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.
A new instalment of the complete Geminiani Edition on Brilliant Classics: the Complete Harpsichord works.
Francesco Saverio Geminiani (1687-1762) was born in Lucca. He began his study at an early age with his father, but his most important lessons followed in his years with the great Roman Master, Arcangelo Corelli. Composition lessons with Alessandro Scarlatti helped inspire and solidify his craft. In 1714 Geminiani settled in London, where he quickly gained fame as an ensemble player, concert violinist, and teacher. Here he became friends with Handel and led the orchestra during many performances together. Geminiani enjoyed great success not only in London, but also in Ireland where he spent a considerable amount of time. In 1760 he settled in Dublin, dying there in somewhat impoverished circumstances in 1762.
Geminiani's playing was distinguished by its great expressiveness, richness of dynamic coloring, extraordinary liveliness, and a strong temperament.
This new recording presents the complete works for the harpsichord, a collection of miscellaneous pieces and sonatas, usually in two movements. The compositions contained in the two collections, in some cases, are transcriptions, i.e. adaptations, more or less elaborate, of original violin or concert compositions; in other cases they consist of substantial remakes with notable variations, which make it difficult to recognize their derivation from the original; in still further cases, they are substantially new compositions that reuse thematic material taken from the reference composition.
Played by Filippo Emanuele Ravizza, a pupil of the great Gustav Leonhardt and Bob van Asperen. His previous recording for Brilliant Classics of Keyboard Works by Johann Joseph Fux met with enthusiastic critical acclaim in the press. (95189)
Recorded April 2018 in Bernareggio (MB), Italy.
Bilingual booklet in English and Italian contains liner notes by the artist on the composer and these works, along with the artist biography.