During the 18th century it became common for Italian composers, whose principal instrument was not the keyboard, to produce collections of harpsichord music. It was, effectively, a chance to demonstrate versatility and bring one’s music to a wider audience, and Geminiani was one of several musicians to embrace this: hailed as one of the great violin virtuosos of his time, he also enjoyed a fruitful career as a composer, teacher and writer of music, and in 1743 published the first of his two contributions to the keyboard repertoire – Pièces de Clavecin.
This delightful collection is comprised of 14 movements, individually selected from the violin sonatas that make up Op.1 and Op.4. Unlike his Italian contemporaries who weren’t very concerned with alteration, Geminiani significantly revised each movement in order to create a fully idiomatic harpsichord piece – a trait typical of the French school and no doubt the result of many years spent in Paris.
History has not taken kindly to Geminiani’s music, which has been largely overshadowed by that of his more famous colleagues including Vivaldi. However, as this recording demonstrates, he was a composer capable of great originality and beauty. With Lanfranco’s intelligent and engaging performance, there is little doubt that the listener will be persuaded towards a greater appreciation of his music.
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