Nardini, Pietro: Tre Sonate per flauto, violino e basso continuo


  • Composer(s): Pietro Nardini
  • Edition: Da Vinci Edition, TMT-Tesori Musicali Toscani
  • Format: A4 - Paperback
  • Genre: Chamber
  • Instrumentation: Flute, Violin
  • Pages: 40
  • Period: Romantic
  • ISMN: 9790216211369
SKU: DVTMT 20660 Category:

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Pietro Nardini: (b Livorno, 12 April 1722; d Florence, 7 May 1793). Italian violinist and composer. He displayed an early musical talent and received his first lessons in the town of his birth. In 1734 he was accepted as a pupil of Tartini in Padua and soon became his favourite student (according to Leoni and Burney). He then undertook an intensive programme of teaching and giving public and private concerts, for which he often went abroad for long periods. In 1760 he was in Vienna at the wedding festivities of the crown prince; from October 1762 until March 1765 he served at the court in Stuttgart under the direction of Jommelli, returning to his own country only for short visits; in 1765 he went to Brunswick, and in May 1766 he returned to Livorno. Two years later he was appointed solo violinist, and later music director, at the chapel of the court of the Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany in Florence, where he remained until his death. The Florentine orchestra was made up of eminent musicians, including Campioni and Dôthel, who helped raise the musical and cultural level of the town: Nardini, for example, was a close friend of the poet Corilla Olimpica-Maddalena Morelli, and was himself a member of the Arcadia under the name of Terpandro Lacedemone. His one absence from Florence was during Tartini’s final illness, when, according to Burney, he cared for the dying maestro with true filial affection and tenderness.

Nardini was famed not only for his orchestral playing but also for his solo performances, which he gave until the 1790s. He performed at the court of Ferdinand III of Bourbons in Naples, in Rome at the Gonzaga residence and in Pisa in the presence of Emperor Joseph II in 1784. His compositions reflect his abilities as a performer. He was noted for his perfect technique, excellent bow control and a superb sound. Leopold Mozart heard him play in 1763 and remarked: ‘The beauty, purity and evenness of his tone and his cantabile cannot be surpassed’. He was particularly famed for his performance of adagio movements, which were more suited to his lyrical rather than dramatic nature. According to Schubart, he managed to move even the most insensitive listeners by the deep emotions expressed so effortlessly and naturally. His compositions, accordingly, combine two traits typical of the Italian style in the 18th century: cantabile and passionate writing in slow movements and fluency in fast ones.

It is difficult to establish a chronology of Nardini’s works, which include larger-scale works and chamber music for flute, strings and harpsichord. Stylistically they seem to fall into three main periods. 12 violin sonatas and four violin concertos, all unpublished, and the six sonatas op.5 and concertos op.1 date from about 1760. The overtures, harpsichord sonatas and Adagios brodés were composed about 1765–6, while the six quartets, other violin sonatas and the flute concertos were written after 1770. The sonatas show the influence of Corelli and Tartini, and mainly follow the sequence slow–fast–fast. The tonality remains the same for all three movements, which normally have a bipartite structure. The first allegro is often bithematic and the most developed, whereas the last movement is usually a dance, rondo or set of variations. The adagio movements, which are generally in free form, are the most lyrical. The concertos, although influenced by Tartini, are written in the order fast–slow–fast. Less well known are Nardini’s works for flute, which reveal his excellent knowledge of the instrument and display the same deep emotion found in his works for the violin. His overtures were much influenced by Jommelli, while the simple and musically attractive harpsichord sonatas are indebted to Alberti and Pasquali. The string quartets differ most from Tartini’s works in their structure, phrase syntax, thematic invention, development of ideas, dynamic contrast, characterization of parts and emancipation of the basso continuo. Nardini’s disciples included Gaetano Brunetti, Cambini, Campagnoli, Giulini, Gozzi, Lucchesi and Manfredi in Italy and Joseph Agus, Thomas Linley (ii), Pichl and F.W. Rust abroad.