Antonio Bazzini (1818-1897)
String Quartets n. 1 [WoO] and n. 3 op. 76
Antonio Bazzini, violinist and composer, was born in Brescia on 11 March 1818 and died in Milan on 10 February. At the age of eight, he began to study the violin under the guidance of Fausto Camesani (or Camisani); at thirteen, he published his first composition; and at seventeen, he had six symphonies for great orchestra performed at the theatre of Brescia. In 1836, when he was eighteen, he was auditioned by Paganini, who encouraged him to embark on a career as a concert performer. From that time onwards, he was constantly successful. He held concerts in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, England and Belgium. He met many contemporary composers, one of whom was Robert Schumann, who praised him saying: “Since many years no virtuoso has given me such an intimate joy and such pleasant, happy moments as Antonio Bazzini has done. It seems to me that he is too little known, and that, even here, he has not been appreciated as much as he deserves.” The works for string quartet performed by Quartetto Bazzini in this recording are no. 1 without an opus number and no. 3 op. 76. On listening to these two works, we can understand and appreciate Bazzini’s mastery as a composer: the solo parts are skilfully distributed among the string instruments, and we can detect an influence of French and German instrumental music, filtered by his creative genius, which is never predictable or recognisable.