BACH – a violoncello solo – chapter 1 – Francesco Galligioni

«They are the quintessence of Bach’s work, and Bach himself is the quintessence of all music.» (Pau Casals)
After many years as a cellist in the Venice Baroque Orchestra, chamber musician and soloist, Francesco Galligioni ventured into the Parnassus. Based on experience, knowledge of the manuscripts and baroque performance practice, a lively, passionate interpretation of Bach’s masterpieces emerges.

«Sie sind die Quintessenz von Bachs Schaffen, und Bach selbst ist die Quintessenz aller Musik.» (Pau Casals)
Nach vielen Jahren als Cellist im Venice Baroque Orchestra, als Kammermusiker und Solist wagt sich Francesco Galligioni in den Parnass. Aus Erfahrung, Kenntnis der Manuskripte und der barocken Aufführungspraxis entsteht eine lebhafte, leidenschaftliche Interpretation der Bachschen Meisterwerke.

BACH - a violoncello solo - chapter 1

BACH – a violoncello solo – chapter 1

Francesco Galligioni | Violoncello | Cremona, end of the 17th century

fb 1904783
1 CD
total time c 59 min.
EAN 4260307437848

released in July 2019


BACH – a violoncello solo – chapter 1

Johann Sebastian Bach  (1685 – 1750)

Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007

Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008

Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009


CHAPTER 1 : Birth and youth of an interpretation Dear listeners, in this first stage of my journey through the «6 souites a violoncello senza basso compo­sees par J. S. Bach Maitre de Chapelle» I would like to share with you a feeling that pervades every cellist who approaches these masterpieces. The six suites were probably composed during Bach’s period of service as director of music for Prince Leopold of Anhalt in Köthen (1717 – 1723). Sadly we do not have an autograph of the collection but only co­pies by Bach’s wife Anna Magdalena (once erroneously considered an autograph) and other contemporary or subsequent sources. Due to the fact that we do not have the original ma­nuscript and notes written by the composer himself and therefore do not know what his exact wishes were, we find it particularly difficult to interpret his music. At the same time we are envious of violinists who are lucky enough to use Bach’s autograph of the «Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin». In fact, at first glance, all the instrumentalist’s efforts are directed towards finding the original interpretation. How­ever, as he progresses in his knowledge of this music, he becomes familiar with the score. The more comfortable you are with this music, the greater is your desire to make it your own and therefore to decorate and furnish it with your own personal style. This is an extremely delicate endeavour and can be dangerous if it is not based on long studies of the performance practices of those days and supported by «architects and designers» who have de­dicated their lives to these studies. Such would be the intent of the present recording: a faithful and at the same time intimate and personal revival of these masterpieces. Above all the colleagues of the «Basso continuo» (organists, harp­si­chordists, lutenists and bassoonists) have suggested new ways of interpretation after long discussions and comparisons, probably because they have not become as encrusted in their style and interpretation as the fingers and thoughts of us cellists have. All the dances (excluding the preludes) foresee personal variations in the ritornelli. Here I have used two approaches: firstly, when Bach’s writing is so complex that it leaves no room for embellishments, I have tried to find the simplest idea underlying such beauty. Secondly, I have tried to adorn the melodic-harmonic line of the original. I have done all this simply to treat the maestro of Eisenach with the respect and attention that we give to all contemporary composers. I have tried to follow both the suggestions and rules of good taste present in the treatises and testimonies of the time and the examples that Bach himself gave us in the double variations of countless dances when he transcribed the concerts of other composers for the keyboard instrument. Finally I will leave you to listen to this attempt of mine. As Le Sieur de Machy wrote at the foot of the Avertissement on how to play his «Pièces de violle» correctly in 1685, I kindly ask you to share your impressions, doubts, confusions or suggestions either by coming to my house on a Saturday afternoon or simply by writing to me or contacting me through the social media that do so much damage but simultaneously sometimes enrich our lives with fruitful relationships. Your advice will be a useful and valuable help for the next stage of my journey.
See you soon and listen carefully!


