Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768)
XII Sonatas for solo violin and bass Op. I (Sonatas I-VI)
Eighteenth-century historians idealized the Italian violin-playing tradition as championed by the contrasting figures of Francesco Maria Veracini and Giuseppe Tartini, and in many cases underscored the differences between them. This point of view was efficaciously summed up by Charles Burney, who claimed that it was almost “impossible for any two men to be more dissimilar in disposition: [ . . . ] Tartini was so humble and timid, that he was never happy but in obscurity; while Veracini was so foolishly vain-glorious as frequently to boast that there was but one God, and one Veracini. ” The profoundly different dispositions of the two musicians also extended to their musical production: indeed, the output of the composer from Pirano (Tartini) is vast, in comparison to the reduced dimensions of his Florentine counterpart (at least in terms of eighteenth-century standards). Nonetheless, it must be said that the relatively limited quantity of Veracini’s works is accompanied by their exceedingly high quality. They are the result of a genial fusion between a rich and extremely variegated melodic sense and a mastery and forward-looking technique which in many cases fully exploits the technical and expressive resources of the violin. Veracini’s Sonate for solo violin (or flute) and bass, op. 1, were published in 1721 in Dresden, and were dedicated to Friedrich August who, despite the contrary opinion of his father, the Prince Elector of Dresden, had hired the Italian as a composer of chamber music.