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G B and G Sammartini: Concerti & Sinfonie Ensemble 415, Chiara Banchini

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Name:G B and G Sammartini: Concerti & Sinfonie Ensemble 415, Chiara Banchini

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Sammartini, Giovanni Battista (1700-1775)
1. Life.

Sammartini was the seventh of eight children of Alexis Saint-Martin, a French oboist who emigrated to Italy, and Girolama de Federici. He was probably born in Milan, the city in which he lived all his life. Since in his death certificate he is said to have been 74, he was presumably born in 1700 or the first two weeks of 1701. His earliest musical instruction probably came from his father. In 1717 Giuseppe and G.B. Sammartini were listed as oboists at S Celso, Milan, and in 1720 the ‘Sammartini brothers’ were listed as oboists in the orchestra of the Regio Ducal Teatro there. Sammartini’s first known composition is an aria (lost) for the oratorio La calunnia delusa, performed in 1724, to which Giuseppe and other composers also contributed. His first set of vocal works which is known (also lost) dates from 1725: five cantatas for the Fridays in Lent written for the Congregazione del SS Entierro, which met in the Jesuit church of S Fedele. Sammartini became maestro di cappella of the Congregazione in 1728 and continued in that post for most of his life; his last Lenten cantatas are dated 1773.

By 1726 Sammartini was called ‘very famous’ in his contract as substitute maestro di cappella of S Ambrogio (the full appointment came in 1728). Also in 1726 he composed a Christmas oratorio for S Fedele entitled Gesù bambino adorato dalli pastori. J.J. Quantz, who visited Milan that year, wrote grudgingly of the music of Sammartini and Francesco Fiorino as‘not bad’, though he noted that they were the leading church composers of the city. In his maturity Sammartini became the most active church composer in Milan. The almanac Milano sacro for 1761–75 lists him as the maestro di cappella of eight churches, while the almanac La galleria delle stelle for 1775 lists 11; these included the ducal chapel S Gottardo, whose director he became in 1768 (there is no evidence to support Burney’s statement that he was maestro di cappella of the convent of S Maria Maddalena). An excellent organist, Sammartini was praised by Burney as having ‘a way peculiar to himself of touching that instrument, which is truly masterly and pleasing’.

The 1730s saw a notable stream of symphonies, concertos, sonatas and dramatic works from Sammartini’s pen, and recognition of his music outside Italy. His first opera, Memet, was performed in Lodi in 1732, and possibly in Vienna the same year. Milan heard his second opera, L’ambizione superata dalla virtù, in the Regio Ducal Teatro in 1734, with such noted singers as Vittoria Tesi and the castrato Angelo Maria Monticelli. By the early 1730s he had become the leading figure in the earliest symphonic school in Europe, which included such composers from Milan and nearby as Brioschi, Galimberti, Giulini, Lampugnani and Chiesa. From 1733 there are records of Sammartini’s acting as judge in competitions for positions at the cathedral and other churches. Apart from his teaching at the Collegio de’Nobili, where he was appointed in 1730, only two of his no doubt numerous pupils can be identified with any certainty: Count Giorgio Giulini (1716–80), a popular Milanese dilettante composer of symphonies, and Christoph Willibald Gluck, who probably studied with Sammartini from 1737 to 1741. Many of Gluck’s early works were influenced by Sammartini, and Gluck borrowed movements from two Sammartini symphonies for his operas Le nozze d’Ercole e d’Ebe (1747) and La contesa de’ numi (1749). Sammartini’s last opera, L’Agrippina, moglie di Tiberio, was performed in the Regio Ducal Teatro in 1743, with Carestini as Tiberius.

