Saturday, 27 February 2016


“When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.” - Joshua Bell

Francesco Antonio Bonporti (11 June 1672 – 19 December 1749) was an Italian priest and amateur composer. He was born in Trento. In 1691, he was admitted to the Collegium Germanicum in Rome, where he studied theology. There, he also studied composition under the guidance of Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni and, although it is not confirmed, violin with Arcangelo Corelli.

Back in his native Trento, he was ordained a priest in 1695. In 1740 he moved to Padua, where he lived until his death. He influenced Johann Sebastian Bach in the development of the invention, and in fact several of his works were mistakenly included in a set of Bach’s inventions. In reality, Bach had transcribed for harpsichord four violin pieces from Bonporti’s op. X (1712). Bonporti’s musical work consists of twelve collections, published between 1696 and 1736. He died in Padua in 1749.

Musicians curiously sought out the music of this unknown composer good enough to be mistaken for the master Bach. They found a composer of high skill, great originality, and even daring, with very accomplished part writing, where all voices are generously highly melodic in their own right. His weakness is that he wrote in different styles to please a diverse bunch of highly connected dedicatees, so he did not develop his own individual “sound”.

Here are some of his concerti and serenatas, played by Bloomington Baroque, directed by Stanley Ritchie who is also violin soloist.

The photo is of Prato della Valle (Prà deła Vałe in Venetian), which is a 90,000 square metre elliptical square in Padova, Italy. It is the largest square in Italy, and one of the largest in Europe. Today, the square is a large space with a green island at the centre, l'Isola Memmia, surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues.

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