Giuseppe (Francesco Gaspare Melchiorre Baldassare) Sammartini

(1695 -1750)

Italian composer and virtuoso oboist, born in Milan. He played oboe in the orchestra of the Teatro Regionale Ducal in 1720 and in the open orchestra in Milan in the 1720s, where he was heard and praised by Quantz in 1726. According to Burney, Giuseppe moved to London in 1723, but Hawkins stated the year as 1729, although his 12 Sonatas were published here on October 16, 1727. Sammartini, after moving to London became oboist at the King's Theatre and took a very active part in the concert life of the city. He gained instant recognition as a virtuoso oboist and played in the open orchestras of Bononcini and Handel; with Arrigoni, he performed concerts which ‘surpassed all that had been before heard, raising it (the oboe) to great importance.’ In 1736 he was received into the service of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Burney heard Sammartini at Hickford’s Room as late as 1744. At the time he had composed several sets of sonatas for flute and violin, and became known as ‘St. Martini of London’ to distinguish him from his brother ‘...of Milan’; Burney described his tone as superb, and near to that of the human voice (showing that wind playing in the 18th century was not always coarse and out of tune). He composed some interesting concerti grossi, after the Handelian model but with a distinctly more up-to-date idiom. His compositions generally were admired only after his death; they include 24 concerti grossi, five solo concertos, sixteen overtures, solo and trio sonatas, and duets. He was overshadowed as a composer by his brother, Giovanni Battista Sammartini.

A Partial Giuseppe Sammartini Discography |  VIIG: Concerto, Concerto Grosso and Symphony | VIIJ: Music In The British Isles After 1730