Antonio Maria Montanari was one of the best known violinists of his time, one of those great musicians that musicology seems to have left in oblivion until very recently. In fact, he was so famous that he became the successor of Corelli after the latter’s death. Musicians such as Giovanni Mossi, Pietro Castrucci or Giuseppe Valentini, the crème de la crème of violinists in Rome, all played under Montanari.
During his trip to Italy and his stay in Rome Pisendel sought the advice of this great violinist. As a result Pisendel copied several works of Montanari and took them to Dresden.
Although perhaps the most special memory of that encounter is found in the sonata for violin and continuo in E major by Pisendel contained in the manuscript D-Dl Mus.2421-R-18.
The manuscript is full of amendments, erasures, sketches, etc.
There is a very special reason behind all these changes. As stated by Kai Köpp (Johann Georg Pisendel (1687–1755) und die Anfänge der neuzeitlichen Orchesterleitung. Schneider, Tutzing 2005) many of them were made by Montanari when Pisendel was studying with him in Rome.
There are other Pisendel sonatas where we find manuscripts with this type of early versions of the sonata and other manuscripts with the same sonata already finished in a clean copy.
That is the case of other Pisendel work, the sonata in E minor JunP IV.1. The manuscripts (D-Dl): Mus.2421-R-1 and (D-Dl): Mus.2421-R-5) present an early version of the sonata while the manuscript (D-Dl): Mus.2421-R-6 contains a clean and finished version.
In the case of the sonata written in collaboration with Montanari we do not have a clean copy. But after a study of the manuscript it has been possible to reconstruct a fairly reliable version of what the final result of the sonata might have been like.
This sonata is a perfect example of the musical relationship between the two virtuosi and of Pisendel’s experiences in Italy.
The world premiere recording of this sonata has been done by the ensemble Scaramuccia and can be found here:
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