Like Albinoni or Marcello, the Tridentine gentleman priest Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1672-1749) was one of those brilliant amateur musicians who composed `for pleasure’. However, it would be wrong to underestimate his inventions for solo violin and continuo: far from following a rigid pattern of the Baroque sonata, they are an inexhaustible mine of musical freedom and inspiration. Bach himself was not mistaken when he copied out four of them in his own hand, with the result that they were attributed to him until 1911. But the real inventor of the invenzione was Bonporti! Riches galore throughout the whole recording!
(contribution by Fabio Pagotto <pagottoagestado.com.br>)
Bonporti was born in Trento, Italy of aristocratic family, trained in Innsbruck, Austria and then in Rome in the Collegium Germanicum. He returned to Trento in 1694, where he would spend the next 46 years as a minor priest in the Cathedral there. During this time he published 12 books of musical works. He wrote four sets of trio sonatas for 2 violins and continue, a set of Motets for soprano and strings, 3 sets of violin sonatas, and a set of Concerti. Three published sets have not survived. He tried throughout his life to obtain higher rank within the church, and to obtain other employment through dedications in his publications, all to no avail. He finally retired in 1740, and moved to Padua, where he died in 1749.
Bonporti must have been a formidable violinist, as his later works, the Opus X Invenzione (copied by Bach and mistakenly included in the Bach Gesellschaft for years) the Opus XI Concerti and the Opus XII Serenate and Concertini show. Although only a few of his works were available to the public up until recently, and little recorded, this has begun to change. His entire surviving works are now available in accurate performing editions published by King’s Music in England, and a few CDs are on the horizon of the Opus 3 Motets and Opus XI Concerti, with an outstanding recording of the complete Opus X Invenzione available now on Stradivarious label with Ensemble Aglaia of Italy performing.
His works are quite individual, striking and well crafted. Hopefully the new accessibility of his music will make it better known.
King’s Music’s address is Redcroft, Bank’s End, Wyton, Huntingdon, Cambs PE17 2 AA England.
(contribution by Maxwell Sobel <sobel.mindianapolis.va.gov>)