Pietro Nardini-110 Capricci. Day by Day

Posted on June 12th, 2019 by


Pietro Nardini (April 12, 1722 – May 7, 1793)

110  Capric[c]i – A day by day exploration (audio will gradually appear)

Book 1 No 44 C Major

Book 1 No 50 G minor Adagio-Allegro (11th June 2019)

When I start working on a large cycle of pieces, I don’t have a way of choosing what order to work. There’s no logic to this, but, a little like searching for the right pebble on the beach, I cast up and down, putting my hands on certain gestures, until an ‘in’ appears. If I am looking for a way to begin working on the music and technical approach of a ‘new’ composer, and that is the case with this cycle, I will either look for salient features, or the familiar.

This Capriccio looked comfortable, so I set to. Structurally, it’s interesting. ‘Adagio-Allegro’ x 2 dominates, but breaks up into a fascinating syncopated flourish, leading into a coda/cadenza where the adagio/allegro material alternates, cut up, in bar long gestures.

Note to self: this is clearly the composer’s MS, intended for themselves. There are a number of shortcuts in the notation of accidentals, and a fascinating enharmonic error on the last line: a scale of D Dsharp E flat E natural (and so on).

Under the left hand, some simple observations. This is an ‘open’ hand violinist (unlike his friend and teacher Tartini). The major tenth ‘locks’ also require flexibility within the lock of placing the 2nd/3rd finger (decide) a major or minor third above the root.

The right hand shows signs of moving towards the combination bowings that would be so loved in Paris at the end of the century. But the bowing is in a slight shorthand-bespeaking a composer’s copy. Stay open to the ‘rules’ as they appear through increasing familiarity.