In spite of his family’s playing card manufacturing business that prohibited him from earning the status of a professional musician, Albinoni was in fact regarded as one of Europe’s best instrumental and secular vocal music composers during his own lifetime.
With many an opera numbering his prolific output, the Italian’s close involvement with this style was to have a marked influence on his instrumental works – where gradually unfolding and beautifully shaped melodic lines are the most characteristic feature.
The twelve sonatas comprising Op.6 were written during the period 1694–1735 in which Albinoni produced nine collections of instrumental pieces. Originally composed for violin and entitled Trattenimenti armonici per camera, the works were dedicated to the music-loving Venetian nobleman Giovanni Franceso Zeno and subsequently handed over to the Dutch publisher Estienne Roger in Amsterdam. That they appear on this Newton Classics’ release as flute sonatas should not come as a surprise; indeed, due to the rapid growth of interest among amateurs in the playing of woodwind instruments during the 1700s – particularly in northern Europe – the practice of arranging works became increasingly commonplace.
With an overall use of varied keys and dance-forms, as well as each sonata exhibiting the same four-movement ‘fast-slow-fast-slow’ pattern, Op.6 is a delightful collection that has been sensitively arranged here according to 18th-century practice. The clarity of the flute serving well the linear nature of the original upper violin part, Balestracci and Rambaldi’s interpretation is a worthwhile addition to the discography of Albinoni’s instrumental sonatas.
Recorded in 2003
Click here for alternative recordings of this work.