Gaspard Fritz

Sinfonien I und II, op. 6 - Violinkonzert


Sinfonia I, B-Dur, op.6; Violinkonzert, E-Dur; Sinfonia II, C-Dur, op.6.


The violinist Philippe Fritz (1689–1744) came from Celle in Lower Saxony and settled in Geneva at the age of twenty. It was there that he married Jeanne Guibourdance. Four years later, on 18 February 1716, their son Gaspard was born. His first violin lessons were presumably given him by his father, and in the 1730s the young Gaspard studied in Turin with Giovanni Battista Somis, a wellknown violinist and himself a former pupil of Arcangelo Corelli. Somis taught other important violin virtuosos. After returning to his home city, Fritz married one Charlotte Foix in 1737 when he was 21 years old. In that same year, 1737, several young English aristocrats settled in Geneva after having gone on their Grand Tour to Italy. They met each day at a salon called the Common Room of Geneva, and despite Geneva being strictly Calvinist at the time they were not prevented from organising extravagant cultural events, such as theatrical performances and pantomimes, between 1738 and 1743. These well-educated young Englishmen – who termed themselves “The Bloods” – also invited representatives of the local upper classes to their events. The young Gaspard Fritz directed a small orchestra that provided their musical entertainment, and he will presumably also have taken the opportunity to perform works of his own. It was also these English gentlemen who helped to boost Fritz’s career. One of the “Bloods”, Benjamin Tate, left Geneva for London via Amsterdam, and it was from that city that he wrote to his friends on 11 April 1741 that he had showed the violin virtuoso Pietro Antonio Locatelli “Trios, Solos and Concertos” by Fritz. Tate reports that Locatelli liked these works so much that he promptly played through them. This letter shows just how much the 25-year-old Fritz was appreciated by one of the most famous violinists of the 18th century. it also proves that Fritz had by this time already composed concertos and “solos” (thus either sonatas with accompaniment or solos for unaccompanied violin).


Gaspard Fritz (1716-1783)


Kesselberg Ensemble; Leila Schayegh, Barockvioline; Ilze Grudule, künstlerische Leitung.

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MGB CD 6283

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