For reasons that are unclear, the Italian composer Stefano Golinelli (1818–1891) has long been consigned to the outer reaches of musical history. Yet in his lifetime he was far from unknown and unrecognised: at just 19, he was elected to the celebrated Accademia Filarmonica Bolognese and had already begun a successful career as a virtuoso pianist across Europe. At 22, on Rossini’s recommendation, he was made chair of the piano department at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, and over a long life he earned the regard not only of Rossini but of other eminent composers, including Schumann and Busoni.
On this path-breaking CD, the acclaimed virtuoso Francesco Giammarco makes a compelling case for a reappraisal of Golinelli. His programme centres on the two sonatas Opp. 30 and 53. The first is notable for the its innovative first movement (with its astonishingly coda), while Op.53 (dedicated to Thalberg), with its Chopinesque scherzo, is one of Golinelli’s most well-crafted and imposing works.