Geminiani: Complete Music For Harpsichord

Album cover art for upc 5028421951904
Catalog: BRI95190

Ravizza, Filippo

Francesco Saverio Geminiani (1687–1762) was one of the most prominent violinists and composers of his time and a leading exponent of the Corellian school: the bulk of his compositions were concerti grossi and sonatas that took inspiration from Corellian formal and stylistic models. Alongside his fame as a virtuoso violinist, he achieved considerable success with his important teaching and theoretical publications and brilliant instrumental compositions, which include music for solo harpsichord, adapted by him in great part from his own works for larger forces. Some are arrangements or adaptations – more or less elaborate – of violin sonatas or concertos, while others are substantially reworked from the originals and contain the significant differences. Still more are essentially new compositions that merely borrow thematic material from the source work. Even when Geminiani leaves both the form and the harmonic and tonal structure of the model unaltered, his development of upper melodic line is impressive and highly creative. While the arrangements of violin sonatas demanded the addition of new voices to bolster the texture, the adaptations of the concerti grossi required simplifying the contrapuntal texture to suit the harpsichord, producing a transparent, flexible and elegant performance style, similar to the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. Geminiani’s harpsichord compositions have various stylistic features that set them apart from other 18th-century Italian keyboard music: the pronounced influence of the violin idiom; his penchant for an improvisational style that facilitates the development of ideas; inventive melodic writing that refuses to follow conventions or imitate common styles; and frequent breaking of harmonic and contrapuntal rules.

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