Thursday, August 23, 2012

Backofen & Mozart: Theme & Variations

Jane Booth is a specialist in the early clarinet and chalumeau and is Head of Historical Performance at the Guildhall School of Music. She has pursued a busy international career, playing all over the world with ensembles such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Tafelmusik and La Petite Band.


Johann Georg Heinrich Backofen (1768-1839) emerged as an influential performer, composer, theorist and instrument maker around the turn of the nineteenth century. Originally from Durlach, he moved to Nuremberg in 1780 to study music, in particular clarinet with H. Birckman and composition with Kapellmeister G.W. Gruber. He subsequently toured Europe (1789 to 1794) as a virtuoso clarinettist, spending time in Spain, France and Italy before moving to Darmstadt to take up positions at court. Later he became a chamber musician. Backofen also played the bassethorn, flute and harp, and his writings include rewarding and informative tutors for the harp (first edition 1801), clarinet and basset horn (first edition 1803). He founded a wind instrument workshop in Darmstadt in 1815. 

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