Bonporti: Sonatas op. 1 for 2 violins and B. C.

Labirinti Armonici
Brilliant Classics 95966

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As a talented amateur like Marcello and Albinoni, Bonporti was able to afford himself a degree of creative freedom in his compositions. This is apparent in these imaginative and original trio sonatas, in which he gradually abandons the conventional concept of the sonata da chiesa and adopts a more ‘modern’ chamber style with elements of the concerto grosso contrast between ‘solo’ and ‘tutti’ episodes, which he would have observed in Corelli’s 1694 trio sonatas. It is also interesting to observe in the course of Bonporti’s op. 1 the gradual emancipation of the bass into a sort of basso concertato, participating more and more actively in the melodic interest. The printed part-books appeared in 1696, within two years of the Corelli, and the publication was probably aimed at a small circle of intellectuals in Trent who could appreciate the modernity and subtlety of Bonporti’s talent. Unfortunately, Bonporti’s family never seem to have appreciated his musical talents, and, as he died without children, he had no-one to pass his compositional skills on to. It is by sheer chance, though also a mark of their quality, that Bonporti’s op. 10 inventions for violin, cello and harpsichord or lute were mistakenly published as works by Bach, ensuring that some attention fell on him as a composer when the error was discovered. The present performances bring out the originality and charm of these early compositions of Bonporti, approaching his music with an engaging freshness and open-mindedness, which brings the music vividly to life.

D. James Ross

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