Fifty Grand Studies of Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner Print E-mail
Written by Tom Moore   

The Fifty Grand Studies, op. 126, by Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner

For a composer who achieved a large measure of success during his lifetime, starting from humble origins, and leaving an impressively large body of work (with almost five hundred numbered works in his self-produced thematic index, held in manuscript in Stuttgart), the life and work of Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner (1791-1856) is exceptionally little-known today, although recent years have seen a few editions and recordings. The thematic index, although apparently unusually informative, still awaits publication. A biography of Lindpaintner was published in the year of his death, as part of a series on contemporary composers (Die Componisten der neueren Zeit). Since then there has been a doctoral dissertation focusing on his operas (Rolf Hänsler, 1928), and a monograph by Reiner Nägele (1993, published by Hans Schneider), the latter without a works list, disappointingly.

Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner (the noble “von” was a personal honor the composer received later in life) was the son of the tenor, Jacob Lindpaintner, who, “officially”, was the son of the farmer, Matthias Limpointner (or Lindpoindner), and his wife, Maria Gittlin (or Gittl), from a village three hours travel from Munich. The real story, passed down in the Lindpaintner family till today, was that Jacob was the illegitimate son of Clemens Wenzeslaus, the Prince-Bishop of Augsburg and Elector of Trier (who was indeed to be the last such, due to the secularization of the diocese, with all of its institutions given to the Elector of Bavaria in 1802). Jacob went to Koblenz with Clemens Wenzeslaus in 1777 (Koblenz was the site of the latter’s residence, at the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein). Jacob was engaged as a tenor there, and also as personal lackey. He married the daughter of the second hornist, Anna Maria Barbara, in 1781. Not surprisingly, their first son was named for Clemens. Peter Joseph, the seventh child to be born to the couple, arrived on Dec. 8, 1791. The upheavals occasioned by the French Revolution meant that Koblenz (located at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel) was flooded with refugees, and after an attempt at a royalist reaction, the city and region were taken by the French army and incorporated into France. The Prince-Bishop then relocated to Augsburg, where Peter Joseph spent most of his childhood, studying both violin and piano, and began to compose at age 12. The first composition to be included in his personal thematic index was a sonata in C for piano and violin, from April 1808.

Clemens Wenzeslaus sent him to study in Munich in 1806 with the noted opera composer Peter von Winter, who had become Kapellmeister there in 1798. After five years of study he returned to Augsburg in 1811, with plans for three years of further study in Italy. However, his patron (grandfather?) died on July 27, 1812, leaving him an inheritance of five hundred gulden annually. Lindpaintner then applied for the position of music director at the new royal theater at the Isartor in Munich, and was appointed.

His works for the stage there seem to have been notably unsuccessful. Finances were mismanaged, expensive singers let go, and Lindpaintner complained that they were replaced by “untrained, good-for-nothing garglers”. On the positive side of the ledger, this seems to have led to a wealth of instrumental works, with various compositions for the noted clarinetist Heinrich Baermann (1784-1847), employed in the court orchestra in Munich beginning in 1807, including a set of variations with orchestra, a quintet, and several concerti; concertinos for violin and orchestra; a concerto and a concertino for bassoon; and a flute concerto for the young Theobald Boehm, a native of Munich who became flutist at the Isartor theater under Lindpaintner (and of course, later, the creator of the flute as we know it today).

It seems like this connection with Boehm might well be responsible for the composition of the 50 Etudes Pour la Flute, op. 126, which, to judge from the opus number would have been composed in the years 1813-1815, that is, shortly after Lindpaintner began his position at the Isartor theater, and at about the same time he would have met Boehm. The publication history of the works is not at all clear; Schafhautl’s Life of Boehm provides a list of Lindpaintner’s works for flute which lists the op. 126 Etudes as being published in 4 books by Wessel (who began operations in 1824), but no copy of this edition apparently survives. The earliest edition surviving is apparently that of Richault, published in 1865, thus almost ten years after the composer’s death. It is the Richault edition (plate no. 13771, nr. 1 & 2) that was still being published in the mid-twentieth century by Costallat in Paris.

