The renaissance of Marianna Martines

They say that brilliant minds touch the lives of all that surround them. This was especially true for Vienna-born composer Marianna Martines (sometimes referred to as Marianne von Martinez). Marianna was born in 1744 into a family of career soldiers. Her father Nicolo, who had grown up in Naples, served in Vienna as major-domo to the papal nuncio (the Pope’s embassy to the Austrian Empire). 

Marianna’s brothers both led distinguished military careers and, for their service to the Empire, their entire family was awarded a patent of nobility in 1774 (back then, you couldn’t have “von” in your  family name without this handy slip of paper). But Marianna (with her musical gifts both as a performer and composer) was the rising star of the family, and with the help of a family friend she would one day become a sensation throughout all of Europe.

During Marianna’s childhood, The Martines family lived in a large building on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna. Described by historians as “a stately building still standing in the Kohlmarkt”, the complex was arranged by the social class of its occupants: upper class members of society held soirees in palatial rooms on the bottom floors, while the lower classes lived in the cramped interiors of the building’s uppermost reaches. As an upper-middle class family, the Martines clan were privileged enough to live on the third floor. 

The neighbors of Marianna Martines included the dowager princess of the wealthy Esterházy family (1st Floor), the well-known Italian singing teacher and composer Nicola Porpora (who lived a few floors above Marianna), and Joseph Haydn (then a struggling composer and freelance musician who lived in the building’s attic). The figure who helped unite all these neighbors into a network of musical support for Marianna’s development was her father’s childhood friend Pietro Trapassi. Writing under the famous pen name “Metastasio”, Pietro lived with the Martines family for the rest of his life after being appointed Poet Laureate to the Austrian Empire in 1730. 

As the tutor responsible for Marianna’s practical and musical education in childhood, Pietro ensured that the education Marianna received was of a quality far superior to that of the “standard” provided to women of her social class at that time. Through her rigorous study of languages with Pietro, for example, Marianna became an incredibly well-versed quadrilingual of French, English, Italian, and German. Pietro arranged for Marianna to take keyboard lessons from Haydn (that brilliant young man from the attic) and encouraged her to take singing lessons at the age of ten. 

So it was that Marianna continued her musical training under Nicola Porpora, with Haydn serving as both her accompanist and assistant to her new teacher. Demonstrating potential as a gifted composer, Marianna was encouraged by her tutor Pietro to take lessons in composition from Johann Adolph Hasse and the Imperial court composer Giuseppe Bonno. She brought Haydn with her to meet both Hasse and Bonno, and the attic musician’s career flourished as a result.

Martines was a virtuosic player, even as a child, and regularly performed before the Imperial court. Her biographer Helene Wessely depicts the young Martines as having “attracted attention with her beautiful voice and [superb] keyboard playing”. Wessely also asserts that her compositions, particularly for voice, possess a “predilection for coloratura passages, leaps over wide intervals and trills indicat[ing] that she herself must have been an excellent singer.” As a rock star on the harpsichord, she developed such a reputation into adulthood that she was frequently requested to perform before the Empress Maria Theresa.

Despite being one of the most eligible bachelorettes in the Classical Viennese music scene, Marianna Martines never married. She never sought an appointed position at court either. There were barriers to women (as well as individuals of her social class) when it came to pursuing compositional employment that her friend Haydn simply did not have to contend with. Together with her sister (who also remained a lifelong bachelorette) she cared for her mentor Pietro until his death in 1782. That very year, Marianna’s Italian oratorio “Isacco figura del redentore” was premiered in a renowned concert series put on by the Tonkünstler-Societät. The librettist for this oratorio is credited to Pietro’s pen name of Metastasio.

The poet left his estate to the Martines family, and to his student Marianna he bequeathed 20,000 florins, his harpsichord, and his entire music library. Marianna used this money to fill the Martines home with her former tutor’s favorite music, hosting musical soirees with her sister that attracted distinguished guests (such as the Irish tenor Michael Kelly and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself!). The latter was a frequent guest to these musical get-togethers and composed four-hand piano sonatas to perform with Marianne. Never too proud to forget his roots, Haydn would often pop in for a bit of harpsichord-tickling and merriment-making.

