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Cambini: Chamber Works

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, April 9, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

It is quite likely that Giuseppe Cambini influenced the Parisian milieu with his typically Italian originality. He is regarded as a pre-Romantic composer not only because he anticipated the era of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin, but above all because of his pensive search for expression.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cinque quartetti for harpsichord, violin, oboe and cello
  2. Trio No. 5, Op. 45 in D major for violin, oboe and cello


Product Details

  • Performer: Marcello Defiant, Giuseppe Nalin, Serena Mancuso, Marco Vincenzi
  • Orchestra: Sans Souci Ensemble
  • Composer: Giuseppe Maria Cambini
  • Audio CD (April 9, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tactus
  • ASIN: B00BJ3U4NU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Questionable details of the life of Giuseppe Cambini (ca.1746-ca.1825) have persisted for centuries. Apparently born in Livorno, he died poor and forgotten, possibly in Paris around 1825. Or perhaps in the Netherlands by 1815. Kidnapped by Barbary pirates, a string quartet partner of Luigi Boccherini and Pietro Nardini, he also claimed to have been a friend of Joseph Haydn. What we do know is that he wrote music, a lot of music. One of the most productive composers of the late 18th century, he is credited with over 700 works, many of which feature the violin.

Although undated, the first 5 quartets show a Baroque influence as the upper instruments carry the melodic responsibility while the cello primarily functions as a basso continuo, merely doubling the left hand of the keyboard. The instrumentation of the top voices also reflect that earlier period -- violin, oboe and harpsichord. Presumably written as a group for light evening entertainment, they serve that purpose well. Elegant and playful, with little dramatic development or emotional intensity, they make slight demands of the listener, offering instead pleasant melodies and virtuosic flourishes.

All are penned in major keys and in 2 movements, with the first sections longer and somewhat more complex than the lighter finales. Tempos tend toward fast and faster, lending a certain sameness in pacing. Only a single movement is marked as slow as ‘Andante’, and it has the qualifier ‘con moto’, meaning quickly or with motion. And with a harpsichord as one of the lead voices, the dynamic variety is limited to a narrow mid-range. No pianissimos or fortissimos here.
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