9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Giovanni Battista Lampugnani as a Composer of Trio Sonatas, or Symphonies?

Eleanor F. McCrickard

Giovanni Battista Lampugnani (1708-88) is known primarily for his operas, but he also taught singing and was an excellent cembalist. He is not so well known, however, for his contributions to instrumental music, namely his sonatas and sinfonias. While most of his career took place in his native Milan, he was a resident composer at the King's Theater in London in 1743-44 where one of the operas he composed was a pasticcio containing some of Handel's music. Not long after his arrival, John Walsh issued the first of two sets of his sonatas. Another set soon followed as did reprints. After problems of misattributions are addressed, about a dozen sonatas appear to be by Lampugnani.

Unpublished in modern editions, these sonatas in three partbooks are scored for two violins and a figured "Thorough Bass for Harpsicord [sic] or Violoncello." These attractive three-movement sonatas reflect a blending of the old and new styles of writing. They possess refreshing melodic lines, a strong rhythmic drive, and moving bass lines, making them exciting works and contributing to their popularity. In fact, a list of works in the music library of Thomas Jefferson, himself an amateur violinist, indicates that four Lampugnani sonata collections were among his select holdings of Baroque instrumental music, along with works by Corelli and Vivaldi. This paper describes these sonatas in context of the transitional time inwhich they were composed.

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Last updated on 22 March 2000 by Yo Tomita