Giuseppe Sammartini (1695-1750)
XII Sonatas for two German Flutes, or Violins with a Thorough Bass, London, 1738
Perhaps the stylistic characteristic which best marks Sammartini as a composer goes beyond his warm and limpid melodic sensibilities. Indeed, his harmonic and contrapuntal sense reflects the exquisite taste with which he adapted his writing to the qualities and the possibilities of the instrument for which he composed. The Concerto in F Major for soprano recorder and strings is one of the best works ever dedicated to that instrument. Like Geminiani, Bersanti and others, Sammartini distances himself a bit from the compositional model of the early baroque period. Instead he experiments with certain felicitous innovations leaning toward the style galant, yet all the while upholding the Italian tradition. Despite the term “German flutes” which appears in the title, the destination for the recorder is confirmed by the tessitura and tonalities chosen (typical of the sonatas), as well as the typically English predilection for the instrument.