Hertel, Johann Wilhelm: Oboe Concerto in G Minor, ed. Justin Bland

Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727–1789)

Oboe Concerto in G Minor

for oboe [or trumpet], strings, and continuo

Full Score, Instrumental Parts, and Keyboard Reduction

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The German violinist, keyboard player, and composer Johann Wilhelm Hertel was born on 9 October 1727 in Eisenach. His early musical instruction was from Johann Heinrich Heil (1706–1764), a student of Johann Sebastian Bach. By the age of twelve, he accompanied his father Johann Christian Hertel (1697–1754), a gambist, violinist, and composer, on harpsichord during concert tours. Johann Wilhelm studied violin with Carl Höckh (1707–1773), the Konzertmeister in Zerbst, from 1742 to 1743, and entered service as both a violinist and harpsichordist in the Strelitz Hofkapelle in 1744. In 1754, he became the Hofkompositeur in Schwerin, and worked periodically as an organist and church music director in Stralsund between 1759 and 1760. Duke Christian Ludwig of Mecklenburg, Hertel’s employer, transferred Schwerin’s Hofkapelle to Ludwigslust in 1767, but relieved Hertel of his post so that he could remain in Schwerin, where he died on 14 June 1789. 

Hertel’s expansive output is comprised of both vocal and instrumental works. Unsurprisingly, he composed extensively for both keyboard and violin, with his oeuvre including fifteen keyboard concertos and nine violin concertos. Other concertos include three for flute, three for bassoon, two for cello, one for trumpet and oboe, three for trumpet, written for Johann Georg Hoese (1727–1801), first trumpeter of Schwerin’s Hofkapelle, one for trumpet, 2 oboes, and 2 bassoons (also edited by Justin Bland and forthcoming from Septenary Editions), and ten for oboe, possibly written for Johann Friedrich Braun (1759–1824).

The survival of multiple autographs of this concerto for different solo instruments demonstrates Hertel’s willingness to have his works performed by different forces. This was, in fact, the case with many composers as evidenced by their own extant reworkings of different pieces. In this spirit, the editor has provided an alternative solo part for trumpet in Eb so that trumpeters wishing to perform this piece can easily do so. It probably goes without saying that the natural trumpet of Hertel’s time would be incapable of playing this piece due to the abundance of notes lying outside of the harmonic series; this trumpet part is therefore provided with the assumption that it will be played on a modern valved trumpet.

The present oboe concerto also exists in a version for solo violin (edited by Justin Bland and published by Septenary Editions, catalogue number SE1-020). 

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