A debut album from a gifted young pianist, who has stylishly reimagined the world of the Venetian Baroque on a modern piano.
At a time when only Bach and Scarlatti were Baroque-era composers in the repertoire of pianists rather than harpsichordists, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli pressed the cause of Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785) with performances and recordings of sonatas. Galuppi’s style was defined during his lifetime as ‘gay, lively and brilliant’, and this description certainly capture the style of the keyboard sonatas which he wrote throughout his career.
Born on the island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon, Galuppi trained with Antonio Lotti (then organist of the Basilica San Marco) and quickly became noted across Europe for a string of operatic successes which supplied both audiences and singers with dazzling entertainment. He was no musical revolutionary and continued to compose in a well-turned vein of elegant Baroque conventions while composers further north in Europe were experimenting with larger-scale forms and more daring harmonies.
However, the keyboard sonatas which Galuppi wrote throughout his career delighted audiences at the time and have continued to do so since. Several collections were issued during his lifetime (and designated with Opus numbers) but a great deal of his keyboard music remains unpublished. collection of 12 three-movement sonatas, drawn from this otherwise unpublished body of work, was edited by Giacomo Benvenuti (1885-1943) and issued by the Francesco Bongiovanni publishing house in 1920, and it is from this collection (familiar to audiences of the 50s through Michelangeli) that Fernanda Damiano plays six sonatas on the present album.
Born in Taranto in 1995, Fernanda Damiano made her concerto debut with Haydn’s D major concerto at the Teatro Impero in Trani at the age of 10 and went on to perform as a soloist across Europe and North America. At a young age she is now a teacher herself, professor of piano since 2017 at the Conservatory of Pavia. She is also a teacher of International courses for Musical Interpretation for the Umbria Classica Association of Foligno. ‘The young pianist Fernanda Damiano is a real marvel; she has a very remarkable pianism. She is destined, I am sure, to a very brilliant career’ (Aldo Ciccolini).
· Born on the island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon, Baldassare Galuppi trained as a teenager with Antonio Lotti, first organist at the Basilica San Marco. His talents were soon in demand, and Venetian theatres engaged him as a keyboard player and composer, in which capacity he successfully wrote music for several occasions.
· As Galuppi’s fame spread he became known as ‘Il Buranello’, after his birthplace, and as his operas travelled, so did he – first to Mantova, then London (1741-3), Vienna (1748), Madrid (1749) and as far afield as St Petersburg, where he served as court composer to Catherine the Great from 1765 to 1768, all the while producing one successful opera after another. Having returned home to Venice for good in 1768, he turned his energies to sacred music, and continued composing into old age.
· Galuppi’s style was defined during his lifetime as ‘gay, lively and brilliant’, and the three adjectives aptly describe the two published sets of six keyboard sonatas published during his lifetime as Opp. 1 and 2. He used elementary sonata-allegro forms, ranging from the simple binary dance forms of the Baroque to mono- and bi-thematic sonata-forms with embryonic development sections and complete recapitulations, as found in the works of Domenico Scarlatti, Pergolesi, and early Haydn. The texture is generally two-voiced, with right-hand cantabile melodies supported by a straightforward left-hand accompaniment of broken chords or Alberti bass figuration.
· “The young pianist Fernanda Damiano is a real marvel; she has a very remarkable pianism. She is destined, I am sure, to a very brilliant career” (Aldo Ciccolini). Fernanda Damiano, born in 1995, is the winner of several international piano competitions. Recently she worked with Enrico Pace at the famous Imola Piano Academy.