The highly-gifted violinist and dancing master Pantaleon Hebenstreit (1667-1750) came upon the idea of devoting himself to the dulcimer and to try to see if he could perfect it and produce on it that which he was capable of on the clavier. He considerably enlarged the range of the rustic type of instrument and turned the diatonic instrument into a chromatic one. He achieved such skill on his perfected dulcimer that he progressed in a breathtaking career to being one of the most popular virtuosos of his time. In 1705 he performed at Versailles in front of Louis XIV (who supposedly named the instrument after its inventor). In 1708 he played for the Emperor in Vienna and was finally appointed as pantaleonist to membership of the Hofkapelle of Dresden, the most famous European orchestra at the time, in 1714. Hebenstreit had several pupils who achieved great fame. One of these was Maximillian Hellmann, for whom Caldara had composed in Vienna.
It is highly likely that the popularity of the pantaleon prepared the ground for the later triumphant progress of the pianoforte (Hammerklavier): Around 1730 several central-German clavier-makers experimented with the mechanism of hammers hitting from above. Different string materials and the choice of hammers, which could be covered with different materials, lent the pantaleon an overwhelming richness of tone-colours and the possibility of great dynamic differentiation. The considerable range, the possibility of using two-voice strokes and arpeggios to describe the harmony, and the richness of sounds and colours raised the pantaleon to the rank of an instrument, »which from a miserable dulcimer has become the most complete of instruments, even more perfect than the claveci« (Stählin 1770), »in as much as it is the true forte piano, because our modern fortepiano is completely overshadowed by it.« (Kachel 1792) As reasons for the disappearance of the instrument in the second half of the 18th century, unresolved constructional problems, the unwieldy size of the instrument, the difficulties of tuning it and the high cost of maintaining the many strings (above all the gut strings), but also the tremendous difficulties of mastering the instrument are cited. Unfortunately no pantaleon exists to assist our attempt to get on the trail of the legendary instrument: the current state of research offers too few reference points for a reconstruction. Not a single original has survived, there are no construction designs or technically concrete descriptions whatsoever and similarly no definite illustrations of the instrument. The modern chromatic tenor dulcimer from Salzburg seems to us for the moment therefore to offer the best possibility of nearing the sound of the pantaleon - at least in its form with metal strings.
Jürgen Banholzer and Margit Übellacker
JÜRGEN BANHOLZER won a scholarship from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes to study at the conservatory of Stuttgart (church music). He then studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon (organ), at the Schola Cantorum in Basle (voice) and at the University of Mainz (musicology). Important stimuli to his singing career came from Michiko Takanashi, Richard Wistreich, Michael Chance and Ashley Stafford. Jürgen Banholzer has worked with notable Early Music ensembles (Freiburger Barockorchester, Balthasar-Neumann-Chor, La Fenice, Clemencic Consort, Il Seminario Musicale, Musica Fiata, L'Arpeggiata etc.) and has performed in festivals in many European countries; he has taken part in various radio and CD recordings.
MARGIT ÜBELLACKER studied the dulcimer at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz with Karl-Heinz Schickhaus and with Birgit Stolzenburg-De Biaso at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich, before going on to study with Crawford Young at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. As an interpreter of Early and Contemporary Music she has performed in Austria, Germany, France, England, the Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland. She has played in many concerts and taken part in radio and CD recordings with groups such as L'Orfeo Barockorchester, Concilium Musicum Wien, the Esterhazy Barockensemble, L'Arpeggiata, Musica Fiorita, the Orchestre de Radio France, A Musical Banquet Freiburg, as well as with Crawford Young and with her own ensemble Dulce Melos.
EMILIA GLIOZZI studied the cello at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Turin and at the Conservatory of Boulogne-Billancourt. Following lessons on the baroque cello with Anner Bijlsma and David Simpson, she obtained the Diplôme de Formation Supérieure as a student of Christophe Coin at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. She has worked regularly for many years with some of the most important Early Music ensembles, including La Fenice, Les Talens Lyriques, Le Concert Spirituel, La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, Le Parlement de Musique, Concerto Soave, L'Arpeggiata and the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble. She has been invited to perform at many festivals in Europe, Asia and North America and has taken part in numerous recordings.
LA GIOIA ARMONICA
Jürgen Banholzer, Alto and Direction
Margit Übellacker, Dulcimer
Emilia Gliozzi, Violoncello
Michael Freimuth, Theorbo
Reinhild Waldek, Harp
Armin Bereuter, Violone
Arno Schneider, Organ