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03 March 2023
Fabio Bonizzoni: Performing the complete sonatas for violin and harpsichord is like embarking on a long hike; heavy, difficult, sometimes dangerous. Playing them is not an activity for lazy people: you need to enjoy making an effort. As in the mountains on difficult terrain, every step needs concentration, good balance, the ability to sense danger, to foresee the unstable stone. The complete cycle is like a long hike; one that leaves your legs tired and maybe painful the next day but at the same time one that enriches your eyes and soul with the beauty of ever-changing landscapes. It is like starting from a valley on soft grass and starting to ascend slowly, step by step, reaching the woods, seeing the type of trees changing. Eventually the forest is left behind and we are again on the grass, but more sparse now, and the first rocks are looming closer and closer. The snow is not far away either… There is not a moment or a view that is not memorable, that will not leave a significant imprint in our memory; a gem, a hidden flower, an unexpected harmony, a daring counterpoint, a melancholic melody. And as one does not need to be a geologist or a botanist to be moved by the beauties of the mountains, similarly one does not need to be a musician to listen passionately to these sonatas.
Fabio Bonizzoni is considered one of the leading Italian harpsichordists and organists of his generation. His playing has been defined as “Bright and buoyant, with no tricks […] but plenty of energy and brilliance” (Gramophone).
Having graduated in baroque organ and harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Ton Koopman’s class, he played for several years with some of the most important baroque orchestras of our times, in particular with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Le Concert des Nations and Europa Galante. Since 2004, he exclusively devotes himself to his activities as soloist and director, in particular of his own orchestra La Risonanza.
His impressive discography includes works by Claudio Merulo, Giovanni Salvatore, Giovanni Picchi, Francesco Geminiani, Bernardo Storace, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach (Goldberg Variations and the Art of Fugue), Girolamo Frescobaldi (First and Second Book of Toccatas).
With La Risonanza he has completed the project of recording all the Italian Cantatas with instruments by G.F. Handel: this project has been named by the Gramophone Magazine the most important of the decade, and 3 of the 7 CDs of the collection have been awarded the prestigious Handel Stanley Sadie Prize. The last disc of this series, Apollo e Dafne, won the Gramophone Award.
Since 2016, he and La Risonanza are recording for Challenge Classics: a Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and two volumes of Bach harpsichord concertos have appeared so far.
His activity is also enriched by commitments as guest conductor both of baroque and modern orchestras. Since 2014 he is artistic director of Note Etiche, a festival focusing on links between music, ethics and sustainability and, since 2016, he and his orchestra enjoy artistic residency at Palazzina Liberty in their hometown Milan.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.