Early Music Review
October 2004, No. 103
Valentini Sonata ‘La Montanari in A (violin and continuo) edited by Michael Talbot. Edition HH111.fsp, 2004. Score & parts.
Vinaccesi Two Cantatas (Bass voice continuo) edited by Michael Talbot. Edition HH (HH 35 100), 2004. Score & parts.
Apart from the alphabetic proximity and nationality of the composers, these two editions have in common their distinguished editor. Giuseppe Valentini (1681-1753) is the more recent, a Florentine violinist who freelanced in Rome and was the third in the pecking order (after Matteo Fornari and Montanari) for leader of ad hoe bands there after the death of Corelli. This sonata survives in Dresden be title and was once considered to be by Antonio Montanari, the most favoured violinist of the three Pisendel possibly studied with him in 1717, which explains the link with Dresden. There are several reasons for assuming that it is by Valentini, argued persuasively in the lengthy introduction. The sonata has five movements, three of them dances. The first two movements (Preludio and Allemanda) strike me as stronger than the rest.
Talbot’s book on Vinaccesi (c.1666-1719) was a model of how to write a life-and-works study of a minor (or for that matter a major) composer. It has taken a further decade to get any of his music in print and we have here two of his cantatas for bass, from MS rather than his printed works; the remaining six cantatas will follow from the same publisher. They are not exceptionally virtuosic nor expansive in range, so won’t stretch the curious amateur singer too much. They are certainly worth singing, and audience-friendly in being rather more compact than the form was to become by the turn of the century. There is an excellent introduction on why bass cantatas are so rare. I hope Edition HH and Green Man Press will liaise to avoid duplication in their interest in cantatas for bass.
We are grateful to the editor of Early Music Review for permission to reproduce this review.