Torelli, Giuseppe: Sonata vl, vc, bc.
Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709) is today best known for his concertos for strings, in which genre he was a pioneer, and for his music with solo trumpet. In his own day, however, he was equally productive as a composer for small-scale ensembles, which is to say primarily of sonatas. A little-known manuscript in the British Library contains one of only two known sonatas by him for violin, obbligato cello and continuo. In this rare type of sonata the cello becomes a full partner to the violin (which one could liken to a second violin playing an octave lower than usual) rather than an adjunct to the continuo line. The four-movement sonata in A in London, which the immigrant musician Johann Christoph Pepusch may have acquired from Torelli in Berlin just before journeying to England in 1697, is an exciting piece offering much opportunity for virtuosic display, often in dialogue form, by both violin and cello. One realizes, reading or playing this work, how much Bach and other Germans owed to Torelli, of whose inventive music they had knowledge a good ten or twenty years before Vivaldi arrived on the scene. | Full score and parts (xii/13+3x4)