Sarabande and Allegro Spiritoso


From the Sonata in D minor Op.4 No.4

Composer: J. B. Senaillé
Arranger: Cathy Elliott

Instrumentation: Double bass and piano
Difficulty: Suitable for advanced players

The printed edition includes both the bass part and piano accompaniment

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Jean Baptiste Senaillé (1687 – 1730) was a French violinist and composer born the year the renowned baroque composer Jean Baptiste Lully died. Both Senaillé and his father played in the French Court Orchestra at Versailles, the 24 Violons du Roi. Lully directed the orchestra until his death so the young Senaillé grew up in an environment steeped in the tradition of the French baroque style popularised by Lully and known throughout Europe. Senaillé then spent some time in Italy studying under the violinist Tomaso Antonio Vitali where he became familiar with the Italian baroque style of the violin sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli and cello sonatas of Antonio Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello.

Senaillé wrote five sets of 10 Violin Sonatas and his writing demonstrates a mixture of French and Italian styles. The movements transcribed here are from the fourth Sonata of Opus 4. The third movement is a Saradande, a stately dance in three, typical of the French court while the fourth is a more characteristically Italian Allegro. Among the many transcriptions of the fourth movement of this sonata is the 1914 version for cello by Joseph Salmon from which we get the title Allegro Spiritoso.

Many baroque composers arranged their compositions for more than one instrument, though not the double bass. In early 18th century France, the double bass was a rarity. It was not until Michel Pignolet de Montéclair joined the Opera Orchestra of Paris in the early 1700’s, playing a Neapolitan double bass he brought to Paris from Italy, that Senaillé would have become familiar with the instrument. We can only speculate as to what Senaillé would have thought of an arrangement of one of his violin sonatas for double bass!

An excellent showpiece for the post grade 8 player.

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ISMN: 979-0-708191-05-6


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