Breval, Campioni and the Vivaldi Project

by Brad on February 15, 2015

Thomas Jefferson had a complete collection of Campioni's music.On February 6, we attended a concert of The Vivaldi Project, a DC-based Early Music quartet centered on Elizabeth Field on violin, and Stephanie Vial on Cello (Both women have extensive educational material related to Baroque music on Youtube). The show was focused on 18th century string trios, our favorite of which were pieces by Jean-Baptiste Breval (1753-1823) and Carlos Antonio Campioni (1720-1788).

Breval’s trio stood out the most among the set of seven played that night. Breval was a professional cellist active in the musical life of Paris during its most exciting half century (the theatre he worked in was a meeting place for counter-revolutionaries during the French Revolution). His trios are unusual for having a leading cello and supporting violin, which creates a wonderful sound (as all cello pieces have), but makes the performance somewhat top heavy, like an upside down pyramid.

Carlos Antonio Campioni was the Maestro Di Cappella to the Grand Duke of Florence from 1763 until his death in 1788. Thomas Jefferson maintained a complete collection of Campioni’s works in his Monticello library which he had picked up during his time as Ambassador to France, one assumes while courting the Tuscan-English Musician Maria Cosway, who he met in 1786 and who was very married at the time of their relationship.

Video of Campioni’s work does not seem to be available on Youtube. Below is a recording of a performance of Brevel’s work.

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