Wolfgang Brunner

Lodovico Giustini: Sonate da cimbalo di piano e forte

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The six sonatas included on this release must be among the most obscure of genuine musical milestones: published in Florence in 1732, they are taken from the first volume of printed music specifically intended for the clavicembalo col piano e forte, later known as the fortepiano and eventually, with modifications, as the piano. The new instrument of Bartolomeo Cristofori had been around for several decades, and there may have been prior music written with its sound in mind, but none has survived, and the next pieces indicating a fortepiano didn't come along for another 30 years. Composer Lodovico Giustini, was an obscure church musician in the town of Pistoia, near Florence, and he got the commission for these works through a series of events, described in the booklet, that could be summed up with the statement that he was in the right place at the right time. The best news is that Giustini acquitted himself well in unfamiliar territory. He only occasionally exploits the new instrument's unique capability with loud-soft contrasts (the lines of the Dolce movement of the Suonata 11 in E major, track 13, are among the examples), but despite the contention of annotator Gerd Reuther that Giustini was "certainly not an avantgardist" there is much about the sonatas that is fresh, and it's almost as though the unusual medium stimulated the composer to innovations in other realms as well. Each sonata is in four or five movements. The harmonic moves of the binary forms of each individual movement are underscored with thematic or textural events, and the feel of the whole is lively and "pianistic." Domenico Scarlatti was part of the milieu in which these pieces originated, and despite the difference in large-scale plan they seem like works he might have known. Indeed, the playing by German keyboardist Wolfgang Brunner and the instrument he plays, a very clean-sounding modern reproduction of one of Cristofori's 1720s fortepianos, make a strong case for the contention that people ought to try Scarlatti on a fortepiano more often. Well worth hearing, these are inexplicably neglected works. Booklet notes are given in German, French, and English.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Suonata 1 in G minor
1 3:00
2 2:08
3 3:06
4 1:42
5 1:16
Suonata 2 in C minor
6 4:58
7 2:06
8 3:24
9 1:58
10 1:49
Suonata 7 in G major
11 4:27
12 2:17
13 3:45
14 2:30
Suonata 8 in A major
15 3:20
16 2:29
17 2:21
18 2:42
Suonata 10 in F minor
19 3:42
20 1:14
21 2:51
22 2:07
Suonata 11 in E major
23 2:44
24 2:03
25 2:12
26 2:22
27 2:17
blue highlight denotes track pick