Andrea Luchesi: Keyboard Sonatas, Op. 1 (CD)

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Roberto Plano

Early-Classical keyboard sonatas by a little-known teacher of Beethoven.

Andrea Luchesi was born in the Italian region of Friuli in 1841 and died in poverty 60 years later in Bonn, birthplace of the composer who grants him a tentative foothold on history, Ludwig van Beethoven. It was Beethoven’s far more renowned teacher, Christian Gottlob Neefe, who wrote a biography of Luchesi and described his early training in music at home, then his move to Venice, and his early success as an opera composer.

As a keyboard player and member of a Venetian opera company, Luchesi travelled to Germany in 1771 and made his career there, being appointed the Kapellmeister to the Prince Elector’s court in Bonn as successor to Beethoven’s grandfather. He attracted favourable mention in the journals of the English musical commentator and traveller Charles Burney, and the piano-maker JB Cramer also praised him as one of the best Italian composers of his day as well as an excellent organist. There have even been far-fetched claims that Luchesi was the true author of some of Mozart’s best-known works!

The six sonatas recorded here and published in Bonn in 1772 as Luchesi’s Opus 1 were originally designated as sonatas for the harpsichord with violin accompaniment, much in the style of violin sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven. Luchesi, however, reduced the violin part to a marginal role, mostly doubling the keyboard’s right-hand part; Roberto Plano has accordingly eliminated it altogether in this recording, saying that ‘I believe it to be closer to the composer’s original intention.’

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LUCHESI Sonatas Op.1

No.1 in G

  1. I. Allegro
  2. II. Andante
  3. III. Presto

No.2 in C

  1. I. Allegro molto
  2. II. Andante
  3. III. Allegro molto

No.3 in A

  1. I. Allegro
  2. II. Menuetto/Trio
  3. III. Allegro molto

No.4 in F

  1. I. Andante
  2. II. Allegro molto
  3. III. Allegro assai

No.5 in C

  1. I. L’Harmonique
  2. II. Menuetto/Trio
  3. III. Rondeau (Allegro)

No.6 in D

  1. I. Allegro molto
  2. II. Andante
  3. III. Menuetto con Variazione