Sinfonia No.2, con oboi, corni e viole obbligate
(Edited by Alessio Bacci, TESORI MUSICALI TOSCANI Series)DVDTMT 20622 32 Pages Neoclassic
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(b Pistoia, 22 June 1684; d Pistoia, 6 Oct 1762). Italian composer. His father, Domenico, was a trombonist at Pistoia Cathedral from 1684. Francesco studied music at Bologna in his youth, taking violin lessons from Torelli and lessons in counterpoint (at that time virtually synonymous with composition) from Perti. Shortly before 1700 he left for Ferrara, probably because of the dissolution of the S Petronio orchestra in 1696. In Ferrara he became first violinist at the church of the Holy Spirit. On returning to Bologna in 1703 he joined the reconstituted orchestra, initially as an occasional violinist and from 1709 to 1711 as a regular member. In 1704 he was admitted as a player (suonatore) to the Accademia Filarmonica. His first publication, a set of 12 chamber sonatas entitled ‘Concertini’, dates from the same year. There is evidence of a visit, or at least a planned visit, to Venice in February 1707, for the accidental death by drowning of his colleague Giuseppe Aldrovandini occurred as he was on his way to join Manfredini before the latter’s departure.
In 1711 Manfredini became attached to the court of the music-loving Antoine I Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, where he was active as a composer and performer of instrumental music. Five children were born to him in the principality between 1712 and 1723. During this period he maintained close contact with, and perhaps sometimes visited, Bologna, where his op.3 concertos were published in 1718 and two oratorios were performed a little later. In 1724 he moved to Pistoia to become maestro di cappella at the cathedral. During his tenure of this post, which lasted until his death, he emerged successful from many disputes with the cathedral chapter and with the musicians under him. In Pistoia Manfredini had the opportunity to continue his activity as a composer of oratorios, which were performed at local churches, in addition to writing many sacred works for liturgical use at the cathedral and elsewhere.
Although Manfredini was clearly a prolific composer, only his published instrumental music, together with a handful of other instrumental works in manuscript, survives. The loss of his nine known oratorios is especially unfortunate. His idiom is firmly Bolognese in character and resembles that of Torelli, B.G. Laurenti, Perti and other members of the school associated with S Petronio, though his music lacks the stamp of a forceful personality and in that respect is inferior to Torelli’s. Venetian influence has been discerned in his use of unison writing, and the op.3 concertos did not go unmarked by Vivaldi, despite their greater debt to Torelli. The ending of both the op.2 Sinfonie da chiesa and the op.3 concertos with a Christmas pastorale (whose Torellian antecedent is only too patent) deserves mention. These so-called ‘sinfonie’, with an optional viola part, are ordinary church sonatas; the ‘solo’ or ‘soli’ cues in the violin parts merely tell the player that his part is momentarily exposed. The best of Manfredini’s instrumental works are the six sonatas published in London in 1764 (but not necessarily composed late in the composer’s life). These are worthy examples of the ‘mixed’ type of sonata juxtaposing church and chamber elements that became normal after 1700.