As Milan’s most famous composer, Sammartini took a leading role in the life of the city, composing and conducting music for religious and state occasions. In January 1741 he directed a mass of his own composition in S Ambrogio in memory of Cardinal Benedetto Odescalchi. In 1742 he conducted in the church of S Paolo de’ Barnabiti in Vigevano, near Milan. Many other such performances took place in and near Milan. On the birth of Archduke Peter Leopold, Maria Theresa’s third son, he composed a secular cantata, La gara dei geni, presented in 1747 at the Regio Ducal Teatro by the Lieutenant-governor of Austrian Lombardy, Count Gian-Luca Pallavicini. In 1749 Pallavicini organized concerts on the banks of the moat of the Castello Sforzesco, some of which Sammartini directed. Sammartini presented concerts in 1751 at both the Sforza castle and the ducal palace on the translation of the body of S Carlo Borromeo to Milan Cathedral. For Prince Joseph of Austria’s birthday in 1753, Pallavicini commissioned two cantatas jointly composed by Sammartini and Niccolò Jommelli. In 1757 and 1759 Sammartini took part in feste solenne at S Celso. In 1758 he became one of the founders of a philharmonic society in Milan, reflecting the city’s keen interest in orchestral music. From 1750 Sammartini sent mainly orchestral and chamber works to the Margrave Carl Friedrich of Baden-Durlach in Karlsruhe. The Margrave probably met Sammartini during his trip to Italy that year. A letter from Sammartini to the Margrave dated 23 November 1750 accompanied autographs of six flute quartets (called concertini), three of which remain among some 70 works by Sammartini (in D-KA). In 1760 Sammartini published a collection of six of his finest string trios (later issued by Leclerc as op.7), dedicating the print to Don Filippo, Duke of Parma (1721–65), one of his most important patrons. During the 1750s and 60s he came into contact with some of the leading composers of the younger generation, notably J.C. Bach, who lived in Milan from about 1755 to 1762, and Luigi Boccherini, who played in orchestras under Sammartini’s direction in Pavia and Cremona for the festivities in July 1765 on the visit of the Infanta Maria Luisa, future wife of Archduke Leopold. Sammartini is mentioned in Leopold Mozart’s letters from Milan in 1770: he heard Wolfgang perform and warmly supported him when there were intrigues against his opera Mitridate, rè di Ponto. Leopold described Sammartini as a person ‘whom everyone trusts’. During 1770 Sammartini also met Charles Burney, who visited Milan in July and left a valuable description of musical life in the city and performances of Sammartini’s music. Burney heard a mass, a motet and an ‘excellent’ symphony by Sammartini. He praised the skilful composition of the orchestral portions of the mass and the beautiful adagio aria in the motet; but in the mass he criticized an ‘excessive number’ of fast movements and the extremely active violins. He observed that despite Sammartini’s advanced age ‘his fire and invention still remain in their utmost vigour’. Sammartini’s circle of friends included the poet Giuseppe Parini and leading Milanese figures who, with Sammartini, were members of the Accademia dei Trasformati.

Between April and September 1773 Sammartini composed six string quintets, his last extant dated works. That Sammartini’s death in January 1775 was unexpected is shown by the schedule of 24 performances in Milanese churches planned for 1775 (published in the almanac La galleria delle stelle). The death certificate, dated 17 January 1775, states that Sammartini had died two days earlier and was buried in the church of S Alessandro on the evening of 16 January. Musicians from S Fedele, Milan Cathedral and elsewhere joined in a memorial service on 17 January; the Office and Solemn Mass were sung before a great gathering of people because (as the death certificate states) he was ‘a most excellent master and celebrated by a most brilliant renown’. Of Sammartini’s family, all that is known is that he was married twice, first to Margherita Benna (5 June 1727; d 13 Nov 1754) and then (on 23 June 1755) to Rosalinda Acquanio (aged 17), and that his daughter, Marianna Rosa (b 11 Sept 1733), was a singer.

2. Reputation.

It appears that Sammartini’s music was better known outside Italy than in his native land. Many of his works were published in Paris and London, especially by Leclerc, Venier and Walsh. One of his symphonies (j-c65) was performed in Amsterdam in 1738. Most of his surviving early works are in the Blancheton collection (F-Pc), formed in Paris apparently between about 1740 and 1744. The Concert Spirituel performed a Sammartini symphony in 1751 and his complex ensemble concerto in E (published by Cox in 1756) was played by La Pouplinière’s orchestra. His music gained equal popularity in England. It was admired by the Duke of Cumberland, brother of George III, and there is a mention of Sammartini in Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey. According to Giuseppe Carpani, an early biographer of Haydn, Sammartini’s music was introduced in Vienna by Count Harrach, governor of Lombardy from 1747 to 1750. Carpani reported that the music won immediate success and was patronized by such noblemen as Counts Pálffy, Schönborn, Lobkowitz and Clam-Gallas. A sacred choral work by Sammartini was performed in the Burgtheater, Vienna, in 1756, and a ‘concert de plusieurs instruments seuls’ was given there on 19 and 28 February 1758. A letter from Fra Giovanni Falasca to Padre Martini, dated 30 June 1756, refers to an academy organized for 1 July at which ‘Sammartini wishes him to hear the compositions he intends to send to Vienna’. Although no proof exists for Carpani’s statement that Prince Esterházy commissioned two works a month from Sammartini, a 1759 inventory of the Esterházy collection lists two of his symphonies. There were performances of his music in Prague as early as 1738, and the library of the Waldstein family (formerly in Doksy, now in Prague) holds the largest of all Sammartini collections, including 33 authentic symphonies.

