Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1672-1749) was a priest first and musician second: a ‘gentiluomo di Trento’ as he described himself on the title page of his Op.1 trio sonatas. Chamber music continued to be Bonporti’s preferred creative outlet, at a time when cantatas and increasingly operas obtained wider favour, and his increasingly strenuous attempts to gain royal or aristocratic preferment by dedicating and sending his works to kings, queens and princes proved ever fruitless: he died as he worked, a humble cleric.
Bonporti’s gifts as a composer only began to be fully appreciated a century ago, and he can now be regarded among the most gifted north Italian composers of his generation, his music even worthy at points of being mistaken for Bach’s, as it has been more than once in confused manuscript collections. The language of Corelli lies behind Bonporti’s idiom in these trio sonatas, but his creative imagination ranged far and wide, not indebted to any local or popular idiom but always sympathetically conceived for his instruments, and for the violin in particular. The slow movements are more developed than most contemporary Italian comparisons; at all points Bonporti’s imaginative harmony and lively part-writing can be enjoyed by any listener who is keen to look beyond the tried and tested trio sonata repertoire.
Founded in 2006, Associazione Labirinti Armonici is an early-music ensemble of flexible formation, led by scholarship and close study of manuscripts and critical editions in its revival of repertoire from the Baroque. Like Bonporti, the ensemble is based in the Trento region of Italy, making festival appearances and giving masterclasses in early music.
Francesco Bonporti (1672-1749) lived for the largest part of his life in Trento, his native town. He studied in Rome, and was influenced by Arcangelo Corelli, whose style of imitative counterpoint he invests with dramatic elements. His fame spread over Europe and the great Johann Sebastian Bach transcribed for harpsichord some of his violin sonatas.
The complete Sonatas for 2 Violins & B.C. Op. 2 consist of 4 dance movements, the allemande, corrente, sarabande and gigue or gavotte. The first violin is mainly predominant, the other two instruments usually providing the accompaniment. The faster movements require virtuoso skills from the performers while the slow movements flow in sensitive and slightly melancholy melodic lines. The Italian group Labirinti Armonici specializes in the performance of undiscovered Baroque music, it consists of two violins, cello and harpsichord/organ.