Notes and Editorial Reviews
Not to be confused with his better-remembered, prolific younger brother Giovanni Battista, Giuseppe Sammartini was equally renowned in his day, though more as an instrumentalist than a composer. While both siblings received oboe training early on from their virtuoso father, Giuseppe left his native Milan in his early 30s for a position in Handel's orchestra in London, where he would eventually settle for the rest of his life. Not surprisingly, Handel's influence is more than mildly evident throughout these four expertly crafted works. Sammartini, apparently quite taken by Handel's celebrated Op. 4 and Op. 7 concertos, often creates a similar active dialogue between soloist and continuo: compare the opening allegro of his Second Concerto
(very nicely played) to Handel's fourth-movement andante of Op. 4 No. 1, and the allegro from the Fourth Concerto with Handel's allegro of his Op. 7 No. 3. Sammartini's concertos also regularly share a sprightliness and humor typical of Handel's lighter movements. For example, the "spirituoso" from his Third Concerto all but mimics Handel's "pomposo" of his Op. 7 No. 6, and these players enter fully into the easygoing spirit of the music.
Though stylistically akin, the primary difference between Handel and Sammartini has to do with scale. Sammartini employs just two violins, cello, and contrabass, and this chamber approach allows for great clarity and gracefulness, though at the expense of some typically Handelian grandeur. Likewise the two remarkably animated brief solo organ sonatas by Giovanni Battista featured in the middle and at end of the program also appropriately complement the playful nature of the repertoire. These fine performances by the very capable team of organist Fabio Bonizzoni and La Risonanza require no further special comment: they do full justice to music that posseses no special technical problems and exists simply to please. And so it does.
--John Greene, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concertos (4) for Keyboard, Op. 9 by Giuseppe Sammartini
Fabio Bonizzoni (Organ)
Written: by 1754; England
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