While Sammartini’s influence on Gluck has long been acknowledged, his influence on J.C. Bach and Luigi Boccherini should be further investigated. Bach knew Sammartini, whom he described as a ‘strong composer’. Both men participated in two academies led by Bach in about September 1760 at Casalmaggiore and Mantua in honour of the Princess of Parma. Boccherini also modelled the exposition of his string quartet op.2 no.2/i on Sammartini’s ‘Parma’ Notturno no.4/i. Sammartini’s possible influence on Haydn was first mentioned by Carpani, who recounted that the Bohemian composer Josef Myslive?ek (1737–81), on hearing some symphonies by Sammartini about 1780, exclaimed: ‘I have found the father of Haydn’s style’. Though Haydn strongly denied any influence of Sammartini in remarks to his biographers Carpani and G.A. Griesinger, a study of Sammartini’s music shows a marked affinity between the composers in rhythm, structure and even in the province of musical humour. A favourite type of retransition in middle-period Sammartini symphonies (e.g. j-c4, first movement) appears also in several early Haydn symphonies.

3. Style.

Sammartini’s music falls into three style periods which reflect the major trends in music between the 1720s and the time of his death. The early period, c1724–39, shows a Baroque–Classical style mixture; the middle period, c1740–58, is early Classical, and the style most characteristic of Sammartini; the late period, c1759–74, points to later Classical developments. Despite these changes, certain basic characteristics can be seen in works of all periods, especially an intense rhythmic drive and continuity of structure; a remarkably varied treatment of sonata form, in which the recapitulation usually contains many changes in the order of ideas and their presentation (variants of the main secondary theme being especially common); and an unusual sensitivity to textural arrangements and contrasts, favouring non-imitative counterpoint with contrasting motifs in the two violin parts. Sammartini composed some of the earliest dated symphonies: movements from two symphonies were used in 1732 as introductions to acts 2 and 3 of the opera Memet. His symphony in G minor j-c57, whose finale Gluck borrowed for La contesa de’ numi, anticipates the Sturm und Drang style by more than 20 years. Three ensemble concertos, two in E (one published in 1756) and one in A, anticipate the sinfonia concertante in their scoring and two-movement arrangement. In his old age Sammartini produced some of the earliest string quartets (1763–7) and string quintets (1773), the latter scored for the unfamiliar combination of three violins, viola and bass instrument. The few surviving sacred cantatas and liturgical works show a dramatic approach to text setting and an orchestral sophistication of a kind generally associated with the Viennese school. All these examples reveal a composer who was in the vanguard of musical developments throughout his life, and an artist of the greatest integrity and seriousness.

Sammartini’s early orchestral music was influenced by the north Italian concerto tradition, especially Vivaldi. The 18 early symphonies have three movements, in the succession fast–slow–fast, some with minuet finales. There is no evidence to support the oft-repeated statement that Sammartini wrote a four-movement symphony in 1734. The only extant four-movement symphony (j-c39) is undated, and the fourth movement is an appended minuet taken from a trio sonata. The symphonies are scored for string orchestra, seven being trio symphonies (most omitting the violas), an important early type. Nearly all the movements have binary division: most of the longer allegros are in sonata form; the slow movements and minuets favour simple binary designs. The movements in sonata form are characterized by well-defined key areas, themes and thematic contrasts, long developments and clear recapitulations, which almost always begin with the opening theme in the tonic key. Multithematic movements are the most common, but some early examples of Classical monothematic sonata form already appear (e.g. in j-c14, first movement, and j-c39, third movement). Though homophony predominates, several movements contain refined textural arrangements and new uses of counterpoint. Sammartini transferred to the symphony the lyrical slow movement of the concerto. He favoured the 2/4 Andante, which became the standard type of Classical slow movement. He preferred the moderate 3/4 to the fast 3/8 minuet, and also wrote long finales in 2/4 and 3/8, some of them in buffo style. The main influences in the early symphonies derive from the concerto and the trio sonata rather than the Italian overture. The symphony is already established as an independent genre in these works.

