Nicolò Jommelli (1714-1774) · Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) · Giovanni Maria Rutini (1723-1797)
The four-handed music for harpsichord
Among practices distinguishing the European music scene in the second half of the eighteenth century, the performance of music for two players on the same keyboard is certainly one of the more remarkable and, in some ways, significant examples. The rendition of a four-handed piece on the harpsichord or the fortepiano can be considered an example of the direction that music of the second half of the eighteenth century was about to take: light-hearted, convivial, and educational, in which quality existed alongside the intention to satisfy the new “galant” tastes of the aristocracy, as well as the needs of the rising middle class. The four-handed genre becomes, in this regard, an ideal setting to express the new musical feeling. Four hands can double possibilities and exploit the keyboard’s full range. The search for expressivity is maintained by combining extended melodies with arpeggios or broken chords. In the case of performance on the harpsichord, the increased opportunity to “mix” the stops facilitates the search for unexplored colors and contrasts.On a historical copy of the famous harpsichord maker Martin Sassmann, Alberto Firrincieli and Mario Stefano Tonda perform the singular repertoire that sees protagonists Nicolò Jommelli, Muzio Clementi and Giovanni Maria Rutini, in these compositions reflecting their different peculiarities.