Antonio Caldara (1670-1736)
Chamber Sonatas op. 2 · Cello Sonatas
Antonio Caldara was born in Venice in around 1670. His father, Giuseppe, violinist and theorbo player in the ducal chapel of the basilica of St. Mark’s, was probably Antonio’s first music teacher. Although no certain testimony exists, it is likely that Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690), maestro di cappella at St. Mark’s until 1690, gave valuable lessons in composition to the young Caldara who, in 1689, at the mere age of nineteen, produced his first opera, L’Argene. Equally precocious as an instrumentalist, he was also hired in the same chapel of St. Mark’s, where both his father and Giovanni Legrenzi were employed. In the payrolls for the musicians, preserved in the Archivio di Stato in Venice, his name appears more than once between 1688 and 1695, both as a player of the “viola da spalla” and the “violoncino”. While there are composers whose names are today quite famous but who were little known during their lifetimes, in the case of Antonio Caldara the opposite is true. Above all in the last twenty years of his life, which ended in Vienna in 1736, he enjoyed - and rightfully so - enormous success, while the development of music history has seen his imagine fade inexplicably. Alongside a vast production of vocal music, his only significant instrumental works are two collections of trio sonatas “a due violini col basso” op. 1 and 2, written and published during his youth, as well as these “sonate a violoncello solo col basso”, composed in 1735, a year before his death.