Most of the 37 middle symphonies call for two horns or trumpets as well as strings, and end with minuets, some with trio sections. There are also a few two-movement symphonies (fast–minuet). Movements become longer, harmonic rhythm slower, and almost all movements are in sonata form, including slow movements and minuets. Contrast is intensified in texture, rhythm, dynamics and mood. Many first movements have a motoric character, using themes composed of short modules, half a bar and one bar in length. Melodic continuation by literal or varied repetition and contrast replaces the frequent sequential expansion of the early style. While the development section itself is usually short, developmental interest is supplied by motivic development within themes, thematic derivations and reformulated recapitulations (which act as second developments). The slow movements, often in the minor mode, are among Sammartini’s finest creations. Warmly lyrical, concise in form, full in texture and rich in harmony, they contain his most personal expression, ranging from delicate charm to profound melancholy.

In the 12 late symphonies (including eight in F-Pc dated 1768–72) there are independent oboe parts and the cello and bass are often separated. There are longer and more varied periods, a more intense lyricism (which invades even the fast movements) and more complex harmony. The texture resembles the chamber style, with frequent dialogue among all the instruments, and far greater use of imitation, especially in the slow movements. The language in these works often has a Mozartian flavour (fig.2).

Sammartini’s orchestral music has a bright, transparent sound. Rhythmic effects are a prime source of interest and vitality: in the careful variation and contrast of rhythmic patterns and articulations, the deft mixture of regular and irregular phrase lengths, and the carefully calculated changes in rhythmic values. Sammartini avoided large-scale thematic repetitions, preferring understatement to the least possibility of redundancy. The frequent elision of themes and sections produces a strong continuity that is the essence of his style.

Sammartini’s concertos have been studied by Ada Gehann. To the 11 authentic works must be added six others: four dating from about 1760–64 (in D-W), one from about 1755–60 (D-Rp) and a fragmentary middle-period concerto (CH-SAf, probably composed in the 1750s). 12 are for violin, two for flute and others for a variety of instruments. All but the two-movement ensemble concertos j-c73, 73.1 and 76 have the usual three movements, and all are in major keys. Most use a three- or (more often, and always in late works) four-ritornello plan, the opening ritornello being in two sections and moving to and from the dominant key (the subdominant in the early concerto j-c69).The second ritornello is in the dominant, and in the early and middle concertos may modulate to a related minor key. The third ritornello (in those movements with four) appears in the tonic after a modulatory episode which, in works written after about 1750–55, returns to the tonic by way of a retransition over a dominant pedal. Most early movements end with a return of the complete opening ritornello; later ones with a shortened (fourth) ritornello or its closing bars. A cadenza is prescribed before the final ritornello in most movements. Features of sonata form are found not only in the basic tonal layout but also in the frequent integration of the solo episodes with motifs, rhythmic figures and phrases derived from the ritornello, the quasi-developmental character of the second solo episode in some works and the recall of the opening of the movement at the beginning of the third ritornello in the tonic. The later concertos incorporate more thematic interplay between soloist(s) and orchestra. In the outer movements typical textural contrasts in the episodes come from the reduction and expansion of the accompaniment; the soloists tend to dominate in the lyrical slow movements. Two of the violin concertos (j-c77 and 70) are largely symphonic, with some solo passages. Even the earliest concertos reflect Classical trends.

More than 265 chamber and solo works constitute the bulk of Sammartini’s extant music: string quintets, flute and string quartets (many omitting the viola), trios, duets, solo sonatas for flute, violin and cello, accompanied sonatas for harpsichord and violin, and keyboard sonatas. In general the chamber works are more lyrical, more ornamental and more intricate in rhythm than the orchestral music. Most are organized in two- and three-movement cycles typical of the early Classical style: slow/fast–minuet/fast; slow–fast–minuet; or fast–slow–minuet; some violin sonatas have the Baroque four-movement plan. The keyboard sonatas in one to three movements incorporate both chromatic details and virtuoso figuration. The string trios for two violins and bass form the largest and most important group, and were extremely popular, as the many surviving copies indicate. The relation between the instrumental parts (especially the violins) varies considerably from the complete domination of the first violin to frequent dialogue and imitation, none of the sonatas being consistently imitative in late Baroque fashion. Six late ‘sonate notturne’ dedicated to his important patron the Duke of Parma reflect the trend towards the elimination of the continuo and achieve an equality of parts within a basic homophonic texture which is close to the ideal of the mature string quartet. Sammartini’s most complex chamber works – in texture, harmony, rhythm and melody – are his late solo concertinos for string quartet, his quartetti and his quintets, all in three movements. Several movements of the early 1770s are especially forward-looking, and many are marked by special features, such as the recapitulation starting in the dominant minor in the second movement of the E Concertino and the imitative main theme of the third movement of Quintet no.4 (an early example of a Viennese procedure found also in the second movement of the late symphony j-c2). The slow movements of Quintets nos.3 and 4 are surely among the most beautiful of the Classical period, while the lyricism, chromaticism and varied sonorities of Quartetto no.5 invite comparison with Boccherini.

