Domenico Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 7 February 1792, just two months after Mozart’s death. It received immediate accolades, particularly from Emperor Leopold II, and the opera was performed a second time that day for a private audience that included the Holy Roman ruler. Il matrimonio segreto enjoyed a successful run that lasted almost a hundred years, with revised versions appearing in the second half of the nineteenth century; in 1933, the work was performed at the Library of Congress. Although the harmonic language is largely diatonic, Cimarosa’s beautiful melodies and exciting rhythms complement Bertati’s direct text. The opera presents the predicament of the secretly married couple without resorting to stock plot conventions such as characters in disguise, conveying the dramatic naturalness and simplicity promoted by Rousseau. The inventive orchestration, which includes clarinets, was another aspect of the opera that was praised by some (while Schumann appreciated the orchestration, Berlioz was unimpressed).
This volume includes eight piano sonatas, preceded by pages featuring a portrait of the composer, a letter of dedication from the composers to the consumers of this item, and incipits of all eight sonatas.
Though the cover of this volume is in French, the title page gives the same information in German. This latter language also receives pride of place in the text underlay: Most songs are solely in German but, when lyrics are given in two languages, German is immediately below the musical staves with either Italian or French in italics below the German. Songs use one to three voices with the voice part sometimes integrated into the top staff of the piano part with text underlay indicating when to sing. Several songs are set for three-part Männerchor or four-part chorus with piano accompaniment. In strophic settings, only the first stanza of poetry appears in the score; the rest are included as addenda at the end of the piece. The volume concludes with a table of contents given the name and first line of each song in all languages used for each entry.
This volume contains fifteen sacred and secular songs for one to four voices with piano accompaniment. Contrary to the title page, the titles of each song are given either in German or German and Italian. When both languages are present in the text underlay, the Italian text sits directly below the staves with German below the Italian. Most songs either give "Singstimme" or a voice part for the vocal staves; some give names of characters, possibly indicating a theatrical or semi-dramatic performance context. Songs for one voice tend to be strophic while part songs are through-composed. Authors such as Gellert, Metastasio, and Shakespeare figure among the authors (most anonymous) of the texts. As with the other binlingual pieces in this volume, the scene "Arianna a Naxos" is set in Italian and German. The interaction of the soprano voice and piano accompaniment as well as the structural alternation between arioso/aria and recitative reveals this piece to be a solo cantata. The volume concludes with a four-page catalog of all of Breitkopf und Härtel's publications in Leipzig complete with price in thalers for each piece and a table of contents. The positioning of the Inhalt at the end of the volume reflects the influence of Italian publishing practices.