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This remarkable collection of 10 Passagagli, the only known composition by the Neapolitan string teacher Gaetano Francone (fl. 1688–1717), is a unique example of a virtuoso school for the cello, as well as an extraordinary source of knowledge on improvisation for scholars and for performers, on both baroque and modern instruments. Although the term ‘violoncello’ appears in the work’s title, the music indicates that the composer was writing for a non-standard instrument, one tuned a tone lower than the modern cello. To perform these works with the original left-hand position, today’s players should either adopt the Bb1–F–c–g tuning or transpose each work one tone higher. Francone’s method stands as precious testimony to the advanced technical level of cello playing in 17th-century Naples.
Music example (pdf)