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Duet No.2, Op.14 - Giovan Noferi

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G. Noferi - Duet No.2 - Allegro (Excerpt)

G. Noferi - Duet No.2, Op.14 - Full Piece Recording 

Composer: Giovan Battista Noferi (1730-1782)

 

Noferi was born in Italy.   There's not much on him online, but German Wikipedia indicates he moved to London in 1762.  He died of a stroke during a public rehearsal in 1782.

The score cover sheet says the collection this duet is part of is dedicated to William Hanger.  I'm assuming it's this William Hanger as he was a British politician and the time period checks out for when Noferi lived in London.

I really didn't find recordings of any of Noferi's music online.

Date: Probably after 1762.

Original Instrumentation: Violins, cello 

 

Movements:

  1. Largo

  2. Allegro non troppo

  3. Andante

Why this one:

 

One of my goals with this project is to record pieces covering as many instrument combinations as possible.  I realized I hadn't done a violin and cello duet yet.

Description:  

Movement 1 - Largo

Key:  C

Time: 2/2  BPM=Quarter Note 90

This is a slow movement which kicks off with an extremely brief violin tag over the pulsing cello before the instruments play the same melodic sequence a third apart, with the violin on the upper note.  Then the two instruments trade roles and modulate to the key of G, with a slightly longer cello melody over the violin accompaniment before they again harmonize in thirds, this time with the cello being the higher note value.

The violin then plays a short melody leading the movement to a brief section in the key of A minor (the relative minor of the C major home key.)  It then cycles back though G major and back to C.  The violin and cello are mostly sticking with playing together in thirds; on balance there's slightly more independent melodic stuff in the cello.

Performance:

I had a decision to make here, as the violin part said Common Time (4/4) but the Cello part said Cut Time (2/2).  I ended up going with Cut time as straight common time at Largo was so slow that I didn't think it sounded like it could possibly be correct.  I recorded it at Quarter Note 90, rather than Half Note 45, as I thought with the way the parts were subdivided it would be easier to record that way.

 

I recorded the cello part first, as it was pretty easy and I had it ready before the harder violin part.  I didn't have any trouble with it, and I blew threw all three movements quickly.

 

The violin part went smoothly, as it was pretty easy.

Movement 2 - Allegro non troppo

Key:  C

Time: 2/2  BPM=Quarter Note 170

The violin here does most of the melodic lifting at the beginning in C major.  Then the movement modulates to G major and the instruments are again mostly harmonizing in thirds.  The violin takes a very quick passage (0:49) over a cello line that has an alternating pedal tone.  (I read that this type of thing in the cello might be referred to as latent polyphony, where one single voiced (i.e. non chordal) instrument is simulating a chord by alternating quickly between a note and a pedal.  I was convinced).

After a bit, the cello takes the lead and the harmony feels like it destabilizes a little before modulating to C minor (1:27). 

The movement returns to C major and stays there through the end.  The quick passage from earlier returns at 1:59, this time in the home key of C.  (It was G the first time.)  The movement ends shortly after with the two instruments in unison.

Performance

 

Again, I had a decision to make here, as the violin part said Common Time (4/4) but the Cello part said Cut Time (2/2).  I decided that straight Common Time was way to slow so I opted for the tempo it would be at Allegro Cut Time.  Again i recorded it in a really fast 4 rather than a quick 2 for ease of recording.  The tempo marking "Allegro non troppo" means "quickly but not too much."  I don't know what side of the line I came down on.

 

No issues with the cello part, which I did first.

 

The violin part was mostly fine, but I had trouble with the two parts I thought I'd have trouble with. There are two parts (0:49 and 1:59) that were really difficult.  Still didn't take me too long, though.

 

This one was really fun, btw.

Movement 3 - Andante

Key:  C

Time: 3/4  BPM=120

This one feels like a minuet.  It's pretty harmonically simple and kind of melodically uneventful.  There's a brief foray into G major, but the rest sticks to the home of C.  The instruments are mostly harmonizing with each other over the exact same rhythms with some small sections where the violin has the melody over accompaniment.

Performance

 

I played this at a way faster (like 50% faster) tempo than an Andante implies, because it felt way too slow at a more "standard" Andante pace.  (i.e. BPM 75ish vs the BPM 120 I recorded it at.)

 

Cruised through cello no problem.  The violin part was very easy.

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