Campioni: 6 Harpsichord Sonatas Op.4B

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A representative composer of Italian eighteenth-century pre-classicism, Campioni was considered one of the direct heirs of the Tartini school, and especially of Nardini and Pugnani. He represents a fusion between baroque compositional methods and those of the classical style, composing many instrumental pieces.

Composer: Carlo Antonio Campioni
Artist: Simone Stella

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Born as Charles-Antoine Campion in the Lorraine region of France, Carlo Antonio Campioni (1720-1788) made the decisive move to Florence as a 17-year-old violinist, probably studying with Giuseppe Tartini in his famous ‘school of nations’ in Padova. By 1752 he had become an experienced music director as well as composer, appointed as maestro di capella at the cathedral in Livorno. Around a decade later he moved back to France for a temporary stay in Paris but in 1763 he took up the prestigious post of maestro di capella for the Grand Duke of Florence.

In this capacity Campioni travelled widely and his own music became known through its publication in Amsterdam, Paris and London. One eager consumer of his music through the London editions was the young amateur violinist (and future US president) Thomas Jefferson, who made a thematic
catalogue of the seven collections he then owned, and this catalogue still serves as an aid to sorting out the bewildering confusion of Campioni’s printed works. By 1789, when he left Paris, Jefferson owned nearly all of Campioni’s music for strings. Campioni amassed an impressive music library of his own, which attracted the attention of the traveller and writer Charles Burney.

Campioni was also an accomplished harpsichordist, as this collection of sonatas amply demonstrates. Full of elegant writing, graceful melodies and graceful ornamentation, the six sonatas fuse Classical-era and Baroque forms: sonata-form movements with dances such as gigues and minuets, and arpeggiated preludes such as one finds in the dance suites of Bach and Couperin. The Sixth Sonata stands apart from the others, being written for violin and harpsichord, with a continuous dialogue between the two instruments rather than simply the string instrument doubling the right hand of the keyboard as one commonly finds in such sonatas of the period. These bold and venturesome works should delight all lovers of Baroque rarities, winningly performed as they are here by Simone Stella.

00:00:00 Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Op. 4b: I. Allegro
00:04:21 Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Op. 4b: II. Giga
00:07:05 Sonata No. 2 in E Major, Op. 4b: I. Allegro
00:12:28 Sonata No. 2 in E Major, Op. 4b: II. Allegretto
00:16:04 Sonata No. 3 in D Major, Op. 4b: I. Arpeggio
00:18:16 Sonata No. 3 in D Major, Op. 4b: II. Allegro spiritoso
00:27:48 Sonata No. 3 in D Major, Op. 4b: III. Allegro “la caccia”
00:32:15 Sonata No. 4 in G Major, Op. 4b: I. Allegro
00:39:36 Sonata No. 4 in G Major, Op. 4b: II. Allegretto grazioso
00:43:50 Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 4b: I. Allegro maestoso
00:53:34 Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 4b: II. Minuet
00:57:32 Sonata No. 6 “col violino obbligato” in G Major, Op. 4b: I. Andante non troppo
01:04:39 Sonata No. 6 “col violino obbligato” in G Major, Op. 4b: II. Allegro
01:10:50 Sonata No. 6 “col violino obbligato” in G Major, Op. 4b: III. Allegro

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