1. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Today, I want to introduce a composer for Baroque mandolin: Francesco Piccone.
    He's not very well known, there isn't even a Wikipedia article about him, but Italian virtuoso Carlo Aonzo plays his music. The piece I have chosen was written for solo mandolin, the guitar part is editorial.
  2. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A lovely composition and very well played, Christian. Great tone from your mandolin and guitar, and so good to hear something out of the ordinary with this tune.
  3. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I was just thinking the same! Yes, thanks CC, a pleasant interlude!
    It’s nice to hear a bit of classical Italian. And you play it like the sound of the mediterranean air, early on a summer’s morning!
  4. gortnamona
    beautiful Christian
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, Christian. I have played and recorded a lot of the 18th century Italian composers for mandolin but haven't come across Piccone -- I'll have an eye out for his music.

  6. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    This is very nice CC . If anyone ( CC?) finds the music to this I would like to give it a try.
  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    His suite in D minor is in the Nakano archive and also available at, so I may try that one. I've just had a read-through and it is very nice and quite playable at sensibly slow tempi.

    The Baccante that Christian has played is the first movement of another suite, in G major. That suite is available in a much newer edition at Presto Music, who conveniently have the entirety of the Baccante movement on their website as a free preview:

  8. Frankdolin
    ! I love the way you presented this Christian. The whole piece jelled with the photos and created a nice little getaway.
  9. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Thanks all, especially Martin for finding the sheet music. The book they sell at prestomusic is what I played from. The mandolin was arranged by Marga Wilden Hüsgen, an important German classical mandolin player. If you have a closer look at the sheet music example, you notice, that in measure eleven. two quarter notes are played with different strokes, the first down the second up. But if that demands too much attention, you can pick in straight alternate picking.(down on the beat, up on the offbeat). I tried another piece from this suite, Balletto
  10. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is my interpretation of Piccone's "Baccante" -- I've tried to keep to the dynamics and pick direction indicated in the Marga Wilden-Hüsgen score. Same arrangement as Christian, and he also stuck closely to the editorial marks, but our readings came out quite different. It's part of the appeal of this group!

    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

    In addition, I have also tried my hand at the first movement (Allegro) of Piccone's "Sinfonia per la mandola in Re minore", which I am playing on mandolin and mandocello. An arrangement is available from Trekel:

    It's a delightful movement, and there are quite a large number of very good recordings online, none sounding much like each other. I will not enter a speed contest with Carlo Aonzo or Gertrud Weyhofen, so I'm taking it at a somewhat more measured tempo.

    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia mandolin
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  11. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Delightful and charming playing both Christian and Martin, nice job!
    Many thanks for the notation, and really interesting about the editorial remarks and picking, it’s one of the things that gives Classical music it’s characteristic feeling.
  12. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Simon! One of the editorial marks in the Wilden-Hüsgen score of the Baccante is the switch between phrases played "met(allic)" and "nat(ural)". On my understanding, the "metallic" instruction refers to picking close to the bridge for a harder tone, also sometimes noted as "sul ponte" in mandolin scores. You may be able to hear the transitions in both Christian's and my recording, and see my picking hand move closer to the bridge in my video.

    One of the striking aspects of these deliberate changes in tone, dynamics or emphasis indicated in the score is just how hard it is to make them apparent to the listener (who isn't usually reading along on the score). When I was playing, I thought the difference in tone between the metallic and natural phrases was night and day, but on the finished recording it's really quite subtle. I recall that Alison Stephens (much missed) said as much in a workshop I attended with her shortly after I started on the mandolin: when you think that you've been really hamming it up and gone over the top you may just have a slight chance of the listener noticing.

