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Veracini Violin Sonatas Opp. 1-3


ANTONIO VERACINI 1659-1745 Sonatas Opp.1-3  Sonata a tre Op.1 No.4 for 2 violins, cello and b.c. 1. Adagio – Presto 2. Vivace 3. Canzona 4. Vivace 5. 6. 7. 8.

1’50 0’51 1’56 1’17

Sonata a violino solo Op.2 No.1✲ Grave 2’00 Vivace 2’09 Largo affettuoso 2’15 Vivace 1’51

 Sonata a due Op.3 No.4 for violin, cello and b.c.❖ 9. Grave 10. Vivace 11. Largo 12. Vivace

Sonata a violino solo Op.2 No.8❖ 13. Grave 1’31 14. Aria affettuosa 1’26 15. Veloce 0’48 16. Largo 1’15 17. Affettuoso 1’48

 Sonata a due Op.3 No.8 for violin, cello and b.c.✲ 26. Grave 27. Vivace 28. Largo 29. Presto

 Sonata a due Op.3 No.7 for violin, cello and b.c.✲ 18. Largo 19. Allegro 20. Largo 21. Vivace

Sonata a violino solo Op.2 No.4❖ 30. Grave 1’36 31. Presto assai 1’05 32. Allegro 1’27

S onata a tre Op.1 No.1 for 2 violins, cello and b.c. 22. Largo 23. Vivace 24. Largo 25. Allegro

2’14 1’22 2’02 1’23

1’33 2’10 1’11 1’39

1’43 2’25 1’10 0’54

S onata a due Op.3 No.9 for violin, cello and b.c.❖ 33. Largo 34. Vivace 35. Largo 36. Vivace

S onata a tre Op.1 No.2 for two violins, cello and b.c. 37. Largo 38. Affettuoso 39. Largo 40. Vivace

2’14 2’40 1’58 1’48

1’34 2’27 1’51 1’37

EL ARTE MVSICO Angel Sampedro violin (❖ solo) Teresa Casanova violin (✲ solo) Isabel Gómez-Serranillos cello Diego Fernández harpsichord

Total time: 68’31 Recording: January 2015, Parish Church of Bustarviejo, Madrid, Spain Recording Engineer and Producer: Hermes Sampedro Photo: Diego de Los Reyes Cover: Ponte vecchio in Firenze, by Bernardo Bellotto p & © 2016 Brilliant Classics

1’41 2’31 1’00 1’41

Music in Florence at the end of the XVII century The major significance of Florence as the hub of European culture is closely bound to the Medici family. Recognised as one of the most powerful families of their time, the Medici were important patrons of music, literature, art and science. They ruled Florence and Tuscany for over three hundred years and their political prowess combined with the international influence attained by some members and a string of savvy matrimonial alliances explain their privileged status in European social and cultural history. Insofar as music is concerned, the family allies with the royal family of France fostered an interesting cultural exchange. Thus, it becomes clear why ‘Italian violins’ were prominent in the French Court, a violin band ‘a la French style’ in the Medici Court or how a Florentine violinist, Giovanni Battista Lulli became a renowned composer at the French Court. As a sign of power, the Grand Duke commissioned the best musicians to play highend music at courtly and ecclesiastical ceremonies. One of these honoured musicians who played in the Court, cornettist Bernardo Pagani, also known as ‘II Franciosino’, formed a musical ensemble in 1586 made up of orphaned and abandoned children who he conducted himself. This ensemble under the court’s protection, known as I Franciosini, remained on the musical scene until 1656 and produced some of the great Florentine musicians. One of its members, the violinist Antonio Vanetti, was to be the maestro of the child Tobbia Grünschneider who would later train Francesco Veracini. Thus, the history of an important family of violin virtuosos began: the Veracini. Antonio Veracini and his music Antonio Veracini, skilled violinist, must be regarded as one of the most prominent composers of sonatas of his generation, alongside Arcangelo Corelli and Giuseppe Torelli. He was a notably distinguished figure in the musical culture of Florence at the end of the XVII century, playing in the opulent festivities of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany Court and the fellowships of the city, yet always remained independent.