Sammartini’s three operas follow the conventions of opera seria. The arias, almost exclusively in da capo form, are carefully written and often intensely expressive, especially in the operas of the 1730s. The few extant sacred works show that Sammartini was a master of the style. The more substantial works, such as the mass sections, psalm settings and Magnificat, synthesize the galant and learned styles in large-scale arias, movements in sonata form for solo and choral groups, and concluding fugues. Each of Sammartini’s extant Lenten cantatas contains a one-movement overture, three arias prefaced by recitatives, and a concluding ‘chorus’ of the solo soprano, alto and tenor voices. The ‘chorus’ of Il pianto degli angeli della pace is also heard twice in the beginning, giving the work a rondo-like structure; dating from 1751, it is outstanding among his sacred output. The serious mood of these works is reflected in the use of flat keys and the many minor-key movements. Recitatives make telling use of chromatic and dissonant harmonies, especially diminished 7th chords, and the arias have great lyric beauty and dramatic power. The principal sections of the arias show the same formal ingenuity as the instrumental movements in sonata form. It is in Sammartini’s religious works that many of his most dramatic and sophisticated pages are found, as well as a grandeur of effect absent from his other works.

Sammartini’s music played a fundamental role in the formation of the Classical style. He was one of the most advanced and experimental composers of the early Classical period, and the first great master of the symphony, preserving his individuality despite the rise of the Viennese and Mannheim schools. Though the extent of Sammartini’s influence is still not fully measured, the high quality of his music places him among the leading creative spirits of the 18th century.


Sammartini [S Martini, St Martini, San Martini, San Martino, Martini, Martino], Giuseppe [Gioseffo] (Francesco Gaspare Melchiorre Baldassare)

(b Milan, 6 Jan 1695; d London, ?17–23 Nov 1750). Italian oboist and composer. He was the son of a French oboist, Alexis Saint-Martin, and the elder brother of the composer Giovanni Battista Sammartini. The report of his death (discovered by Evelyn Lance) appeared in the Whitehall Evening Post of Saturday, 24 November 1750: ‘Last week died at his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, Signior S. Martini, Musick Master to her Royal Highness and thought to be the finest performer on the hautboy in Europe’.

Sammartini probably studied the oboe with his father, with whom he performed in an orchestra at Novara for a religious ceremony in 1711. In 1717 he and G.B. Sammartini were listed as oboists at S Celso, Milan, and in 1720 the ‘Sammartini brothers’ were oboists in the orchestra of the Regio Ducal Teatro there. An oboe concerto by Giuseppe was published in Amsterdam as early as about 1717, and in 1724 he contributed an aria and sinfonia for the second part of a Milanese oratorio, La calunnia delusa. J.J. Quantz, who visited Milan in 1726, regarded Sammartini as the only good wind player in the opera orchestra; when he went to Venice he ranked him with the violinists Vivaldi and Madonis as the outstanding players he had heard.

