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8.572494 - Takako Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreens, Vol. 7

Takako Nishizaki plays
Suzuki Evergreens • Volume 7


A work by the early eighteenth-century English composer Henry Eccles opens the seventh volume of the Takako Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreens. Relatively little is known about Eccles, who seems to have belonged to a family with other members involved in music. He was later in the service of the French ambassador to London, the Duke d’Aumont, and is subsequently recorded as living in Paris. He published two sets of violin sonatas in which he borrowed widely from other composers, notably and identifiably from the Italian composer Valentini, but without acknowledgement. His Sonata in G minor is familiar in various forms, its version for violin and piano known widely from an edition prepared in the early twentieth century. The sonata follows the pattern of the baroque sonata da chiesa (church sonata), with an opening slow movement followed by a particularly lively Allegro con spirito. A second slow movement, marked Adagio, is capped by a final Vivace.

A native of Liège, André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry developed an interest in comic opera during a period of four years spent in Rome at the Collège de Liège and, on the advice of Voltaire, established himself in Paris in 1767, winning almost immediate success there. He held a leading position in French opéra comique until personal losses and the demands of the Revolution brought his career virtually to an end. He survived, however, to receive the honour that was his due.

It was with instrumental compositions that Grétry first captured interest in Liège. Some string quartets survive, and at least one symphony. The Tambourin had its origin in a folk-dance for pipe and tabor and found a more sophisticated place in French theatrical and concert entertainment. Grètry’s Tambourin is taken from his 1789 opera Aspasie.

During the period between 1717 and 1723 that Johann Sebastian Bach spent in charge of music at the court of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, he was able to give attention to secular instrumental music, in the absence of any requirement for church music. The F major Largo included here is taken from the third of his three Sonatas for Unaccompanied Violin, the Sonata in C major, BWV 1005. The chords and notes belonging to an implied accompaniment in the original have been omitted and replaced by a discreet piano accompaniment. The following Allegro is the first movement of the Sonata in E minor for violin and continuo, BWV 1023, written in Weimar, where Bach served in the court musical establishment, before moving to Cöthen. The rapid semiquavers of the violin continue over a sustained bass note, with additional accompanying notes provided by the keyboard player.

The name of Gaetano Pugnani is familiar to all violinists through Kreisler’s famous pastiche, the Praeludium and Allegro ascribed to him. A pupil of Somis in Turin, Pugnani won esteem there, with court appointments, before concert appearances took him to Paris and to London, to the Concerts spirituels in the former and the concerts organized by J.C. Bach and C.F. Abel in the latter city. After a period in Turin he resumed concert tours, now with his pupil Viotti. He died in Turin in 1798, shortly before the occupation of the city by the French and the dissolution of the royal musical establishment. Pugnani wrote operas, ballet music and cantatas. His instrumental music includes violin concertos and overtures, with a variety of chamber music in which he explored the new possibilities of changing styles. The Largo espressivo, a sonata movement, gives a chance for fine legato playing. Born in Florence in 1690, the Italian composer and violinist Veracini enjoyed an international career as a performer, appearing at important events in Venice and in London before being engaged for some years at the court in Dresden, where his appointment excited jealousy among other musicians. He appeared intermittently in London, where he was also associated with opera. His final years were spent once more in Florence. Veracini was among the leading violinists of his time, but generally seems to have preferred independence to wealth. The best known of his compositions for the violin are the twelve Sonate accademiche of 1744, an original contribution to the repertoire, and perhaps still more the Concerto-Sonata in E minor, a traditional element in any violinist’s training. This relatively demanding work is in the form of a chamber sonata, with five movements. The first of these, Ritornello, marked Largo, starts with a dramatic piano introduction, followed by the cantabile entry of the violin with the melodythat is the basis of the movement. This is followed by a dashing second movement, marked Allegro con fuoco. The third movement, in E major, is a relatively leisurely Menuet, with short-long Lombard rhythm in its melody. The original minor key returns for the Gavotte which serves as a contrasting Trio section to the Menuet, a movement that is sometimes repeated. The sonata ends, as a dance suite generally does, with a compound metre Giga.

Keith Anderson

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