Focus for August 2014

Johan Helmich Roman



J H Roman, the ‘Swedish Handel’, is still more talked about than played, it seems. His manuscripts are freely available on the website of the Music Library of Sweden

but there is a huge range of works, sketches, incomplete works, other men’s music and arrangements of other men’s music which, to the uninitiated is quite bewildering!

So far, I have produced 7 publications (see our Roman page) mostly for solo violin, but I have also a wonderful collection of arrangements from Handel’s choral works for solo violin on the way (CM112) and also two arrangements of works of the more obscure Domenico Natale Sarro, an older contemporary of Roman’s. (CM116).

There is also a fascinating decorated version of Corelli’s Sonata in F, op 5, no. 10 (which has three different versions of the first Adagio and several other passages with alternatives) which also should appear shortly. (CM117) It seems that Roman studied with Geminiani and had contact with Dubourg when he studied in England 1715-1721, and their performances of Corelli sonatas ‘grac’d’ may well have inspired him to write his own. There is some suggestion that some of Roman’s are rough copies of Dubourg’s versions, which I feel is unlikely. I’ve found an interesting study of the Corelli graces here.

Also, a fine fugue for strings whose authorship may be in doubt - but not the quality of the piece!! CM119

And, his only cello piece, Largo, is available CM118.

Violinists should explore the many ‘Assagi’ available free in a very decent edition on IMSLP - click here. There is a real wealth of musical delights and violinistic challenges in their numerous pages. There is also an edition of other solo pieces by Jaap Schröder.

Click here to return to our J H Roman page