Born in 1763, Domenico Dragonetti stands as one of the most significant musicians of his day. A phenomenal bassist who was particularly renowned for his radical approach to bowing, he is credited with having raised the profile of the instrument from accompanist to soloist. This release focuses on a small but inspiring collection of his compositions.
All of the works featured are taken from the Venetian’s solo output and point towards a virtuosic talent previously unmatched. Containing many of Dragonetti’s favourite melodic and rhythmic ingredients, the pieces typically open with a lyrical exposition of a theme that is followed by a set of variations exploring the scale and arpeggio sequences as well as harmonics best suited to the Classical period’s three-stringed bass. The resulting effect of this formal approach is a deft negotiation of the instrument’s warm sonority, beautifully complemented by the piano’s contrasting timbres, rhythmic interjections and impetus.
From the opening Danze sataniche to his gamesome waltz, listeners will be continually struck by Dragonetti’s skill at exploiting the expressive power of an instrument previously relegated to maintaining cohesion and establishing tempo. Michele Veronese and Luca Ferrini deliver consummate performances, ones that document an important aspect of instrumental history through detailing the music of a man whose influence on British musical life between 1794 and 1846 was profound.
Recorded in 1993.
New booklet notes by the musicologist and double bassist Fiona M. Palmer.