Since, in my experience, few things a have proved more malevolent than the musician with political aspirations, my heart sank when I discovered that in addition to his musical career, Benedetto Marcello practiced law and served on the venerable council of forty in the city-state of Venice, before becoming regional governor at Pola, Istria. Saving his reputation, in my estimation at least, is the fact that after a few years he retired to Brescia. The claim his health had been 'impaired' by the climate if Istria, which I think of as a kind of idyllic Adriatic resort destination, might indicate some dissatisfaction with political life, or at least the modesty to acknowledge the Venetian Republic could continue to function without him in office. Further evidence Marcello might not have suffered from taking himself too seriously is the satirical pamphlet Il teatro alla moda (The Fashionable Theater), a scathing commentary on the state of Italian Opera in his day.
The 2nd movement of this sonata all but did me in. At some point, I decided I had to take a fast tempo – fast enough to be considered Allegro even for a normal-sized instrument. The section below probably needs a few more decades of practice. The lightning bolts show the parts that gave me the most trouble. Harmonically, Marcello throws in a bit of a curve ball here as well, the Neapolitan 6th chord. I don't know how many theory lectures I slept through (why are they always at 8 AM?) to get to the point where I could actually spot one of those.
The bass blog will now go on holiday for a couple weeks. Expect the rest of this sonata and the others to follow.
click below to listen
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