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Obscure Music Monday: Amalia's Divertimento

Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (Oct. 24, 1739 - April 10, 1807) was a German princess and composer. As a patron of art and literature, she transformed her court in to an influential cultural center in Germany. 

Amalia became the Duchess of Saxe-Wiemar-Eisenach in 1756, when she married Ernst August II Konstantin, and became regent for their infant son Karl August when the Duke died in 1758. During her son's minority she was responsible for the duchy, and strengthened its resources and position until she retired from her duties in 1775, when her son attained his majority.

The Duchess was able to attract several important men to Weimar, including Johann  Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Abel Seyler's theater company, known as the best theater company at the time. She also established the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, and composed music.

Amalia's Divertimento for Piano, Clarinet, Viola, and Cello  was written around 1780, and is in two movements. The tutti opening of the first movement, Adagio, is formal and regal (unsurprising), but then after that each instrument has its turn at the theme and development. While formal, the movement also has a deep sense of warmth about it.

The Allegro movement starts with the piano briefly before the rest of the ensemble joins in, and that motif follows throughout the movement. Cheerful and engaging, this movement has a similarly regal mood of the first, but is wonderfully down-to-earth.

Here's a recording of this delightful work for you to enjoy!

Luigi Magistrelli

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