Tag Archives: Music History

Which Botessini?

GIOVANNI BOTESSINIWhen musicians hear the name Botessini, they immediately think of Italian Giovanni Botessini (1821-1874), otherwise dubbed “the Paganini” of the double bass. According to AllMusic, he was “one of the foremost virtuoso double bass players in history and a major contributor to the development of the technique of that instrument”. (http://www.allmusic.com)

But it was his father, Pietro (1792 – 1874), who wrote the beautiful Introduzione, Theme & Variations when Giovanni was but 10 years old (1831).  This is a highly recommended chamber piece, with cantabile bel canto melodies for both flute and clarinet.  The string quartet forms a backup, but there is plenty of action there once the variations get under way!  Available from Edition Silvertrust (http://www.editionsilvertrust.com/botessini-p).

Performed by us in the Blue Mountains, at the charming Wentworth Falls School of Arts, on 25.11.2018.

andante & variations for flute clarinet and strings

Prokofiev: A Surprising Commission

PROKOFIEV

The Russian émigré ensemble Zimro approached Serge Prokofiev (1891-1953)  during his USA period with a commission and a book of Jewish folk tunes for guidance! The result was a charming sextet with Klezmer influences:  Overture on Hebrew Themes opus 34 (1919), for clarinet, piano and string quartet.  It was premiered in New York City in 1920, with Prokofiev as guest pianist.  The Overture was later grudgingly transcribed for chamber orchestra (1934):   “I don’t understand what sort of obtuse people could have found it necessary to reorchestrate….”cropped-east-windies-logo-small-jpg3

The Philidor Dynasty

EAST WINDIES LOGO small.jpg  PHILIDOR FRANCOIS ANDRE

                       Francois-Andre Danican Philidor

In the 17th & 18th centuries, the family Philidor served as court musicians and composers to French royalty over several generations. Their original surname, Danican, became Philidor when Louis XIII so-dubbed his oboist Michel Danican, after an Italian virtuoso named “Filidori”.  Michel was Grandad to a number of prominent musicians, among them two Philidors famous for rather divergent interests:  Anne Danican Philidor (1681 – 1728), who started the celebrated concert series Concert Spirituel (he was also an accomplished composer); and Francois-Andre Danican Philidor (1726 – 1795)—the very late younger brother of Anne Danican—who was a celeb chess master, renoun for “the Philidor defence” (opening) and “the Philidor position” (endgame).  Above is a picture of the chess master, Francois-Andre (Image search “Philidor”. Chessmanias.com. 27.3.16).

This post based on “Philidor”. en.wikipedia.org. 30.3.2016.