Cello Sonata in f sharp minor, Op.52
Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music devotes several pages to Martucci's chamber music, calling it, expressive, ingenious, massive, poetic and high art. Among the works discussed the Cello Sonata in f sharp minor, which dates from 1884, came in for especial praise. Critics have noted that Martucci definitely wanted to write the Cello Sonata in the key of f sharp minor as he felt it particularly suited the cello espressive nature. This is particularly clear in the big opening movement, Allegro giusto, an expansive and highly expressive affair. Providing a fine contrast with the first movement is the Scherzo, allegro molto, which comes next. The piano opens with a light-hearted dance-like theme which the cello later presents in a more cantabile fashion. A short Intermezzo, Andante flebile, serves as a musical palate cleanser in preparation for the substantial finale, Allegro. Here, the music, full of chromaticism, takes on a highly dramatic mood.
Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909) was born in the southern Italian city of Capua. His father was a bandmaster and gave him his first music lessons on the piano. When it was discovered that the boy was prodigy, he was sent to the Naples Conservatory at the age of 11. Before he could graduate, his father, seeing his son's amazing talent, decided to cash in and started him on a successful concert career. Martucci became well-known as a concert artist throughout Europe and his playing was admired by Liszt among others. However, later when he became of age and gained independence from his father, he worked as a professor at the Naples Conservatory, virtually ending his concert career. Besides being an important teacher, he also became the conductor of the Naples Symphony Orchestra and later the Liceo Musicale Bolognese orchestra. He is recognized as an important late 19th century Italian composer and was considered the leader of the group of Italian composers determined to break away from the dominance of opera in Italy and to restore instrumental music to its rightful place.
We believe this is a masterwork, as fine as any late romantic era cello sonata written. That it has not entered the repertoire along with the Brahms' is inexplicable but we hope that professionals and amateurs alike will take the time to make its acquaintance. Long out of print, we are very pleased to make it available once agaoin.