Giovanni Porta: Sinfonia in D
for Trumpet [in D], Strings, & Continuo
Full Score, Instrumental Parts, & Keyboard Reduction
The Italian composer Giovanni Porta was born in either Venice or Veneto in around 1675, and while in Venice, he was a pupil of Francesco Gasparini (1661–1727). On 25 September 1710 Porta was appointed maestro di cappella at Vicenza Cathedral, a position he held for just over a year. After serving in the same position at Verona Cathedral from 1714–1716, he returned to Venice where he began to gain a reputation as a composer of opera. Porta was in England in 1719 in the service of Philip Wharton (1698–1731), 1st Duke of Wharton. It was here where Numitore, the work that Porta is chiefly known for, was first performed; this opera was staged on 2 April 1720 in the Haymarket theater, for seven performances, followed by Handel’s Radamisto and Domenico Scarlatti’s Narciso. Porta later returned to Italy where he composed for theaters in Venice, Milan, Naples, Florence, Bologna, and Rome. On 24 May 1726, he became maestro di coro at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, where he was a colleague of Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741). It is notable that while Vivaldi is the better-known composer today, Porta’s salary was 200 duckets, double as much as Vivaldi’s. In 1737 Porta left Venice to accept a position in Munich as Hofkapellmeister at the court of Charles VII (German: Karl Albrecht), Prince-elector of Bavaria. He remained in this position until his death on 21 June 1755.
While the present three-movement sinfonia is short, it is, nevertheless, an impressive work. The compass of the trumpet part is from the 5th to 16th partial of the harmonic series (written E4–C6), and trumpeter participates in the festive outer movements. While there is no concrete evidence, it is plausible that the work could have been used as, or at least conceived as, an introduction to one of the composer’s operas, several of which are not extant.