Federico Toffano (IT)

When: Tuesday, 16. 8. 2022 at 20:00

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Federico Toffano (IT)

Artist’s message to visitors

I am very happy to play a Baroque solo cello recital in Slovenia at Bogenšperk Castle. I chose a programme that wanted to combine two famous cello suites by the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach with some pieces by lesser-known Italian authors who have made the cello a solo instrument since the second half of the 1600s. Until the first half of the 1600s, the cello had only the role of accompaniment: the continuo. Only the viola da gamba was entrusted with the role of soloist. Things were about to change. It will be very interesting for the public to discover how the style of each Italian composer is so different from each other. The Italian composers and cellists of the programme come from different Italian regions and cities: from Venice to Sicily, passing through Bologna and Naples.


My artistic mission

My mission is to ensure that after the concert the audience brings home a memory, a gesture, an emotion and that they will then want to deepen it for their own experience. This must be the role of every artist: to make people passionate about going to hear new music, new genres, and repertoires, thus acquiring an increasingly aware "ear". The artist will therefore be more and more satisfied, and his study will be more and more in-depth to meet the needs of the public. Music is passion both for those who create and interpret it and for those who use it.


Recording: Radio Slovenija

Winemaker of Seviqc Brežice 2022 concerts: Family winery Jakončič, Kozana, Goriška Brda

Event programme


Solitudine e libertà: between Bach and Italy


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750):
Suitte 2de (BWV 1008)
​Preludio / Allemande / Courante / Sarabande / Menuet 1 & 2 / Gigue
(6 Suites a Violoncello Solo senza Basso composées par J. S. Bach. Maitre de Capelle)

Francesco Paolo Supriano (1678-1753):
Toccata decima

Domenico Gabrielli (1659-1690):
Ricercare I
Ricercare V

Giuseppe Clemente Dall’Abaco (1710-1805):
Capriccio 1
Capriccio 9
(11 caprices, manuscript: Biblioteca di Conservatorio di Milano)

Giulio Ruvo (fl. 1700):

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750):
Suitte 3. (BWV 1009)
Preludio / Allemande / Courante / Sarabande / Bourree 1 & 2 / Gigue
(6 Suites a Violoncello Solo senza Basso composées par J. S. Bach. Maitre de Capelle)


About the concert programme

Pure instrumental music is always conceived in a rhetorical way: from the earliest examples of written instrumental music in the early Italian 16th century, through the contrapuntal genres as ricercare and fugue, up to the sonata form in the late 18th century and the symphonic poem in the mid-19th century, music is organised like a speech, in a sort of wordless meditation. The object of this musical reasoning is music itself, in its rational logic, in its pure beauty which does not refer to anything outside itself.

This program for solo cello starts from this aesthetic premises and from J.S. Bach’s second Cello Suite. Its different movements are intermingled with pieces of some less known Italian composers, contemporaries of Bach or belonging to the previous generations, the first ones who devoted part of their instrumental output to the violoncello as a solo instrument. We find an exponent of the Bologna school, Gabrielli, and two of the Roman school: Supriano and Ruvo, until the late Venetian school represented by Dall’Abaco, part of an ancient Veronese family of musicians and composers. These pieces are similar in character to the six movements of Bach’s third cello suite, and they are put in a dialogue with them. Bach’s interest in Italian music was immense, even though he never travelled in the Italian peninsula. He probably got aquatinted with some Italian masters in his childhood with his elder brother Johann Christoph, and later in his professional experiences in Weimar and Cöthen. His deep work of synthesis among the Italian, French and Flemish style is well known, and is to be found also in the coils of the cello suites, in which this synthesis takes the form of stylised dance movements, developed as inner musical meditations endowed with a rhetorical structure.

The cello until the second half of the 1600s served as an accompaniment instrument, the so-called basso continuo. Domenico Gabrielli is perhaps the first cellist and composer to bring out the cello from the mere function of basso continuo in the second half of the 1600s. With his seven researchers for solo cello, the Bolognese composer begins to explore the technical and expressive abilities of the instrument which from the following century will lead him to have a solo role in cell literature.

Johann Sebastian Bach resigned from the Weimar court in 1717. "On November 6, Bach, hitherto concert master and court organist, was arrested in the hall of justice; on 2 December, his leave was finally granted and he was released from arrest”. So writes the municipal archive of Leipzig. The Duke of Weimar did not like Johann Sebastian's resignation and had him imprisoned for four weeks. In the same year, the composer was hired in Köthen by Prince Leopold, as choirmaster. If in Weimar Bach could only compose sacred music, from 1717 to 1723 in the Calvinist court of Köthen, he could devote himself to instrumental music and its greatest compositional freedom. Here the suites for solo cello are born.

Little is known about the Sicilian cellist Giulio Ruvo (17th-18th centuries) and the Campania cellist Francesco Paolo Supriano. The first worked mainly in Rome, the second was appointed first cello of the Royal Chapel of Barcelona in 1708, but always lived in the shadow of his great rival who was in Spain in the same years: Luigi Boccherini.

Domenico Gabrielli, born in Bologna on 19 October 1659, also known by the nickname of "Minghin [Minghino, Domenichino] dal viulunzaal", a nickname referring to the special executive skills that made him famous in a short time. A pupil of Giovanni Legrenzi, in Venice, for composition, he dedicated himself in his hometown to the study of the cello, under the guidance of Petronio Franceschini. On April 23, 1676, at the age of only seventeen, he became a member of the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna, assuming the office of president in 1683. Meanwhile, on the death of Franceschini, he took part in the competition for a position as cellist at the Chapel of S. Petronio and was subsequently hired for this job.

Giuseppe Clemente dall’Abaco was an active and long-lived cellist and conductor. Born in 1708 and died in 1805. In the first half of his life, he worked in Germany at the court of Bonn, also traveling to England and France and then retiring to Arbizzano, near Verona, from 1753 until his death. He returns to Italy after being accused of a fraud against the military treasury of Cologne. He manages to prove him innocent of him, but he must resign from his position. His eleven caprices for solo cello were written here, in this small town in the Valpolicella region. In this collection, moments of melancholy and serenity alternate.


Bogenšperk Castle

Bogenšperk Castle is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Slovenia and the home of one of the most important men of our past, Janez Vajkard Valvasor.