Manfredini: Twelve Concertos, Op. 3
Once in a while a composer comes along who you just have to ask why don't we hear more of him? Francesco Manfredini is one such
On the Naxos disc of Christmas concertos, we found a lovely offering from Francesco Manfredini (1684-1762). In the spirit of exploration, therefore, it only seems right to expand our awareness of him in this release. The concerto on the Naxos release had been No. 12 of the Op. 3 set, "Pastorale per il Santissimo Natale". Here we get the chance to experience the balance of this expertly crafted, beautiful set. Before we have a look an Manfredini's life, let's hear the bracing first Concerto in F:
Published in 1718, it is perhaps to the music we need to head to find out who Manfredini was. His life story is certainly peripatetic (not only around Italy: he also enjoyed a stint in Monaco where her served a Prince who had inherited Lully's baton). We do know that the Op. 3 Concerti grossi were published in Bologna; and that he returned to his birthplace Pistoia in Italy, where he was Maestro di cappella until his death in 1762.
The solo work in these concertos is challenging but superbly crafted. Here's No. 5 - listen particularly to the work's later stages (it is only about six minutes in toto):
The mix of gallanterie with virtuosity in these works is remarkable: try the sixth concerto (D major), which you can find as part of the YouTube below. The period instrument band Les Amis de Philippe and Ludger Rémy offer consistently stylish playing throughout this varied terrain. Manfredini's invention seems limitless - once in a while a composer comes along who you just have to ask why don't we hear more of him? Francesco Manfredini is one such.
Here's a link to the entire album: