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Concerto a più istrumenti in D major, Op 5 No 6

circa 1721

Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco (1675-1742) was born in Verona, the son of a noted guitarist, Damiano Dall’Abaco. Unusually, he appears to have been a skilled player of both violin and cello, having studied both instruments with Giuseppe Torelli. His first post was as a violinist in the court orchestra in Modena, but in 1704 he moved to Munich where he was taken on as a cellist in the court orchestra of Maximilien Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria. After only a few weeks Dall’Abaco was forced to flee, with the rest of the orchestra and courtiers, following Maximilien’s defeat by the Duke of Marlborough at the battle of Blenheim. Most of the musicians eventually reached Brussels, where Dall’Abaco was to spend the next ten years, absorbing the musical style of the French and Dutch into his native Italian musical ‘language’. This fusion of styles is exemplified in the Op 5 Concerto Grosso in D which begins with a decorous Allegro reminiscent of Arcangelo Corelli’s Op 6 concerti, but the middle movements, especially the cantabile Aria, are distinctly French in their inspiration, while the concluding Allegro, in an energetic triple time, has a rustic drive which is more or less uncategorisable. This stylistic cross-fertilisation gives Dall’Abaco his own distinctive musical voice.

Dall’Abaco’s Op 5 collection was published in Amsterdam in 1715, in which year Maximilien was restored to his Bavarian throne. Dall’Abaco returned to Munich, this time as a violinist, having been rewarded for his loyalty with the post of Konzertmeister, remaining in post until his retirement in 1740.

from notes by Felix Warnock © 2018


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