  13. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Lovely interpretations all round, both of you. Just enjoying a quiet Sunday morning listening to your efforts here. Thanks for posting.
  14. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Thanks Martin for the nice recordings! I can hear a big difference between metallico and natural. I noticed, that you also play the quarter notes in measure twelve with a down up movement of the pick.There's a book by Gertrud Weyhofen called Technique on eight Stings where down up strokes are notated as a slur, the note played with the upstroke is supposed to sound a little quieter.
    Thanks also for the Allegro from the Sinfonia in d minor. As far as I understand, it is written for mandolin and a cembalo player who is able to fill out basso continuo numbers with chords, but your mandocello sounds fine without chords.
    Another version of the Baccante: Gary Payne on his Cremonese mandolin:
  15. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, John and Christian! I enjoyed playing these.

    Christian: I'm not sure Baroque compositions were ever quite written "for" a particular instrumentation -- the sinfonia has parts for mandolin and basso continuo, which the performers were expected to expand ("realise") in a semi-improvised manner with chords and fills. These days, the most common way of realising a basso would be on cello and harpsichord (cembalo for the German and Italian speakers): cello plays the bass line as written and harpsichord plays chords etc built on the root notes provided by the composer. That is not to say that the harpsichord was required or universally used to play these parts: a common alternative would have been a theorbo (bass lute) which can also play bass and chords at the same time. Modern editions often have full harpsichord parts provided by the editor, and that is also the case for the Trekel edition of the Piccone sinfonia I was using. I didn't use their harpsichord part, though, only the bass line. The mandocello is fun for those Baroque basso parts as it combines the sonority of the cello with the percussiveness of the harpsichord. Not quite as powerful as the theorbo, but a lot easier to play.

  16. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    When I heard this tune I decided I just had to have a try at it as a change from my usual offerings. I added a second mandolin part and guitar accompaniment to the version Christian and Martin have worked from.
    Pictures from Loch Loskin and River Echaig and taken four days ago - Autumn colours just beginning to appear.

  17. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    I enjoyed all the renditions above. John, I applaud your production of this song and am overwhelmed with how beautiful it sounds - tone/guitar/a bit of is an excellent piece you have done here. Put this one in your top drawer for keeping !
  18. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Wonderful John, one of your best yet. I like the Scottish flavour you’ve given, along with the increased tempo.
    The tune, with it’s out of key major chord progression is really growing on me.

    (I wouldn’t be surprised to hear from Dennis and Bertram...)
  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Ginny and Simon, thanks for your very generous comments and also for the comments over on my YT channel. As soon as I heard Christian's then Martin's renditions I was really taken by the simplicity but great beauty of this tune.
  20. Frankdolin
    Martin I liked your approach to this tune played with that Vinaccia! John, your version melds with your masterful photography! The waterfall pics, you got some talent! It's amazing that our seasons are almost a mirror. I'm maybe a week behind you now. I lost over 300 photos from last Friday to a bad memory card.
  21. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Frank!

    John -- great interpretation, with the lush harmonies and accompaniments transporting the tune from baroque Italy to a folky session in Scotland. The universality of music in action! As Christian has said, it was originally published as just a solo mandolin melody, so any sort of accompaniment is up to the players. Baroque composers were much less fussy in that respect than later ones.

  22. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    And thanks CC for posting the Gary Payne vid.
  23. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    That was great, John! As Martin said, there is always a taste of Scottish folk in your recordings, but that goes together well with this Italian baroque piece.
  24. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, C and M. I had no idea I was adding a Scottish feel to this tune until both of you commented on that here. I got the score from the Prestomusic website. The music is at present marked as out of stock for UK distribution, so I downloaded the page as a jpg image and worked from that, creating my chords from the guitar part that accompanies the melody line.
  25. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I did the same John, I have a print of it, but I have another ten tunes, waltzes etc and still three books of tunes to record...
    I seem to practice the tunes you all have posted but then move onto the next one thinking I’ll record that tomorrow.
  26. Frithjof
    These all are very enjoyable recordings - including the one of Gary Payne.
    It’s fun to play along with all your versions of Baccante.
  27. harrywhohaa
    A lovely piece , thanks for introducing us to is Christian
Results 1 to 27 of 27