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G 12.034 CoverGiuseppe Sammartini (1695–1750)
Three Sonatas (Ms. Parma 4, 13, 16)

for alto recorder and basso continuo
Edited by Laura Dalla Libera
Realization of the thorough bass by Eckhart Kuper

Girolamo G 12.034, score and 2 parts, € 22,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-056-5

sample page

G 12.033 G 12.035




Giuseppe Sammartini was born 1695 in Milan. He probably received his musical training from his father, the French oboist Alexis Saint-Martin. He embarked early on his musical career performing as oboist in Novara in 1711. In 1720 he was listed as oboist in the orchestra of the Teatro Regio Ducale in Milan. His good reputation as an oboe virtuoso1 and composer2 had already spread before he decided to leave for London in 1728, following the example of many Italian composers of his time. Here he performed, amongst many other musical activities, as soloist in the orchestra of the King's Theatre under George Frederick Handel. Later Sammartini was appointed "Musick Master" at the house of Frederick, Prince of Wales, remaining in this post until his death in 1750.3

It is likely that Sammartini – just as his father and according to instrumental performance practise of the time – could master all woodwind instruments including the recorder and traverso. Sammartini wrote numerous works for both of these instruments that have been handed down to us as printed collections or as manuscripts.

The three sonatas presented here originate from the manuscript "Sinfonie / di / Giuseppe S. Martino", which is kept in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma (Signature: Sanv. D.1). This manuscript belongs to a collection of seven manuscripts from the first half of the 18th century containing original works and adaptations for recorder. The collection represents the personal repertoire of Paolo Antonio Parensi4, a noble flute lover5 from Lucca.

The Sammartini manuscript6 comprises 17 sonatas "à Flauto solo e Basso" of which twelve do not correspond to any of his other works, the three sonatas presented here included7. Like most of the sonatas in the manuscript, they are composed in the modern three-movement style (fast-slow-fast). The slow movements, two of which bear the inscription "Andante", are characterized by their broad lyricism, expressive melodies and are both embedded in parallel keys. The fast movements show the essential features of Sammartini's style and stir up recollections of the famous F major concerto for descant recorder.

Burgdorf, October 2012, Laura Dalla Libera


1) In his autobiography J. J. Quantz, who stayed in Milan in 1726, mentions "the good oboist San Martino" (see F. W. Marpurg, "Historisch-Kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik", Vol. I, p. 235–236, Berlin 1754/55).
2) In 1727 before Sammartini arrived in London, Walsh & Hare had already published twelve of his trio sonatas (most likely under the title "Dodeci sonate a tre, cioè due flauti o violini e basso", see Marcello Castellani in "Sonate à Solo, et a due … di Giuseppe Sammartini, op. I", SPES, Florence 1994); this first edition has disappeared.
3) "Last week died at his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, Signior S. Martini, Musick Master to her Royal Highness and thought to be the finest performer on the hautboy in Europe" (Whitehall Evening Post, November 24th, 1750). J. Hawkins refers to him as "the greatest (oboist) that the world had ever known".
4) Five manuscripts of this collection have the inscription "Di / Paolo Ant.o Parensi".
5) See Nicola Sansone in: "Robert Valentine, 12 Sonate, Vol. I", Ut Orpheus Edizioni, Bologna 2009.
6) In this Sammartini manuscript the inscription "Di / Paolo Ant.o Parensi" is missing.
7) The correspondence of five sonatas from Parma with sonatas from the Sibley-manuscript and Sammartini's opus II has been corroborated by Richard Platt in: "6 Sonatas for treble recorder and basso continuo", Faber, London 1983.

Translation: Julia Whybrow