Sammartini left Italy for Brussels and then for London, where his collection of 12 trio sonatas, published by Walsh & Hare, had been announced on 30 September 1727. He was witness to his sister Maddalena’s marriage in Milan on 13 February 1728, and on 13 July 1728 he was granted a passport to travel to Brussels with his pupil Gaetano Parenti. Burney erronously mentioned that Giuseppe’s first appearance in England occurred at a benefit for ‘signor Piero’ at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket on 4 April 1723. The first reference to Giuseppe in England appears in London advertisements for a concert at Hickford’s Room on 21 May 1729, which also featured ‘several pieces on the hautboy by the famous Sig. St. Martini of Milan, just arrived from the Court of Brussels’ (Lasocki, 887). Sammartini remained in London for the rest of his life, quickly winning recognition as a brilliant performer. He performed at Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 13 May 1730. In the same year he played for Maurice Greene at Cambridge when Greene obtained the MusD degree, and also gave a successful benefit concert there. Sammartini took part in concerts at Hickford’s Room on 20 March 1732 (benefit concert) and 20 April 1733, and in the Castle concerts, and he played in the opera orchestra at the King’s Theatre. Burney mentioned an aria sung by Farinelli in Porpora’s Polifemo (1735) that was ‘accompanied on the hautbois by the celebrated San Martini’. Though Hawkins said that Sammartini was at first allied with Bononcini, he also played in Handel’s orchestra. Dean pointed out that Sammartini’s name is attached to many oboe solos in Handel’s opera autographs, such as the difficult obbligato for the aria ‘Quella fiamme’ in Arminio, Act 2 (1737). On 14 March 1741 Sammartini performed an oboe concerto at a benefit performance of Handel’s Parnasso in festa at the Haymarket Theatre. Giuseppe probably also played the flute and recorder; he composed numerous works for these instruments and such doublings were standard for orchestra players of that time.

Entries in the household accounts of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his wife Augusta show that Sammartini became the music master of Augusta and her children in 1736, remaining in this post until his death, as noted in the obituary. Sammartini dedicated his 12 sonatas op.1 (1736) to Frederick, and his 12 trios op.3 (1743) to Augusta. A set of three ballets exists, with an overture ascribed to Frederick, that Sammartini wrote for the birthday of Frederick’s daughter, Lady Augusta. Fiske suggested that the masque The Judgment of Paris performed at Cliveden for Lady Augusta’s third birthday in 1740 was actually composed by Sammartini, not Arne, who also wrote a masque to the same text. Hawkins further mentioned a ‘musical solemnity’ by Sammartini that was publicly performed in the chapel of the Bavarian minister.

While Sammartini’s chamber music was extremely popular (his op.1, especially, was often reprinted), his orchestral music apparently became well known only after his death. Most of the concertos and overtures were published posthumously, becoming so popular that they regularly appeared on the programmes of the Concert of Ancient Music well into the 19th century. Between 1776 and 1790 his concertos and overtures were performed there more frequently that works by any other Italian composer, including Corelli. Some of Sammartini’s marches and minuets were performed for the king’s birthday as late as 1770–75. Hawkins praised Sammartini as the ‘greatest [oboist] that the world had ever known’, possessing a remarkable tone that approached the quality of the human voice. He transformed oboe playing in England, and his pupils included the fine English oboist Thomas Vincent. The letters of administration pertaining to Sammartini’s estate show that he died a bachelor, leaving his estate to his brother G.B. Sammartini.

Sammartini was primarily an instrumental composer, and one of the leading writers of concertos and sonatas in England between 1730 and 1750. His printed collections include 24 sonatas for flute and bass, 30 trios for flutes or violins, 24 concerti grossi, four keyboard concertos, an oboe concerto, 16 overtures, and some flute duets and cello sonatas. The tuneful Recorder Concerto in F, found in only one source (S-Skma), has become his best-known work. Hawkins classed Sammartini’s instrumental music with that of Corelli and Geminiani. Though his music is rooted in the late Baroque style, it also reflects some later trends. There is considerable variety in the number, succession and type of movements. Most of the solo sonatas are in the more modern three-movement layout, sometimes beginning with a slow movement (which Sammartini generally preferred); trios and orchestral works often contain four or five movements, including French overtures, fugal second movements, and transitional slow movements. Sammartini’s concerti grossi are scored for strings, and call for a concertino of either two violins and cello or string quartet. The concertino usually shares and elaborates material of the tutti. Op.8, nos. 4–6 are actually oboe and violin concertos; nos.4 and 5 have unique designs featuring da capo repeats and arch form respectively. The concerto style also greatly influenced the trio sonatas op.3. The four concertos for harpsichord or organ are among the earliest keyboard concertos written in England. Some movements contain advanced traits such as initial binary ritornellos and binary layouts. Many binary fast movements, even in the 1727 collection, have early sonata form designs. Other more Classical features include frequent minuet and rondo finales, fast 2/4 movements, galant embellishments, syncopated figures and passages in slow harmonic rhythm. Sammartini was a skilled contrapuntist, a fine harmonist with chromatic leanings and a good melodist, the broad lyricism of his slow movements and minuets showing the influence of Handel. His forms are interesting and well organized. Burney and Hawkins much admired Sammartini’s music, which Burney praised as being ‘full of science, originality, and fire’.

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