ANNA BON (1740- ? )
Six Chamber's Sonatas for Flute
In 1756, the year of Mozart’s birth, a 16-year-old girl had her first work published in Nuremberg by the printing presses of the widow of Baltasar Schmidt: a collection of sei sonate da camera per il flauto traversiere e violoncello o cembalo, dedicated to «Federico, margravio regnante di Brandeburgo, Culmbach etc etc etc». The title page of the sonatas tells us that Anna was sixteen years of age, came from Venice, and that she was a «virtuosa of chamber music» at the court of Bayreuth. The sonatas by Anna Bon are conceived in three movements, and (with only two exceptions), are arranged in an order of increasingly quick tempos. The musical language, though obviously reflecting the influences of the “affectionate style” in vogue at the court of Friedrich the Great, nonetheless exhibits more Italian characteristics and a cantabile writing which perhaps date back to her years in Venice. The influence of Italian composers is also felt, above all that of Platti, who published his own sonatas for transverse flute in Nuremberg in 1743. Moreover, in her dedication to Friedrich of Culmbach, Anna feels the need to state that «if, however, certain passages are found which are not very comfortable for the Flute, Your Serene Highness will forgive me, for my instrument is the Harpsichord, and the refinements and ease in the playing of this instrument are unknown to me». Anna was thus not a flutist but rather a harpsichordist, and she asks for forgiveness in advance if her lord should have difficulties in executing these sonatas. This explains certain passages which are not entirely unproblematic, especially considering the fact that the dedicatee of the sonatas was an “amateur”—albeit a gifted one—rather than a “professional” musician. An example of this might also be seen in the choice of keys which favor a delicate sonority, and only in two cases (G Major and D Major) do they highlight the brilliance and agility of the instrument.