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Veracini overtures v3 5552412
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Francesco Maria VERACINI (1609-1768)
Overtures and Concerti - Volume 3
Overture V in B-flat major (1716) [14:42]
Sonata Op 1/VI in E minor (1721) [19:30]
Sonata III in D minor (Dresden 1716) [11:39]
Overture IV in F major (1716) [11:42]
L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo (violin)
rec. 21-23 February 2018, Gabinetto di Lettura, Este, Padua, Italy
Hybrid SACD 5.1 surround/stereo
Reviewed in surround sound.
CPO 555 241-2 [57:43]

This disc completes the recordings of Veracini’s Six Overtures from 1716. Though labelled “Overtures and Concerti”, it contains no concerti, just two overtures and two violin sonatas. The first volume of the series dates back to 2009. Volumes 2 and 3 were recorded in 2018 and published in 2019 and 2021. All have been issued as multichannel SACDs; which we should thank CPO for. They are not the only recordings of these Overtures, but such is the quality of performance and recording that they must be treated as the best.

All the discs are accompanied by detailed notes and extended essays, much needed for Veracini’s music not because it is hard to listen to, far from it, but because he remains an obscure figure. As was often the case, Francesco was one of a family of musicians but only one relative, his uncle Antonio Veracini, appears in the history books as a composer. He taught Francesco to play the violin, and the two played together on many occasions. He must have been well taught because even Tartini was sufficiently impressed to practice more after hearing Francesco play. Francesco Veracini went on to teach Locatelli, possibly the most skilful virtuoso of that era.

The two Overture-Suites have slow introductions followed by a series of four or five dance movements. They are considerably shorter than those of Telemann or J. S. Bach, and rather more predictable in structure: Veracini was prone to repetition rather than significant variation of his ideas. But this music scores high as entertainment, aided considerably by the extraordinarily skilful playing of L’Arte dell’Arco and their director Federico Gugliemo.

The E minor Sonata for violin and continuo is a charming work with a soulful Pastorale third movement and a fully worked out Giga finale complete with interestingly unpredictable echo effects. The earlier D minor Sonata is stylistically different, more under the influence of Corelli. The two largo movements are attractive, essentially conventional, but both fast movements have a dancelike quality closer to the dances of the Overtures.

Dave Billinge

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