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Sonate 'dans le style pathetique' (Op.14)
JB Krumpholtz
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Cover image Work: Single work for solo harp
Catalogue No: Adlais 101
ISMN: 979-0-57032-036-3
Edition: 2005, A4 stapled
Suitable for: Grade 8 Pedal Harp
Price:: £10.50  Go to shop
Examination: LCM ALCM (2011-2015)

Born in Prague on 5 August 1747, Jan Křitel Krumpholtz is better known by the French form of his name. Harpist, composer and inventor, he was a major influence in the development of the harp.

Having studied the harp with Christian Hochbrucker in Paris, composition with Haydn at Esterházy and instrument making in Metz with Simon Gilbert, Krumpholtz settled in Paris. There, he became an extremely successful teacher, and worked with both Naderman and Erard on the developments of the technical aspects of the instrument, which at that time was limited to playing in eight major keys, and five minor ones. As a composer, he circumvented these inherent limitations by his imaginative use of enharmonics, his use of this technique being especially notable in the dark Eb minor opening of this sonata.

The traumatic last years of his life coincided with the turmoil of revolutionary Paris, and on the night of 19 February 1790, in a final gesture of despair, Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz threw himself from the Pont-Neuf into the Seine. The highly dramatic and emotionally charged nature of this sonata, subtitled Scène dans le style pathétique, rather than being in the expected Classical style, anticipates the sensibility and excess of the Romantic period.

Published for the first time since Naderman’s original edition of 1787, it has been prepared for Adlais by Angharad Evans.

©Ann Griffiths 2002

See also extensive article about Krumpholtz written by Ann Griffiths


Front cover of the score

Sample of the music