Gaetano Brunetti

One composer who we will be performing some compositions of in 2019 is Gaetano Brunetti(1744-1798). He wrote an amazing amount of music and more if it deserves to be heard today. From information included on some of the music it says how chamber music accounts for more than 75% of Gaetano Brunetti’s total output since,, for most of his life, Brunetti was at the service of Charles IV, a keen violinist, who performed all of these works. There is evidence that the Prince of Asturias received lessons from Gaetano Brunetti himself, so it is likely that these compositions were performed at one time by Brunetti on 1st violin, Carlos IV on 2nd violin along with another musician to occupy the cellist’s chair at the Royal Chapel. This could have been Domingo Porreti, Antonio Villazon, or even the composer’s son Franciso Brunetti. The fact that he composed for his ‘protector’ who himself took part in musical performances was a common occurrence of the period. Compositions acted as entertainment for royalty and nobility at events organized in their various residences with performers also being the recipients of works.

With regard to the style of Gaetano Brunetti, his work undeniably falls within the aesthetic postulates of Classicism, with typical structures such as the sonata form, or the rondo, while other characteristics of preceding styles – Rococo and / or galant style, also feature in some of his compositions. Within the bounds of what we deem to be Classicism, and in the work on which we are focussed , that is , chamber music, the melodic lines of his compositions are of a remarkable simplicity constructed with short motifs that are significantly enriched through modulations and chromaticism. Brunetti treats each instrument in an exemplary fashion, displaying a sound knowledge of instrumentation along with a firm grasp of the possibilities inherent to each instrument, all of which he acquired during his time as a performer.

Dynamics are marked particularly concisely, and a wide dynamic range is utilized, in line with the developments occurring during the period of dates in question. We thus see pp or pianissimo, up to f forte. in addition , expression markings are extremely varied, such as dolce, espressivo, or flautando, which give us better understanding of the character that Brunetti wished to stamp onto his compositions. We are also a ble to see effects that were not in common use at that period, such as pizzicato, ponticello or col legno, allowing us to . appreciate the innovative approach of the composer.

The first series of trios about which we have information were those dedicated to the Duke of Alba, dating 1776k, with the series being dated prior to that given. These compositions correspond to the phase that precedes Brunetti’s entry to the Royal Chapel, when he was commissioned to compose for the House of Alba. None of the parts from this series of trios remain. IT is likely . that the cello and the 2nd violin parts vanished from the Palace of Lira , residence of the Duke and Duchess of Alba, while the first violin part disappeared from the Royal Palace in 1936 during fires caused by the Civil War. The trios first dedicated to Prince of Asturias is often referred to as Series I. In this series Brunetti refers in the dedication to his status as member of the Royal Chapel, from which we can infer that the dedication is prior to 1767. The second set of trios for two violins and cello corresponds to this Series II which also corresponds to this period , which was possibly composed in 1771 and which as in the preceding series, bears a dedication to the Prince of Asturias.

A further 6 trios written for this formation comprised the next series, also dedicated to the Prince of Asturias, is series VI . The 4th and final series for the for 2 violins and cello , series VIII , is dedicated to His Catholic Highness. Carlos IV . From the dedications, we can infer that it would have been written following the king’s coronation in December 1788.

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