《Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in A Major, Op. 1, No. 1》

Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762)

Omobono Stradivari, Vi (1740); Matteo Goffriller, Vc (1700)

Francesco Geminiani (1687–1762) was born in the city of Lucca in northern Italy. His life story is a colorful one. After studying the violin in Rome under Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713) , a chance meeting with Alessandro Scarlatti (1660–1725) led to his moving to London, where he benefited from the patronage of various noble benefactors, and soon built up an impressive reputation thereafter. His Italian students called him “Il Furibondo” (“The Madman”) , because of the immense power of his performances. Geminiani also spent some time living in Paris; his whole life was dedicated to teaching and composing. His The Art of Playing the Violin, published in London in 1751, is a valuable source of information on the Baroque performance style. This particular piece was originally written for the violin in 1716. In 1739, Germiniani rewrote the piece for flute, and in 1757, he rewrote it again as a trio sonata. The 12 sonatas in the collection from which the piece comes follow a similar arrangement to that used by Corelli: six sonatas da chiesa followed by six sonatas da camera. However, the adoption of a more irregular and asynchronous rhythm, melody and phrasing marks a break with Corelli’s style. The eminent musicologist Charles Burney (1726– 1814) stated that Geminiani’s sonatas took Corelli’s achievements to an even higher level, and that few other composers had produced anything to rival them. The sonata in A Major presented on this recording is in the form of a sonata da chiesa, following the traditional sequence of movements: slow, fast, slow, fast. The intricacy and depth of the piece are displayed in the interval jumps, complex harmonies, frequent key shifts and fast runs. The violin used in this recording was made in 1740 by Omobono Stradivari (1679–1742) . The use of this instrument in the performance of an outstanding piece by the leading Italian composer Geminiani presents a marvelously vivid picture of Italian music in the 18th century.