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Giovanni Antonio Piani (1678–1760) was one of the most important violinists of the Baroque and his reputation, today, rests upon the surviving 12 sonatas of his Op.1 set published in 1712 (all his other works are lost). In an unusually long and detailed preface to the sonatas, Piani provided highly detailed instructions on bowing, fingering, dynamics, ornamentation and tempi. In effect, this is the most detailed instruction manual for students of the Baroque violin and the performance practice of the day. Piani worked in Paris and Vienna, and is one of the key figures in the French violin school from Lully to Viotti.
Emilio Percan, a member of l’arte del mondo (ONYX4068), has programmed four Piani sonatas with two contemporary London-based masters – Geminiani and Handel, whose late and great Sonata in D is a masterwork of the late Baroque. Piani’s music is beautifully crafted and melodic and his works on this CD are receiving their world premiere recordings whilst Percan’s advocacy of these superb and little-known sonatas should be of interest to those who love Baroque music.
“Percan is an extremely capable violinist. Playing a modern Baroque-style instrument by Johannes Loescher, he makes a fine, bright, ringing tone, and many of the quicker movements sound brilliant and inspiriting. But I miss the close engagement with details of phrasing...One can imagine Piani's music appearing more strongly engaging, then, but Percan has certainly shown us how worthwhile and effective it is.”
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