PPP1503DL Giovanni Punto: Trois duos Op. A

PPP1503 Punto DOWNLOAD.jpg
PPP1503 Punto Score.jpg
PPP1503 Punto DOWNLOAD.jpg
PPP1503 Punto Score.jpg

PPP1503DL Giovanni Punto: Trois duos Op. A

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Giovanni Punto (1746–1803) was born Jan Václav Stich into a family of serfs in Zehušice, Bohemia. The child’s musical prowess was noticed by the local Count, who enabled him to travel first to Prague, where he studied with Matiegka, then to Munich to study with Schindelarž, and finally to Dresden, where he studied with leading horn players Hampel and Haudek. Stich fled a life of servitude back home in Bohemia and embarked on what was to be one of the most prominent careers of any natural horn player – under his new, Italianised name of Giovanni Punto.

He composed a large number of works, mainly for horn but also for other solo instruments such as violin (on which he was also a fine player) and flute. His prowess as a horn player was such that it was Punto who was the household name when he and Beethoven premiered Beethoven’s Sonata for fortepiano and horn, Op. 17, in Vienna in 1800. Mozart was another great admirer, writing for him in his 1788 Sinfonia concertante (KV Anh. 9 [279B]) and famously commenting to his father Leopold that ‘Punto plays magnificently.’ Punto was equally admired for his skills as both composer and performer, with Christian Schubart acclaiming him ‘indisputably the best horn player in the world...His compositions are as excellent as his performance, only they always demand a master performer – they are not written for amateurs’ (Ideen zu einer Ästhetik der Tonkunst, 1806).

Each of the three duos, published in Paris in 1802, comprises three shorter movements, with the final Pot-Pourri of the Troisième Duo incorporating themes from the earlier movements. Deceptively simple, the compositions require a high degree of fluency with hand technique, as Punto predominantly uses the horn in the middle of its range. In all three duos the two lines are closely intertwined, with each instrument having to move from a melodic to an accompanying role with great swiftness.

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