart of each narrative to paint vivid sonic landscapes that breathe life into the ancient tales. Through our sound, we strive to illuminate the essence of the stories, ensuring that every note pulsates with the raw emotion and power of the original compositions.

Why is it important to revive this music? The second half of the eighteenth century saw sweeping aesthetic reforms that coincided with the rise of sentimentalism in aesthetics and empiricism in natural philosophy. In the world of stage dance, or ballet, this was spearheaded by Jean-Georges Noverre (1728–1810) in his ballet en action, who sought to reform the old rigid representative baroque models and introduce elements of naturalism in the expression of passions, dramatic narrative, and the picturesque into his choreographies. He distinguished himself in Lyon and Stuttgart during the 1760’s, and had a wide influence on ballet in major cultural centers throughout Europe. In the nearby court of Mannheim, under the rule of Elector Carl Theodor, ballet reform reminiscent of Noverr'e’s would be taken up first by François André Bouqueton, and later, Étienne Lauchery (1732–1820), a close colleague of Noverre. Mannheim’s court orchestra at this time was at the forefront of innovation, and the dramatic and energetic emergent Sturm und Drang style of the Mannheim school of composers was perfect for the newly reformed ballet. Lauchery collaborated closely with Christian Cannabich and Giuseppe Toeschi to produce a multitude of dramatic, narrative focused ballets in Mannheim.


Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester (DNMO) was established in late 2016 in The Hague by Canadian harpsichordist and fortepianist Anders Muskens with the aim of recapturing the spirit of music from the golden age of the original 18th century Mannheim Court Orchestra, including late Baroque, galant, Classical, and early Romantic – especially from composers of the Mannheim School. As an early music ensemble, DNMO plays on period instruments using historically informed techniques. It is made up of young professional early music specialists, and is a highly international group featuring talents from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Japan, Korea, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and the United States. 


Stichting Westvest 90, Westvest 90, 3111 BZ Schiedam


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