Pergolesi’s Sinfonia in F major is scored for strings and continuo. Though not identified with any of his operas, the piece, in three movements, reflects the freshly emerging Italian sinfonia in which Alessandro Scarlatti played an important part in the earliest years of the eighteenth century. Its musical style is essentially early Classical, with light and airy textures, busy string figurations and graceful and engaging melodic ideas. In short, the style is closer to the early Classical symphony than to the richer textured, often more contrapuntally oriented Baroque opera overture. The opening movement, marked ‘Maestoso sostenuto’ is in F minor. Its initially serious character is lightened by passages of ornamented quavers in the two violin parts, bringing to mind Rameau. The centrally placed ‘Andante grazioso’ in F major is poised, dance-like and melodically beguiling, with a simplicity reflecting the taste of the time. The Sinfonia concludes with a brisk and busy Allegro whose spirited string writing generates a pleasing expressive tension.
from notes by Nicholas Anderson © 2001