Francesco Barsanti

Italian composer, flautist, oboist, viola and recorder player Francesco Barsanti was born in Lucca in 1690, and abandoned a career in law to take up music.

In 1714 he relocated to London, along with Francesco Geminiani, and he found work in the opera orchestra where Handel's operas were being staged.

In 1735 he moved to Edinburgh and worked for the Edinburgh Musical Society for eight years, during which time he got married. Back in London, having fallen from fame, but a very versatile performer on many instruments, he played viola in Handel's opera orchestra and also in the summer at Vauxhall. It's possible that he also played timpani.

His daughter Jenny became a well-known actress in London and Dublin, and she cared for Francesco at the end of his life, when he had a stroke in 1772 and died three years later, sometime between 1 and 4 May 1775.

Much of his music has survived, but he's known mainly for his six recorder sonatas Op 1 and the twenty-eight Scottish airs in A Collection of Old Scots Tunes (1742), dedicated to Lady Charlotte Erskine (1720-1788), who supported Barsanti during his time in Scotland.

A selection of articles about Francesco Barsanti

CD Spotlight. Commanding the Passions - Sonatas by Francesco Barsanti, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... performances are consistently versatile, accurate and poetic.'