Albinoni Sonata per Pisendel in B flat major (PDF)

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Score (7 pages) in a friendly performance edition.

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While in Venice, Pisendel met another of the great Italian composers of the time, Tomaso Albinoni. Albinoni, too, was captivated by the young virtuoso, to the extent that Pisendel returned to Dresden with three sonatas for violin and continuo copied by the Italian master himself. But, although we can assume that all three sonatas were dedicated in some way to Pisendel, it is the Sonata for violin and continuo in B flat Major that bears a special dedication on its frontispiece: “Sonata a Violino solo di me Tomaso Albinoni Composta p[er] il Sig:[re] Pisendel.” And not only this dedication but also certain musical aspects lead us to believe that the sonata in question may have been written specifically for Pisendel. The sonata goes beyond Albinoni’s usual technical requirements, exploring the upper register of the violin in a way that appears only rarely in other sonatas by this Italian. And, in the second movement, marked Allegro, we find an unusual and virtuoso use of triple stops in a fast semi-quaver rhythm. This singular effect is used by Albinoni in only one other work, the Concerto for violin and strings in C Major Co2, although with a strange and interesting nuance: of the versions of the concerto that remain we find this technique only in a manuscript version in Dresden, the version that Pisendel brought back from Italy in 1717 together with the sonata. Other versions of the concerto, such as the one published by Roger around 1717, or other manuscript versions do not contain the triple-stop passages. This suggests that they may be a personal touch added by Albinoni in recognition of Pisendel’s remarkable performing skills.