Lindpaintner’s Etudes are unusual in several ways. Firstly, they are the work of a composer who, as far as we know, was not a flutist himself. This might be unique in the flute literature. Next, for this period, 50 is a substantial number for a collection of etudes for the flute (compare, for example, the set of twelve by Jensen, from a decade or two later.) And then, for those accustomed to thinking of etudes as technical exercises where a particularly difficulty or melodic pattern is taken through all possible permutations (and hence both tedious and numbingly unmusical), these are more in the nature of recital pieces for the enjoyment of both performer and listener, similar to the 24 Divertissements, op. 45, of Georg Abraham Schneider, published in two volumes in Leipzig by Kühnel at approximately the same time – short, free-standing pieces, not intended as multi-movement sonatas, not structured by key, and not arranged in increasing level of difficulty. Indeed, the Richault edition describes the Lindpaintner works as “progressive”, but the title of the Wessel edition (Grand Studies) does not, and in comparison with later, progressive sets (e.g. the 72 etudes for the Boehm flute by Drouet, from 40 years later) they are not, except for the fact that the two largest works in the set are placed at the end (two sets of 12 variations each on Andantino themes in D and G major, respectively.)

Among the “characteristic” movements included by Lindpaintner are a Bohemienne (since this is a dance in duple meter (2/4), in two-bar phrases, perhaps this is another name for the dance that would become known as the polka, which is of Bohemian origin, and appeared at precisely this time), a Barcarole Genoise (usually the form is associated with gondolas in Venice, not Genoa), a Fandango (marked moderato, in contrast to the normally quick tempo), a Tarantelle, marked molto vivace, but in duple meter (2/4), not compound duple (6/8) as would be more usual.

The keys chosen for the etudes are those most comfortable for the early keyed-flute, with a maximum of five sharps (found twice, with movements in B major and G# minor), six flats (for a movement in E-flat minor, not surprisingly marked lugubre) once, and four flats, once. The range employed descends to the notes of the C foot (C, C#), but infrequently, and similarly does not make extensive use of the top of the instrument.

All in all, this little-known set (apparently out of print at this writing – the selection published by Billaudot is, I am assured by the trade, 20 of the etudes in the edition with a second flute part added by Altes) is worth studying, getting to know, and indeed sharing some of its number on a recital program.

Below is a table of contents for the set:

1. Cantabile G MajorC

2. SicilienneAndantinoG minor6/8

3. AdagioD Major¾

4. AllemandeB-flat Major¾

5. PastoraleAndanteG Major12/8

6. AllegrettoB Major6/4

7. Andante cantabileE majorC

8. Allegretto moderatoA minor¾

9. CantabileC MajorC

10. GavotteG majorcut C

11. RondoVivoC Major6/8

12. Molto AgitatoA minor¾

13Allegro risolutoG MajorC

14. Moderato maestosoD MajorC

15. AllegrettoD minor2/4

16. Theme et VariationAndantinoG Maj.Cut C

17. BohemienneAllegrettoA minor2/4

18. Andante cantabileF majorC

19. Barcarole GenoiseAndante AddoleratoD minor9/8

20. ModeratoB-flat major3/4

21.Andante con motoG majorC

22.Marche FunebreAdagioC minorC

23.FandangoC# minor3/4

24.VariationAnd.te CantabileA major ¾ (Theme and 3 variations)

25.ScherzoAllo. non troppo D minor 2/4

26.TarantelleMolto vivaceE major2/4

27.ModeratoE minor3/4

28.ValseG major3/4

29. Allegro scherzandoF# minor2/4

30. Andante lugubre quasi adagioE-flat minorC

31.BoleroG minor3/4

32.MenuettoD major3/4

33.Allegretto maestosoB minorC

34.Andante flebileF# minor6/8

35.PastoraleAllegrettoA major6/8

36.Agitato assaiF# minorC

37.Marcia maestosoE-flat majorC

38.Allegro brillanteC majorC

39.Prelude –Allegro – Ranz de Vaches – Pastorale – AndanteG Major C/12/8

40.Scherzo – Allegro non troppoB-flat major3/8

41.MenuettoC major3/4 GraziosoA-flat majorcut C

43.Romance EspagnoleG minor6/8

44.ModeratoG# minor3/4

45.Allegro brillanteE-flat majorC

46.RondoAllegrettoC# minor2/4

47.Allegro Giusto – Modulations par PassagesC majorC

48.Cantabile - Modulations par chantsC majorC

49. Thema con variazioniAndantinoD majorC (12 variations plus coda)

50.Thema con variazioniAndantinoG major¾ (12 variations plus coda)

Tom MooreTom Moore is a journalist, musician, and translator living in Rio de Janeiro. He has recorded Telemann for Lyrichord (USA) and Boismortier for A Casa Discos (Brazil). He writes about music for BrazilMax, Musica Brasileira, 21st Century Music, Opera Today, Flute Talk, Sonograma, Early Music America, and other venues.