The only available complete recording, newly made by a stylish Italian early-music ensemble, of a landmark collection of Baroque chamber music.
Antonio Veracini (1659-1733) was the uncle and teacher of his more famous nephew, the composer and violinist Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768), and one of the most important violin sonata composers of the generation that included Corelli and Torelli. His innovative music forms the bridge between the styles of Vitali, Bononcini and Stradella on the one hand, and the post-Baroque fashions of his nephew and of Tartini and Locatelli on the other.
Even while working outside the patronage of the Medici family, Veracini played a central role in the civic musical life of Florence during the later 17th and early 18th centuries. Trained from childhood as a violinist, he wrote mostly with his own instrument in mind, and doubtless with a view to impressing noble audiences with his skill and virtuosic style. He must have succeeded, because he also became an owner of many superb violins and a dealer in their trade.
Veracini’s Opus 1 collection was published in 1692 and dedicated to his patroness, the Grand Duchess Vittoria. It consists of ten ‘church sonatas’ of the newer sort exemplified by Vitali's op.9 collection published two years later, though Veracini’s style is also comparable with Corelli's church sonatas published during the 1680s. Most of the sonatas have two extended quick movements, each preceded by a slower and gravely expressive introduction. Dance rhythms infuse the finales with momentum, and Veracini is fond of trumpet-like fanfares and echo effects.
These ten sonatas made a tremendous impression on Veracini’s fellow composers at the time, and it is a wonder that they have only been recorded in selected form until now. The complete collection abounds in high-spirited diversity, especially in these recordings made by an ensemble with a track record of success in exploring the lesser-known corners of Baroque repertoire. Of their previous Brilliant Classics album featuring Vitali’s Op.11 Sonatas (93976), Fanfare magazine remarked: ‘It is all very delightful… thoroughly enjoyable and heartily recommended to all lovers of Baroque consort and dance music.’
- Antonio Veracini (1659-1733), skilled violinist, was one of the most prominent composers of his generation, alongside Arcangelo Corelli and Giuseppe Torelli. He was a notably distinguished figure in the musical culture of Florence at the end of the 17th century, playing in the opulent festivities of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany Court. He was educated by his father, Francesco di Niccolò Veracini a noted violist.
- Antonio Veracini's Op.1 (1692) contains 10 trio sonatas scored for two violins, cello or archlute, and figured bass for the organ; the very same forces stipulated by Corelli in his two collections of sonatas da chiesa Op.1 and 3. They are in many ways comparable to Corelli's, while displaying differences that they do not seem merely derived from the earlier works. Among the similarities, one may count the consistently fugal texture of the first allegro movements in duple metre and the lively trumpet idiom with echo repeats in non-fugal fast movements. However, Veracini's harmonic language is spicier, often relying on expressive chromatic passages.
- Played by the Italian Early music group Semperconsort, led by violinist Luigi Cozzolino, featuring violin, cello, theorbo, organ, harpsichord. This group’s earlier recordings of chamber music by Giovanni Vitali for Brilliant Classics were met with great critical acclaim in the international press.