Sonata Op. 1 - No. 2 by Francesco Barsanti Arranged for Flute, Guitar, and Cello
Barsanti is known today primarily for his set of six solo sonatas for alto recorder of which this flute, guitar, and cello arrangement by Karl Wolff is the second sonata in the collection. Re-discovered in the late 1940s by Walter Bergmann, who published three of them, and has been an enthusiastic promoter of Barsanti throughout his career. The sonatas are particularly appreciated by recorder players because they are highly idiomatic to their instrument. Bergmann is quoted as saying that:
“...they not only show unusual knowledge of the recorder, as one would expect from a master of that instrument, but also high musical imagination. As musical creations, they are not inferior to any other recorder sonatas, including Handel's; technically, with their refined original phrasing, they are better."
Barsanti is also known among practitioners of traditional folk music for the twenty-eight Scots airs in his A Collection of Old Scots Tunes, that he arranged for harpsichord or solo melody instrument with figured bass.
Barsanti's other works are lesser known, but show an impressive range of musical style and mastery. His Nine Overtures include works in the French, German, and Italian styles; his ten concerti grossi, Op. 3, contain fugal elements as well as influences from the sonata da chiesa form, and feature an interesting concertino group of horns and timpani, with the strings in the ripieno. Finally, the Sei Antifones (Six Antiphonies), which are among Barsanti's last published works, show Barsanti as a mature composer in a reflective, contemplative mood. Composed shortly before his departure from Scotland in 1743, they are dedicated to the Lady Catherine Charteris, possibly written at her request, in the style of Palestrina.