Felice Giardini (1716-1796)
Six Duets for two Violins Op. 2
It was in the mid-eighteen century London that the eclectic figure of Felice Giardini (or Degiardino: Turin, 1716 – Moscow, 1796) made his first appearance. He was a violin virtuoso with eye-catching executive skills, conductor, composer, impresario in contact with leading intellectuals. His musical production is multifaced. He experimented mainly with duet, trio, string quartet. His music is a perfect mixture of Italian and German tradition ( Johann Christian Bach, Johann Stamitz and Manheim School that has typical features of the “Style Galant”). Evidence of this can be found in the Six Duos for Two Violins Op. II (1751), dedicated to Prince Heinrich of Prussia. Giardini’s style is spontaneous, easy to listen to, characterised by freshness and lyricism cantabile, joyous naturalness and refinement. Generally, it appears to be an essential musical writing, coming back to the formal clarity and to the contrapuntal simplicity. It develops a great tonal sensibility, supported by a dynamic rhythmic structure: the pure melody, without ornaments, is becoming increasingly important. The notoriety of his music is verified by Charles Burney: «I find all over Italy that Giardini’s solos are in great repute, and very justly so, as I heard nothing equal to them of kind, on the continent» (The Present State of Music in France and Italy, 1771).