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Johann George Tromlitz: Life And Aesthetics

888 words - 4 pages

Accounts written of the late Johann George Tromlitz paint him as an bitter man; he was easily upset when writers “forgot” to mention his influential work on the flute. He writes of these sentiments in the forward of one of his treatises, The Virtuoso Flute-Player. Tromlitz wanted to be known as a flute master; he believed that his ideals were vital to the flute’s development and performance. He wrote several treatises where he speaks of the correct construction and performance of the flute, the core of his ideal. Although disputed, Tromlitz’s long-lasting impact on the flute community is absolutely indispensable: his treatises guide performers to a great extent, his compositions provide standard and very well-written repertoire for the flute, and his flutes themselves mark the improvements that have been essential to the development of the modern flute.
Johann George Tromlitz was born in the year of 1725 in the small municipality of Reinsdorf, a municipality in northern Germany. Tromlitz completed his studies at the University at Leipzig in 1750, and soon after he received his degree, Tromlitz started to build his own new set of flutes that were intended to take the flute world by storm. He assumed the principal flute chair of the Grosses Konzert in 1754 and remained in that position until 1776, when Tromlitz left the orchestra in order to dedicate his complete time and attention in to the creation of his new instruments, the teaching of new students, and the compositions he was writing for the flute repertoire. Clearly, Tromlitz was showing his rapid climb as an influential player in the orchestral community as well as a fundamental member of the flute community at the time and for many years to come.
The implementation of keys to the flute was a fairly modern concept in the late eighteenth century, but was an idea that Johann George Tromlitz brought to the world’s attention. Johann Joachim Quantz, who was born in 1697 and lived until 1773, a predecessor of Tromlitz in the flute community, had early on implemented a key for E-flat and D-sharp, but had developed it to become two separate keys, allowing for perfect intonation, but this idea never widely caught-on. The D-sharp and E-flat key proved to be extremely popular throughout the flute playing community; many images reflect how popular these flutes were. Figure 1 shows the Count Palatine and Duke of Bavaria, Charles Theodore, an avid flute-player, holding a flute with a D-sharp or E-flat key. Tromlitz himself...

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