Born in Florence, Giuseppe VaIentini (1680–1759) moved to Rome while still in his teens and became a disciple, perhaps also a pupil, of Arcangelo Corelli. He made a comfortable living in the Italian capital as composer and violinist, and became known for his virtuosity and for the unconventional style of his violin compositions. Some of them, it is said, treated tonality in cavalier fashion, and he would require his soloist to ascend to uncommon heights. He also wrote operas and sacred music for Rome, but towards the end of his life he seems to have moved to Paris and changed from the Corellian to the more ‘modern’ homophonic style so popular there since the invasion of the Parisian audiences by music of the Mannheim School.
Valentini’s twelve symphonies for strings in three parts, Op 1, are from a wholly different era. They were published in Rome, Amsterdam and elsewhere in 1701 and are strongly Corellian in character. The last, as was the fashion, is designed for Christmas performance. It is built round two pastoral movements, the first of which occurs immediately after the slow introduction; the second (‘Largo’) between the two quick movements. The first of these faster movements is a virile and well-written ‘Allegro’; the finale (‘Presto’) displays rapid alternations between forte and piano and, towards the end of the second half, an unusually independent bass line.
from notes by Robert Dearling © 1999