History has an odd way of leveling the playing field. Composers who were immensely famous in their day will more often than not end up in complete obscurity. This has certainly been the case for late baroque Dresden where we find names like Heinichen, Zelenka, Weiss, and even Hasse who have only come to be rediscovered in the past few decades. To this group we can add Johann Georg Pisendel who, in his day, was a respected composer and virtuoso violinist.
Like many German musicians of the baroque, Pisendel traveled to France and Italy earlier in life in order to enrich his musical understanding and abilities. While in Venice he was a student of Antonio Vivaldi. Their connection was to last a lifetime as Vivaldi would later dedicate some of his compositions to both Pisendel and the Dresden Hofkapelle orchestra.
Yet Vivaldi was not the only Venetian to dedicate music to his German friend. The dilettante composer Tomaso Albioni also wrote with Pisendel in mind. Whereas Vivaldi composed both small and large scale music, Albinoni kept it simple—he dedicated only sonatas for violin and basso continuo.
This week’s new release is of music by Johann Gottlieb Graun and Carl Heinrich Graun. The ensemble Il Gardellino has released an exciting recording of collaborative Graun concertos that feature some unlikely combinations, such as a concerto grosso for flute, violin, viola da gamba, cello and basso continuo.
Here’s a video of Accademia Per Musica performing Pisendel’s Concerto a 5 for strings and continuo in G major: