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Giovanni Pescetti Keyboard Music

Giovanni Pescetti wrote two well-known sets of pieces - Six Sonatas (I don't know the date) and Nine Sonatas(1739). Farrenc reprinted some of the pieces in 1977 in his "Tresor des Pianistes", published by Mills Music, but his choice was curious - the best sonatas weren't included.

SIX SONATAS
Ricordi 133083, ed. Francesco Dilaghi, 1981

1. C MINOR
First movement is resounding, echoing music; very effective on piano. The second movement is reasonable but of a lower standard. The third movement is a rather feeble minuet; first half major, second half almost the same but with a different key signature (minor).

2. F MAJOR
First movement is jerky and to me, unattractive. Second movement flows much better. The third movement is a set of variations which outstays its welcome.

3. C MAJOR
Two movements only. Bars 13 and 38 in the first movement are awkward and need amending for the piano; the cross-hands bit is fussy and doesn't flow. Otherwise this sonata is excellent on the piano.

4. Eb MAJOR
Not so good. Commonplace writing.

5. Bb MAJOR
Another excellent sonata; very enjoyable to play. The Presto movement has interesting similarities with the last movement of Sonata 2 of "Nine Sonatas", but the problems are resolved in a different way.

6. C MINOR
My favourite of the six. It begins with an angular theme, which is echoed in the bass. There is scope for adding a little bit of ornamentation on the repeats, especially around bars 40-50 and 96-108 of the first movement. The second movement is very beautiful. On the piano it may sound stilted if played exactly as written; some filling-in of scale runs helps the ornamentation. The presto needs playing exactly as written, no ornamentation. This sonata is equally effective on the organ.


NINE SONATAS
Ricordi 133412, ed. Francesco Dilaghi, 1983

These are generally better than the other set.

1. E MAJOR
This is quite pianistic with the exception of some of the left hand passages in the first movement. Some judicious thinning- out of repeated chords helps when playing it on the piano.

2. D MAJOR
Enjoyable sonata; very pianistic. First movement - some thinning of left hand chords required (e.g. bars 1,2,6,7). Second movement - good, but lame ending. Suggest bars 6-7 need amending a little and / or playing adagio or unbarred. Last bar: the notes written are awkward. Suggest a descending scale passage: D C Bb A G F E, then end on the F. Third movement - excellent; play exactly as written. Fourth movement - good except for bars 25-30 and 91-96, where the left hand ascending scales sound heavy and awkward on the piano. Needs some careful thinning-out.

3. G MINOR
This is generally good, but the middle movement (one of the pieces chosen by Farrenc - see above) is stilted and "wooden" on the piano.

4. A MAJOR
Excellent sonata. The only fault is in the first movement - omit bars 20-23 and 82-85. The last movement is especially good.

5. C MINOR
Excellent four-movement sonata. The weakest movement is 2, but this is still better than anything in sonata 4 in the other set. The outstanding movement is the presto, which is based on another angular figure and echo effects and which sounds good on the organ.

6. D MINOR
A spirited two-movement sonata of good standard.

7. G MAJOR
Better than average sonata. First movement - the only fault I can see is the monotony of the right hand triplets if continued over the phrase endings. For example, the tune in bar 7 is AABBAGF#. The last 5 notes in the right hand are best omitted if played on the piano. Second movement - pretty good. The first note of the triplets in bars 64,65,66,67 can be omitted which exposes the melodic line a bit better in the left hand. (left hand FFGABb ascending sequence) Last movement - Good and lively; sounds fine as written.

8. C MAJOR
Some parts of this are in Farrenc's selection. The first movement isn't very good. Poor in bars 17-25 and in the equivalent section in the second half. Second movement - florid and ornate. Not bad, but not to my taste. The left hand texture is slightly thick. Tempo giusto - good on organ, but sounds wooden on the piano. Allegro- the best movement of the sonata; flows well.

9. G MINOR
First movement - quite lively but spoilt bt the very weak ending (last 10 bars), which happens also in the second half. Second movement - excellent, lively. It might be possible to fashion a reasonable sonata out of the best movements from the 2 G minor pieces in this collection.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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