As a composer, Martines penned four masses, six motets, and three litanies for choir. She composed several works for solo voice and wrote several secular cantatas (as well as two oratorios) to Italian texts. In the definitive fashion of the early Classical period, particularly in Vienna, she composed in the Italian style. Her harpsichord playing was compared stylistically to that of C.P.E. Bach, and her compositions were so well-regarded that some scholars suggest Mozart modeled his 1768 Mass after the “Christe” of her Mass No. 1 in D major. 

As she rightly deserved, Martines’ name and music were lauded throughout Europe, but after her death in 1812 her musical legacy faced an incredible amount of erasure. It is only in recent years that her music has, rightly, been unearthed to the delight of the musical world. It is primarily thanks to the efforts made by publishers such as “Furore-Verlag” (a German publisher that specializes in works by female composers) that we can enjoy so many of her compositions today. 

Conductor Shah Sadikov

Shah Sadikov is new to Saskatoon, and because of the pandemic He saw his travel schedule come to a halt and its a treat to have him joining us for his first time with the SSO!

An adamant believer in the power of music to unite, inspire, and elevate, Shah (Shokhrukh) Sadikov is one of the most driven young conductors of his generation. From concert halls to classrooms, community centres and libraries, Sadikov leads an engaged career as a conductor, violist, and music educator. His work with numerous organizations, hundreds of people, and advocacy of access to the arts-for-all stands as a testimony to his belief.

In 2015, Mr. Sadikov co-founded and became the CEO and Music Director of a non-for-profit arts organization, NAVO Inc. (, whose mission is to create unique programs that challenge, entertain, and enrich the lives of underserved communities in the Midwest. In its only few years of existence, NAVO has already reached audiences in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois. During the 2018-19 season he also led the Overland Park Orchestra as the Music Director.

During his tenure as Music Director of the Hays Symphony Orchestra (2015-2019), the orchestra has reached its first pedestal of success in every direction: innovative programming that appeals to a wide range of audience (including two festivals: Cottonwood Chamber Music in the Spring and New Music in the Fall), high quality concerts with a strong regular following, the first HSO brand, website, and the Hays Youth Orchestra. The Children’s Halloween concert became one of the most successful family events of the city. Mr. Sadikov also worked as an assistant professor of upper strings and orchestra director at Fort Hays State University.

Sadikov appeared as a conductor, soloist, and principal violist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Radio Chamber Orchestra of Uzbekistan. He also conducted ensembles such as the Tokyo Philharmonic, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Aspen Chamber Symphony, Berlin Sinfonietta, Kazakh State Philharmonic, Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Kansas Wesleyan Chamber Orchestra, Medomak Symphony Orchestra, Taldykorgan Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra “Turkiston” and newEar Contemporary Ensemble among others.

As violist, Mr. Sadikov performed in festivals that include Aspen, Sarasota, Halcyon, Killington, Cottonwood, Lincoln Crossroads and Vladimir Spivakov’s “Moscow Meets Friends”. He produced two recordings with he rapper Tech 9 under the Strange Music label, and released two CD’s of viola works by Brahms, Schumann, Clarke, and Ingrid Stölzel. He recently performed recitals in Germany, Uzbekistan, and the United States, and played his Carnegie Hall debut in 2014.

As a founding member of Wakarusa Trio, Mr. Sadikov is a first prize winner of the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, American Protégé International Competition and MTNA Competition, as well as a Bronze medalist at the Chamber Music Foundation Competition of New England. As a soloist and conductor, he is a laureate of several international competitions such as the 2005 Young Artist Competition of the Republic (Uzbekistan), the 2006 International Competition in Almaty (Kazakhstan) as well as the Tolebaev Conducting Competition (Kazakhstan) in 2019.

Upcoming engagements include an invitation to conduct the Shenyang Symphony in China, Taldikorgan Philharmonic Orchestra and Kostanay Philharmonic Orchestras in Kazakhstan, National Symphony Orchestra and Turkiston Chamber Orchestras in Uzbekistan, as well as an opera debut at the State Academic Bolshoi Theater in Uzbekistan, conducing Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor. Mr. Sadikov currently performs on superb contemporary instruments, both, viola and violin made by Douglas Marples.

Cellist Oleksander Mycyk

The pandemic brings a few bright shining moments of silver lining – and the SSO jumped on the opportunity to seize this silver lining. Cellist Oleksa Mycyk came home to Saskatoon to be with family when the pandemic started, and now he’s making his SSO solo debut!

Oleksander enjoys a multi-faceted career as a solo,  chamber, and orchestral performer and teacher. He is completing a Doctor of Musical  Arts degree at Northwestern University and is a Teaching Assistant to Professor Hans Jørgen Jensen.

He recently completed the Certificate in Performance Program at  Northwestern while a full-time member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and currently  performs as a substitute cellist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the  Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. Oleksander began his cello studies in Saskatoon  with Lahni Russell and performed with the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and Saskatoon  Symphony Orchestra.

He completed a Bachelor of Music Performance degree at the  University of Toronto, and a Masters in Solo Performance at McGill University  studying with Matt Haimovitz. He has also performed in masterclasses around the  world for cellists such as Janos Starker, Lynn Harrell, Laurence Lesser and Aldo  Parisot.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Felix Galimir  Award for Excellence in Chamber Music, and the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Award.  A multiple laureate of solo and duo competitions, Oleksander has been a National  Finalist in the Canadian Music Festival and a top prizewinner in the Canadian Music  Competition. Recent performance highlights include the world premiere of Elizabeth  Ogonek’s chamber work Water Cantos, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen during the Chicago  Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW concert series as well as being featured as soloist  with the Canadian Chamber Choir on their US tour.

International appearances have  included performances with the Grammy nominated Uccello ensemble at the  International Cello Congress in Israel. Oleksander teaches applied cello at  Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL.

See Oleksa as part of our Visit to Vienna concert performance!

Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C

Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major is believed by music historians to have been composed between 1761 and 1765. Dedicated to the composer’s good friend Joseph Franz Weigl, who served as the principal cellist of Prince Nicolaus’s Esterházy Orchestra during this time, the work was lost for nearly 200 years before a copy of its score resurfaced at the Prague National Museum in 1961.

Joseph Haydn

Musicologist Oldřich Pulkert was responsible for finding the score amidst other manuscripts he was charged with organizing at the time. One year after its re-emergence, the concerto received its 20th century premiere by Miloš Sádlo and the Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras) on 19 May 1962.

Though the original manuscript of the completed concerto is presumed to have been destroyed by time, an early draft of the beginning of the first movement’s principal theme survives in Haydn’s draft catalogue of 1765. This indicates that Haydn was starting to compose his first cello concerto around the same time as his Symphonies 6,7, and 8. It would be an additional 20 years before he would write another concerto for cello, but this first foray clearly demonstrates Haydn’s mastery of instrumental writing…particularly for the string section.

With idiomatic writing that flourishes throughout, this concerto bridges the gap between the oft-used ritornello form of the baroque concerto and the sonata-allegro form which was being developed by visionary composers like Haydn throughout his lifetime. With a small accompanying ensemble (a nod to the baroque concerto grosso), Haydn places his full trust in the cello line to summon passion and vibrancy to support the efforts of the other players.

Unlike his second cello concerto, where rondo form is used in the second and third movements, all three movements of the first concerto are written in sonata form. Its structural patterning (a first movement defined by etched rhythms leading into a series of flowing second themes, a peaceful slow movement, and a brisk finale) make for a remarkable resemblance to his Violin Concerto no. 3 in A major. In fact, both pieces were composed for orchestra during the same period of the composer’s life.

The authenticity of the concerto’s authorship has been raised by several musical authorities, but many experts believe that there is enough evidence to support this being a genuine product of Haydn’s creative genius. In the slow movement of this concerto, for example, the cello enters dramatically on a long note, played while the orchestral strings relaunch the theme heard during the opening of the piece. The cello goes on to imitate this melody two measures later, a musical gesture that was characteristic of Haydn’s compositional style.

Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major has been recorded by many famous artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jacqueline du Pré, Truls Mørk, and Julian Lloyd Webber. The virtuosity and passion it demands from its ensemble and soloist alike is supreme, and the SSO and Oleksa Mycyk’s take on this long-lost classic is sure to bring you to your feet.

Hear this work as part of our concert A Visit to Vienna!