VISIT WESTCORKMUSIC.IE

LATEST ADDITION TO THE ARCHIVE

Sonata No.16 a tre violini

Giovanni Battista Fontana (b. 1589 - d. 1630)

Concerto Copenhagen (photo credit: Henrik Sorensen)

Concerto Copenhagen (photo credit: Henrik Sorensen)

Composer
Giovanni Battista Fontana (b. 1589 - d. 1630)
Composition Year
1571
Artists
Fredrik Bock [lute], Kate Hearne [cello], Antina Hugosson [violin], Fredrik From [violin], Peter Spissky [violin]

Programme Note Writer:
© Kate Hearne

Little is known about the life of the virtuoso violinist and composer Fontana. He was born in Brescia around 1589, and it is thought that he died from the plague in Padua in 1630. His only surviving compositions are collected in a memorial anthology published posthumously in Venice in 1641, comprising of 6 sonatas for solo violin and continuo and 12 ensemble sonatas for one to three violins and continuo. Although none of the works can be firmly dated, they represent the sonata composition from its beginnings until about 1630, showing Fontana to be a leading figure in the early development of the form. We can only assume that his works were widely played and were well enough regarded to warrant the publication. Copyright laws did not exist in the 17th century, and many references and exact quotations of Castello’s music can be found in Fontana’s sonatas. Although this may leave some doubt about whether all these works are by Fontana’s hand, it is more likely that he met or played with Castello in Venice and admired his work enough so as to quote him out of respect.

The sonata for three violins presents melodic material related to that found in the dances and canzonas of the period, juxtaposed by the new stile moderno, which he presents to us in a solo for the third violin, full of jazzy cross rhythms, expressive ornaments and sudden harmonic changes. This through composed sonata is a prime example of Fontana’s abilities to present quite conservative material against more wayward harmonies and free recitative-like writing in a very convincing and coherent fashion.

FULL DETAILS SEARCH FOR MORE

Sonata No.16 a tre violini

Composer: Giovanni Battista Fontana (b. 1589 - d. 1630)
Performance date: Sunday 29th June 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

Share on Twitter | Share on Facebook
http://archive.westcorkmusic.ie/details/view/cmf/357

Composer Giovanni Battista Fontana (b. 1589 - d. 1630)
Work Title Sonata No.16 a tre violini
Composition Year 1571
Artist(s) Fredrik Bock [lute], Kate Hearne [cello], Antina Hugosson [violin], Fredrik From [violin], Peter Spissky [violin]
Performance Date Sunday 29th June 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:05:05
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Small Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation 3vn, vc, lu
Programme Note Writer © Kate Hearne

Little is known about the life of the virtuoso violinist and composer Fontana. He was born in Brescia around 1589, and it is thought that he died from the plague in Padua in 1630. His only surviving compositions are collected in a memorial anthology published posthumously in Venice in 1641, comprising of 6 sonatas for solo violin and continuo and 12 ensemble sonatas for one to three violins and continuo. Although none of the works can be firmly dated, they represent the sonata composition from its beginnings until about 1630, showing Fontana to be a leading figure in the early development of the form. We can only assume that his works were widely played and were well enough regarded to warrant the publication. Copyright laws did not exist in the 17th century, and many references and exact quotations of Castello’s music can be found in Fontana’s sonatas. Although this may leave some doubt about whether all these works are by Fontana’s hand, it is more likely that he met or played with Castello in Venice and admired his work enough so as to quote him out of respect.

The sonata for three violins presents melodic material related to that found in the dances and canzonas of the period, juxtaposed by the new stile moderno, which he presents to us in a solo for the third violin, full of jazzy cross rhythms, expressive ornaments and sudden harmonic changes. This through composed sonata is a prime example of Fontana’s abilities to present quite conservative material against more wayward harmonies and free recitative-like writing in a very convincing and coherent fashion.