Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Francesco Geminiani: The Complete Sonatas Op. 1


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 248-2
Release Date: 2012-05-01
Number of Discs: 2
EAN/UPC: 748871324824
Liner Notes

London Handel Players
Rachel Brown
recorder, flute 
Adrian Butterfield & Oliver Webber
Katherine Sharman
Laurence Cummings

The 250th Anniversary of Geminiani’s death this year has gone by almost unnoticed by other record labels and we at SOMM are particularly pleased to remedy this omission by releasing this beautiful double-CD slimline set of his 12 Op. 1 Violin Sonatas with the London Handel Players who already feature in several acclaimed Handel recordings in the SOMM catalogue.

Born in Lucca, in Tuscany, Geminiani studied with Lonati in Milan and then in Rome under the celebrated Arcangelo Corelli. It’s also possible that he studied composition with Alessandro Scarlatti whilst staying in Naples. He took up the position as Leader of the Opera Orchestra in Naples at the age of 24 and by this time he had become recognised as a talented violin virtuoso.

In 1714 he tried his fortune in England, where his brilliant violin playing immediately met with great success. London had, at that time, become  a major European music centre, thanks in part to Handel, who had himself studied in Rome under Corelli and thus brought a measure of Italian musical style with him. Geminiani gained much support from the aristocracy and leading figures at the Royal Court, and was invited to play the violin before George I, accompanied at the harpsichord by no less than Handel.

Geminiani’s Violin Sonatas Opus 1 were published privately in London in 1716 under the main title Sonate a violino, violone e cembalo. This version as well as the extensively revised second version re-appearing in 1739 with corrections and numerous new embellishments,  has much that relates it to Corelli’s 12 Sonatas Opus 5.

Geminiani’s first six sonatas clearly represent the sonata da chiesa type and the last six equally clearly that of the sonata da camera, just as in Corelli’s set of twelve. The Sonatas appeared yet again in a third incarnation in 1757. Whereas the first two versions shared the same forces, violin and basso continuo, the third version presents them in the form of trio sonatas, for two violins and basso continuo. With the trio versions which Geminiani revised and, in some instances, practically re-composed in this version, we are pretty far removed from the original sonatas of more than forty years ago.

The London Handel Players have performed a number of these sonatas over the last ten years and have cleverly selected examples from all three published versions, including re-arrangements of the Sonatas by the composer himself (Sonatas Nos. 4, 6 and 7 are re-arranged for solo harpsichord). We have also included examples of re-arrangements of the Op. 1 Sonatas by other composers, including Francesco Barsanti (Sonatas Nos. 10 and 11 re-arranged for 2 violins & basso continuo),and Pietro Chaboud (Sonata No. 10 arranged for flute and basso continuo) and a beautiful arrangement of Sonata No. 7 by an unknown musician,  arranged for treble recorder and basso continuo.

We hope that this premiere complete recording of Geminiani’s Op. 1 Sonatas will bring his delightful music to a wider audience, 250 years after his death.

On This Recording

  1. Violin Sonata: I. Adagio - Presto
  2. Violin Sonata: II. Allegro
  3. Violin Sonata: III. Grave -
  4. Violin Sonata: III. Allegro
  5. Sonata: I. Grave
  6. Sonata: II. Allegro
  7. Sonata: III. Adagio
  8. Sonata: IV. Allegro
  9. Sonata: I. Allegro - Adagio
  10. Sonata: II. Adagio
  11. Sonata: III. Allegro
  12. Violin Sonata: I. Adagio
  13. Violin Sonata: II. Allegro
  14. Violin Sonata: III. Grave
  15. Violin Sonata: IV. Allegro
  16. Allegro: Allegro in D Major (after Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 1, No. 4)
  17. Sonata: I. Affettuoso
  18. Sonata: II. Allegro moderato
  19. Sonata: III. Grave - Andante
  20. Sonata: IV. Allegro
  21. Violin Sonata in G Minor: I. Tendrement
  22. Violin Sonata in G Minor: II. Lentement
  23. Violin Sonata in G Minor: III. Vivement
  24. Sonata No. 6 for 2 Violins and Cello: I. Andante
  25. Sonata No. 6 for 2 Violins and Cello: II. Vivace
  26. Sonata No. 7: I. Grave
  27. Sonata No. 7: II. Allegro
  28. Sonata No. 7: III. Grave
  29. Sonata No. 7: IV. Gigue: Allegro
  30. Allegro: Allegro in C Minor (after Violin Sonata in C Minor, Op. 10, No. 7)
  31. Violin Sonata: I. Affettuoso
  32. Violin Sonata: II. Vivace
  33. Violin Sonata: III. Adagio
  34. Violin Sonata: IV. Vivace
  35. Violin Sonata: I. Vivace
  36. Violin Sonata: II. Andante
  37. Violin Sonata: III. Allegro
  38. Sonata: I. Largo - Andante
  39. Sonata: II. Andante
  40. Sonata: III. Allegro
  41. Sonata: I. Adagio
  42. Sonata: II. Allegro
  43. Sonata: III. Adagio
  44. Sonata: IV. Allegro
  45. Sonata: I. Adagio
  46. Sonata: II. Allegro
  47. Sonata: III. Adagio
  48. Sonata: IV. Allegro
  49. Sonata: I. Vivace
  50. Sonata: II. Affettuoso
  51. Sonata: III. Allegro
  52. Violin Sonata: I. Amoroso
  53. Violin Sonata: II. Allegro
  54. Violin Sonata: III. Allegro