Saturday, 8 April 2017


“When I started learning the cello, I fell in love with the instrument because it seemed like a voice - my voice.” - Mstislav Rostropovich 

Salvatore Lanzetti (born around 1710 in Naples; died around 1780 in Turin ) was an Italian cellist and composer of late baroque and pre-classical music. Little is known of his life, surprisingly as he seemed to have been one of the earliest cello virtuosi of the 18th century.

Lanzetti was a student of the Conservatory in Naples, and he devoted himself to the cello and composition. He was in service to the court chapel in Lucca and to Vittorio Amedeo II in Turin. The post at Turin was maintained by Lanzetti even though he made extensive tours in Europe. He was in London in the 1730s and may have lived there until 1754. While in London Lanzetti was able to increase the popularity of his instrument.

By 1760 he was once again in Turin and a member of the chapel until his death. Before Boccherini, Lanzetti began to establish the cello as a solo instrument. In his compositions the cello was not merely relegated to the bass line and required the touch of a virtuoso particularly in the bowing demands. From the fruit of his labours the cello sonata took root. Lanzetti almost brought the level of cello music to that of the violin concerto. His works were arranged in three movements with an intense slow secondary movement and well-developed ideas in the first and third movements.

Lanzetti must have been one of the great cello virtuosi of his time. This conclusion is necessary, given the degree of difficulty of his works in the middle of the 18th century, with multi-finger technique, a wide range of sounds, complicated bow-movements, thumb movements, large jumps and other difficult techniques.

Lanzetti’s most well-known publications are his six sonata collections for cello and basso continuo (Opus II, transcribed for Opus I for flute) and a method published in Amsterdam in 1779: “Principles de l’application du Violoncelle par tous les Tons”. Other sonatas are preserved in manuscript.

Here are Balázs Máté (Baroque Cello), Dénes Karasszon (Baroque Cello), and Jeremy Joseph (Harpsichord, Organ) playing six cello sonatas by Lanzetti:
Sonata No. 5 in D major 0:00
Sonata No. 1 in G major 17:14
Sonata No. 2 in A minor 29:51
Sonata No. 3 in F major 41:51
Sonata No. 4 in C major 52:16
Sonata No. 6 in E minor 1:05:05

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