Sunday, 22 November 2015

1715 Albinoni, Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi and Telemann

Sticking with Bach in 1715 we hear his first keyboard music not composed for organ and I am pleased to include it in my Greatest Hitstory. Named the ‘English Suite' my selections are of Italian influence if anything and you will probably recognize them. They are named the English suites either because they were thought to be composed for an English nobleman or because they were based on suites by a French composer called Charles Dieupart who was famous in England.

Another ‘first’ is that Albinoni becomes the first Italian to compose an oboe concerto as opposed to a sonata  which Vivaldi had already done. The basic difference between a sonata and concerto for this period at least is that a sonata will usually only be one instrument with between one and three backing instruments while a concerto has got one instrument with more of an orchestral backing, usually involving lots of violins at the very least. So much for being amateur, these two oboe concertos from Albinoni are excellent!  I can also add from Albinoni his Sinfonia a 4 in A Major, Si 5: I. Allegro - Adagio to the long list of Allegros.

I managed to find another good bit of instrumental music from a Handel opera, being the sinfonia from act 3 of his Amadigi Di Gaula. There is also some nice organ music from Handel. Like Bach, Handel did compose a lot of organ music but most of this comes in the 1730s so we’ll see when I get to that decade if anymore find its way to my Greatest Hitstory.

This year Vivaldi departed from writing violin concertos to write a fine piece of choral music, being his Gloria in D Major, RV 589: I. "Gloria in excelsis Deo" He had by now also started writing operas but we won’t go into that.

This is also the year when the other new composer, a leading composer of the day who I can finally introduce properly to this blog, temporarily departed from his fondness for music of the operatic variety to compose a couple of good violin concertos. His name was Allesandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) and I very much like his Concerto grosso, sinfonia No. 2 in D Major: V. Presto which sounds in parts like it could have been composed in the 1960s.   It was a year when composers contribute music they are not known for as Telemann defies his boring tag with his exciting sonata for violins TWV 40:200.


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