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Program Notes

Each week, thousands of San Francisco Symphony concert-goers open their programs to read about the drama, the passion, and the inspiration behind the music they’re hearing. You can read our critically acclaimed program notes online one week prior to select concerts.

Italian composer Baldassare Galuppi (1706–85) was a standard bearer of the early classical style developed by composers such as Domenico Scarlatti, C.P.E. Bach, and Gluck. Venetian by birth, Galuppi primarily made his mark as a composer for the theater, writing more than 100 operas in his long career. His renown was such that he was handpicked by Catherine the Great to serve as her court composer from 1764–68. Though he was a pioneer in developing the comic opera style (later taken to great heights by Mozart), much of his music was lost to time and changing tastes. The last few decades have been kinder to Galuppi, and his music has been revived by acolytes of the historical performance movement. Galuppi’s keyboard sonatas, of which there are close to 130—he was a busy man—hum along in a pleasingly elegant and singing style.—From notes by JAMES M. KELLER, SCOTT FOGLESONG, MICHAEL STEINBERG, and STEVEN ZIEGLER