Notes and Editorial Reviews
Violinist, Gunar Letzbor writes: "Our constant aim was to propose Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli's music in such a way as to seem new with every performance: we want not only to accept but also to favour the birth of a musica 'nuova'. Music is reborn if it is full of the creative fantasy of inspired musicians who still manage to marvel at the essence of a work. It does not matter how old the notes of a composition are. A piece of music written just yesterday or even today can give the impression of being old if the musicians do not succeed in creating it freely deep down, with immediacy, feeling ecstasy and wonder, doing so precisely to be reborn."
When, in 1999, Andrew Manze recorded (Harmonia Mundi France) his
two collections of sonatas Opp. 3 and op. 4, both dating from 1660 and both printed in Innsbruck, our knowledge of Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli was pratically nil: no biographical information other than the fact that he was engaged as a musician at the Habsburg court in Innsbruck that year. A violinist-murderer. Thanks to the work on the archives of the Italian musicologist Fabrizio Longo (2005), our picture is significantly increased.
Antonio Pandolfi was born in Montepulciano (Tuscany), a place already famous at the time for its red wine. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Venice, then Antonio was engaged into the service of the Princess de' Medici in Innsbruck, like many other Tuscan composers. After which we can localize our musician in Messina (Sicily) as a violinist with the chapel of the cathedral, where he murdered the Roman castrato Giovanni Marquett. Pandolfi fled, ambarking aboard a French ship, first sailing to France before reaching Madrid, where he managed to put himself at the service of the Spanish Habsburgs and remained to the end of his life.
"Gunar Letzbor gives us a full-blooded performance of the second collection of "a composer caught between homicide and musical affects," to quote the title of the authoritative liner notes by Herbert Seifert. What is noteworthy in the composer's printed works that have been preserved is that Pandolfi dedicated almost all of his Sonatas to collegues encountered in music chapels and that he gave each work the name of one of them. Whether Pandolfi, in his music, alluded directly to specific characteristics of the dedicatees remains a mystery.
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