On the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Neapolitan violinist Emanuele Barbella (1718-1777) I decided to organize the premiere recording of his Sei Duetti a Due Viole. The recording, made by Fabio Framba, will be accompanied by the first publication of the score of this set of duets by DaVinci editions.
Barbella studied with his father, Francesco, and with Pasquale Bini, one of Tartini’s favorite pupils at the Scuola delle Nazioni in Padua. The Sei Duetti belong to the Italian instrumental repertoire from the mid-18th century. Emanuele Barbella was the teacher of Ignazio Raimondi (1735-1813), another Neapolitan violinist who had been very active in the British musical environment up to the beginning of the 19th century. The importance of Tartini’s school for the development of the European violin tradition deserves to be underlined, also in the wake of the upcoming 250th anniversary of Tartini’s death (1770-2020).
Andreas Moser, in his Geschichte des Violinspiels, described these Sei Duetti as one of the most significant of Barbell’as works. These pieces are featured by the typical elegance of the Italian chamber music of the 18th century and were probably destined to the private entertainment of amatori e dilettanti. They are characterized by great fantasy and by a variety of ideas and certainly reach beyond the traditional didactic scope of the duet genre.