Baldassare Galuppi wrote over 160 works for the harpsichord, slightly less than a third of those composed by Domenico Scarlatti, but still many more than most of his contemporaries, in the course of an engagement with the keyboard that lasted from the ages of 16 to 79. His Op.1 collection was published in London by Walsh in 1756. At the time the composer, who had lived in London between 1741 and 1743, was most widely appreciated for his operas, and the sonatas in Opus 1 are not an organic collection, but rather a compilation of various pieces, single- and multi-movement, conceived for instruments of different ranges, possibly including the organ.
The collection is thus representative of the range of styles and forms in keyboard compositions that Galuppi addressed and
mastered during the first part of his life. Listening to these sonatas today, and bearing in mind the fact that they were written prior to 1756 (some of them possibly several years earlier), when the great composers of the Baroque age were still alive, it is clear that Galuppi, along with others of his Italian contemporaries, had already taken the measure of the gallant style, thereby nudging keyboard music forward in its evolution towards the achievements of late 18th century classicism.
Andrea Chezzi’s previous album for Brilliant was a well-received recording of keyboard symphonies by CPE Bach (BC94839), made and released to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Most of the extant recordings of Galuppi’s sparkling sonatas were made on pianos of the kind the composer could never have heard; these historically informed recordings are all the more welcome for having been made on an Alberto Colzani copy (2000), of an original Goermans-Taskin harpsichord, now housed by the Russell Collection of Edinburgh.
Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785) was one of the most successful and famous composers of his time. A highly versatile composer, he covered basically every possible genre, from opera, sacred music, concertos to chamber and solo music. His greatest success was in opera: he was the “inventor” of the Opera Buffa, the comic opera so much in vogue in the 18th century. A commercial genius as well, he published his works all over Europe, making him a wealthy man.
Galuppi’s works mark the transition from the Baroque to the Classical Era. The Sonatas Opus 1 are varied in style and content, ranging from one movement to four movements, from relatively simple keyboard writing to virtuoso passages reminiscent of the sonatas by his contemporary Domenico Scarlatti. The style is charming, melodious and brilliant, perfect examples of the emerging “Galant Style” of the late 18th century.
Harpsichordist Andrea Chezzi is an excellent Italian musician and scholar, highly specialised in his field. His thorough understanding of the style and historical background of the repertoire is enhanced by with his deep love for the music he is playing. He wrote the liner notes for the CD himself.