FRANCESCO GEMINIANI (1687-1762), TOMMASO GIORDANI (1733-1806)
Sonatas for Guitar and Continuo
Over the course of its millennium-long history, the guitar has successfully adapted itself to the most diverse historical situations and to the changing needs of peoples and traditions, taking on new forms and, even more importantly, new and particular tunings. Toward the second half of the eighteenth century in Anglo-Saxon countries (but also French-speaking areas), we find the so-called English guitar (in French, guitare anglaise or pandore), an instrument which marked the final evolution of the now obsolete cittern. It had ten strings distributed in six courses (the first three of which were doubled), and the tuning (beginning at the top) was G-G, E-E, C-C, G, E, C. This tuning was thus an open C Major. (“Open” signifies a kind of tuning which produces a clear tonality without stopping any strings with the left hand. It has been in use practically forever with various plucked string instruments and is still found in North American folk music). This instrument should not be confused with the contemporary guitar referred to by its Italian name (better know today as the chitarra barocca or baroque guitar), since the latter employed a different tuning both in terms of the number of courses and the pitches themselves). The repertoire of the English guitar – not particularly rich, to tell the truth – includes the contributions of Felice Giardini (1716–1796), Rudolf Straube (1717–c. 1785) and the two authors presented on this recording: Francesco Geminiani and Tommaso Giordani.