Francesco Galligioni studied cello at the ‚C. Pollini‘ Conservatoire in Padua with Gianni Chiampan, and following his Diploma took part in masterclasses with Michael Flaksman and Teodora Campagnaro. He then studied with Franco Maggio Ormezowski at the Accademia Nazionale di S. Cecilia in Rome, where he was awarded a scholarship and obtained a further Diploma in just two years, and at the Arturo Toscanini Foundation in Parma in the courses for soloists and orchestra leaders.
He has taken part in courses specializing in baroque cello held by Walter Vestidello and Gaetano Nasillo, and worked with soloists and conductors of international renown (Anner Bylsma, Giuliano Carmignola, Cecilia Bartoli, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Magdalena Kozena, Sergio Azzolini, Sara Mingardo, Victoria Mullova, Angelika Kirschlagher, Andrea Marcon, Federico Guglielmo, Sir J. E. Gardiner, Diego Fasolis, Pedro Halffter, Bob Van Asperen, Michael Radulescu, Gustav Leonhardt, Christopher Hogwood), both in concert performances and recordings. His passion for early music led him to study viola da gamba with Paolo Biordi at the Conservatoire in Florence, where he obtained the Diploma in 2004, followed in 2007 by a first dass degree with a thesis on the relationship between the arpeggione, viola da gamba and baroque cello, with a performance on this latter instrument of the famous sonata. A founding member of the Accademia di S. Rocco and later of the Venice Baroque Orchestra, he has played first cello in the foremost concert venues, including the Royal Albert Hall and Barbican Hall (London), Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall (New York), JFK Center for Performing Arts (Washington DC), Tonhalle (Zurich), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Het Concertgebow (Amsterdam), Musikverein and Konzerthaus (Vienna), Kyoi hall (Tokyo), Opera Berlioz (Montpellier), Theatre des Champs­Elysees (Paris), W. Disney City Hall (Los Angeles), Gran Teatro La Fenice (Venice). He has recorded for ARCHIV-PRODUKTION (Deutsche Grammophon), Arts, ORF, Chandos, Brilliant, Naxos and Sony Classical. With this latter label he played first cello and soloist with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, as well as performing in various chamber ensembles, including in Trio with Giuliano Carmignola and Lutz Kirtzof and in sonatas with Anner Bylsma.
His concerts as a solo ist ha ve been broadcast by WDR, ORF, SWR2 and MDR (concerto for violin and cello by Antonio Vivaldi with Giuliano Carmignola), as well as by ABC, NPR, BBC3, RDP and Japanese television while touring in Japan in September 2005. The ensembles with which he has played lead parts include «Sonatori della Gioiosa Marca», Orchestra Barocca del Friuli Venezia Giulia «G.B.Tiepolo», I Barocchisti, Oman Consort, Arte dell‘ Arco, Gambe di Legno Consort, I Virtuosi delle Muse, Opera Stravagante, Ensemble Zefiro. In 2006 he was guest cello soloist with the Gran Canaria Philharmonie Orchestra. In 2007 he taught at the Ludwigsburger Akademie summer courses, and played as soloist with the orchestra in the Salzburg Festspiele at the Musikverein Grosser Saal in Vienna, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Barbican in London, the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris. In November-December 2008, he took part in a chamber music tour with cellist Mario Brunello with concerts in Florence, Milan, Turin and Rome in Italy, and then in Japan. In recent years Galligioni has also focused on contemporary music on period instruments, playing works by composers such as Philip Glass, Giovanni Sollima, G. Bersanetti, J. Tavener. In 2011 he was the soloist in the Vivaldi Concerto RV531 with cellist Gautier Capuchon. His recording of the complete cello concertos by Vivaldi was released in a 4 CD set by Brilliant Classics, who also released his recording of Vivaldi’s six printed sonatas, and a 5 CD set of Salvatore Lanzetti’s printed sonatas. Galligioni plays a cello made by Paolo Antonio Testore in 1740 and a viola da gamba dating back to the early 1700s. He has taught cello at the Conservatoires of Lecce, Reggio Calabria, Genoa and Adria, and currently teaches the same instrument at the Conservatorio Agostino Steffani in Castelfranco Veneto (TV), and the viola da gamba at the Conservatorio Jacopo Tomadini in Udine.