An all time first: a box set, over 4 CDs, of the complete Sonatas for harpsichord composed by Giovanni Benedetto Platti (Padua 1697 – Wuerzburg 1763).
Among the five Sonatas in this first CD, there are examples of works that come at both ends of the spectrum of technical difficulty, allowing us to see all of the expressive capabilities of the instrument. These Sonatas demonstrate all the modern techniques typical of keyboard instruments, as well as some ‘special effects’ that, in the case of Giovanni Benedetto, reminding us that this maestro was schooled in several sectors of practice of the eighteenth century music. Generally speaking, regarding the tempo, the first thing that emerges immediately is a marked vivacity and an ardent sense of invention that Torrefranca described as rhythmic impressionism. As to form, a variety of models and structures are used. The first Sonatas offer a four movement cycle and diverse pieces, mostly in a monothematic form. Nonetheless, in the overall corpus of these admirable harpsichord works, all possible prototypes of the modern sonata form are present. In fact both bipartite and tripartite structures are present, both monothematic and bithematic, often with elaborated segments of varying length, depending on the sonata and, of course, to the expressive, sometimes dramatic, sense of the composition.
One of the more significant elements of Platti’s pieces for harpsichord is his extraordinarily elegant sense of musical instrumental color, as demonstrated through the use of sophisticated, splendid, and effective blending of tones. It is a marvelous combination of old techniques contrasting with modern techniques borrowed from the chamber sonatas for strings and the Italian schools for keyboard instruments.
Essentially the texture is in two parts, nonetheless there are a number of harmonically rich and dense passages that recall the concerto grosso of the Venetian School. The performance of the Sonatas in this recording is mostly based on the edition appended to the aforementioned opus by Torrefranca, currently still the most complete as it was at that time, subject to modern scientific editorial criteria.
(from the booklet by Filippo E. Ravizza)
Artwork: Gianluca Corona, Mela, 2002, oil on canvas
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