In short, these are authoritative and commanding performances of bold if at times quirky music that no enthusiastic connoisseur of the period can afford to miss. Outstanding’ Gramophone reviewing the original release in December 1994.
When no less a composer than Tartini feels threatened by the virtuosity and huge personality of a colleague, then you know that the person in question must have been a considerable musical talent and presence.
Francesco Maria Veracini was the composer in question. Born in 1690, his life was one of travel, huge successes, bitter disappointments, violent quarrels, and an attempt at suicide (which left him crippled) after a row with the German composer Pisendel, who harboured some unpleasant anti Italian views. He died in 1768. The six Overtures date from 1716 and they rank as some of the most extraordinary works for orchestra of the Venetian school. At the time of their composition, Veracini was working as the court composer and violinist in Dresden – it was this position that he left after the row with Pisendel and his cohorts.
Frustrated at the time that many found his music to modern and difficult, he had had a rough time during a visit to London as he was unable to compete with Handel’s monopoly of opera in the city, and Geminiani’s domination of instrumental music. Feeling discouraged and somewhat bitter, he returned to Florence and remained there until his death. His music takes the baroque sonata to the limit, and goes some way to laying the foundation of the coming classical style. These Overtures can be considered as the ultimate in baroque orchestral writing in their inventiveness, richness of scoring and contrapuntal and polyphonic dexterity. ‘by travelling all over Europe he formed a style of playing peculiar to himself’ Charles Burney on Veracini.
MP3 320 · 154 MB