Geminiani: Pièces de clavecin

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COMPOSERS: Geminiani
LABELS: Glossa
WORKS: Pièces de clavecin
PERFORMER: Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: GCD 921504
Corelli’s pupil Geminiani came to England in 1714 where he remained, apart from visits to Dublin, for the rest of his life. He established his reputation as a teacher, composer and virtuoso violinist, but we do not think of him in the context of the keyboard. Yet, in 1743 he issued his Pièces de clavecin in London, following the collection with another 20 years later. These were not wholly original pieces for the harpsichord but arrangements by Geminiani of music that he had earlier composed, mainly for violin and continuo. They are skilful adaptations in which the composer seems to identify himself wholeheartedly with the diverse keyboard idioms of the European continent. Several movements, among them one called ‘Amoureusement’, recall Rameau, while others, more virtuosic, bring to mind Domenico Scarlatti; and it is likely, too, that Geminiani would have known the eight Harpsichord Suites of his English contemporary Thomas Roseingrave who, like the other, divided his time between London and Dublin.

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Fabio Bonizzoni plays with vitality and expressive charm making out a strong case for hearing these pieces rather more often than we do. Geminiani’s later collection must surely follow, but meanwhile the present release can be warmly commended, not least for the light which it sheds upon a relatively unexposed aspect of Geminiani’s art. Nicholas Anderson