Cello music in an eighteenth century manuscript: The "Opus 1" sonatas of Giuseppe Dall'Abaco (1710-1805).
AuthorMonsman, Nancy Weaver.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractGiuseppe Dall'Abaco was one of a small group of Italian cellists active as composers and performers in London at the midpoint of the eighteenth century. The majority of his cello sonatas, together with those of several cellist colleagues, appears in Manuscript 31528 (dated after 1760) at the British Library. Only four other Dall'Abaco cello sonatas are known to exist, and there is no record that any of his works were published during his lifetime. However, the first group of twelve sonatas in Manuscript 31528 appears to have been intended for publication since it is headed by an embryonic title page and the sonatas are arranged with regard to balance of key plan, increasing length, and progressively greater technical difficulty. Although it has been assumed that the sonatas were composed in the 1760s, this study will demonstrate that Dall'Abaco's nobility, acquired in 1766, was inscribed later on the title page of these sonatas; thus their actual date of composition presumably preceded this date. The sonatas, which exhibit style characteristics typical of the time of transition from the late baroque to the early classic era (primarily the decade of the 1740s), are shown to be a coherent collection because of common melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic gestures. Since four movements from the Dall'Abaco sonatas appear as the published works of "Signor Martino," dated 1745 by the British Library, Martino's sonatas are also evaluated. It will be shown that these four similar movements, two of which appear as part of the well-known Sonata in G major attributed to Giovanni Battista Sammartini, most probably have their origin in Dall'Abaco's manuscript. Although Martino's true identity has long been in dispute, this study will demonstrate that he was in fact the French cellist Martin Berteau. The eleven Dall'Abaco sonatas existing only in manuscript are transcribed in Part II. In Part III of this document, three of these manuscript sonatas have been realized and edited for modern performance.