He was trained by his father, Francesco Veracini, a prestigious violinist from Florence who diligently participates in the magnificent theatrical fetes of the Medici family. Both father and son were members of the violin ensemble of the Grand Prince Fernando and between 1677 and 1685 played seasonally in the operas he produced in the Villa Pratolino. Musicologist J. W. Hill identifies them in two of the portraits that the Grand Prince commissioned from the painter Antonio Domenico Gabbiani. In 1682, Antonio was hired as a musician for the house orchestra of the Grand Duchess Vittoria of Tuscany, of which he would remain a member until the death of his protector in 1694. In 1700, the esteemed composer Pietro Sammartini took over as maestro di capella in the church of San Michele Bertoldi and in 1708 began to lead the music school that his father had founded years before in the family home. It was in this school where the Veracini family musically trained some of the best instrumentalists of the city, including the violin maestro Francesco Maria Veracini, nephew of Antonio. Possibly in the same year in which his father retired, Antonio took over his positions as violinist in the Cathedral and Church of San Filippo Neri. It is understood that Antonio travelled on at least two occasions to Rome, where he was in contact with Arcangelo Corelli, and that in 1720 he visited the city of Vienna; however, it is likely that the responsibility of directing his own school was what hindered the possibility of the skilled violinist forging an international career like his nephew Francesco Maria. This professional independence and the freedom of not being bound to the preferences of a Court empowered him to become a unique and innovative composer. Out of his entire repertoire, five oratorios and a significant number of sonatas for the violin, only his first three instrumental collections have been retained to this day. His music demonstrates a magnificent mix of Italian and French styles coupled with his own personal touch. In 1692, he published his Suonate a tre per due violini, violone o archileuto col suo basso per l’organo Op.1 in Florence, which were dedicated to his protector, the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere. Although in the cover of the edition the composer

appropriates the necessary bass to a violone, a term that was commonly used in Florence and Modena during this era, in the part he specifies the term violoncello. It is a collection of 10 sonatas da chiesa divided into four movements (slow-fast fugato–slowfast dance) to the style of compositions in the 80s by Arcangelo Corelli, but with extended melodies and fugatos. He uses some more dated movements such as the Canzona of the Trio Sonata No.4, and “eco” effects such as the last movement of the Trio Sonata No.1. We value melodies and harmonic developments that were considerably modern for that era, such as the Trio Sonata No.2 in B minor, which was particularly interesting for composers at the start of the 20th century as it was included in several musical compilations, such as Anticaglie musicali italiane raccolte e restaurate by Guido Tacchinardi, with a piano accompaniment. The Sonate a violino solo Op.2 were released in Modena in 1694. It is clear that the violinist, following the death of Vittoria della Rovere, sought protection from a new patron as each sonata is specially dedicated to an important person from the Florentine social sphere. In this regard, it can be seen how Sonata No.1 is devoted to the Marquis Clemente Vitelli, Captain of the Guard of the Grand Duke Cosimo III and ambassador of the Gran Duchy in Rome, Sonata No.4 is in honour of Sir Cristofo Marzio Medici or No.8 to Sir Giovanni Battista d’Ambra. The sonatas are composed in line with the new style da camera, in three, four or five movements with alternating fast and slow tempos, with the first movement being a free prelude that calls for interpretation to recreate the vibrant flourishes of Corelli’s style. The virtuoso moto perpetuo are common in this collection, such as the veloce of Sonata No.8 and the notably French movements, such as the delicate largo affettuoso of Sonata No.1. This collection would go on to serve as a reference for composers including Francesco Maria Veracini, Giuseppe Tartini or Pietro Locatelli. The last preserved collection was released in Modena in 1696 entitled, Suonate da camera a due, violino e violone o archileuto col basso per il cimbalo Op.3, which was dedicated to Prince Giovanni Gastone of Tuscany. As J. W. Hill accurately points out, despite naming them sonatas da camera they are composed in the da chiesa style,

following the same structure of his Op.1 sonatas. The fast movements are complex and masterful, and the slow movements offer us some of the most beautiful, exquisite and refined melodies of the era, such as the third movements of Sonatas No.7 and No.8. In this collection, Veracini experiments with several tonalities seldom used due to their extreme complexity, as with Sonata No.9 which is composed in F-sharp minor. © Teresa Casanova

Founded in 2003 in Madrid, El Arte Mvsico is an ensemble specialised in the historical performance of a repertoire of pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries for string instruments. Violinists Ángel Sampedro and Teresa Casanova, cellist Isabel Gómez-Serranillos and harpsichordist Diego Fernández form the core of the ensemble, and they call upon specialised performers for each of their programmes. The ensemble has a keen interest in the recovery of currently lesser known Spanish and European musical heritage and creates programmes based on their own research projects, to which they devote much of their time. The repertoire has been selected to include pieces of musical and aesthetic quality as well as historical value. El Arte Mvsico’s philosophy is to bring contemporary audiences closer to music by performing it in the most authentic way possible so that it closely resembles the piece as created by its composer. All the performers within the ensemble are specialised in ancient instrumental techniques, playing original instruments and using bows from each period. They also conduct a thorough historical and aesthetic study prior to each programme to ensure they are able to reproduce the language that is most appropriate to the musical context. Ever since their inception, critics have praised the ensemble for the elegance and versatility of their performances.

From left to right: Teresa Casanova, Angel Sampedro, Diego Fernández and Isabel Gómez-Serranillos

El Arte Mvsico - Veracini Violin Sonatas Opp. 1-3_Booklet  

The Veracini who wrote these playful and virtuosic trio sonatas is not Francesco Maria but his uncle, Antonio. The nephew’s work is relative...

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