Here is a link to the IMSLP scan of the first edition:
<Giustini - 12 Sonatas for Piano>.
And here is a YouTube playlist of all 12 sonatas recorded on a reproduction Cristofori pianoforte performed by Andrea Coen:
<Giustini - Sonatas for piano, performed by Andrea Coen -- YoutTube playlist>.
Giustini was probably not intending to create an idiomatic style for this new piano. Indeed, listening to the above recordings, when I first started listening, I thought that they had been recorded on a harpsichord. I, of course, had in my mind the sound of the modern day piano and even some of the historic pianos that I have heard, which themselves sound to me closer to the modern sound than the older harpsichord sound. Yet, this piano had very much a harpsichord sound, so there would seem to be little need for a totally different style of playing for the piano. Rather, Giustini seems to be exploring and demonstrating the possibilities that this new "hammer harpsichord" could do that the other keyboard instruments of the day could not (O.K., the clavichord did have dynamics -- from soft to softest -- but it could barely be heard from any distance if someone was even breathing). These works help to show what could be done with the keyboard music of the day when performed upon the new pianoforte as opposed to the older plucked string instruments.
The fact that we even know about these sonatas and their composer, Lodovico Giustini, is in itself a miracle. The fact that these are the only known pieces to be published by this provincial man who spent his life in his small town of Pistoia (about 20 miles northwest of Florence in Tuscany) is also a miracle. I will address this in a later post. For now, let's see what we can find out about Lodovico Giustini.
[Much of the following is derived from Wikipedia. We all know that it is on Wikipedia that it must be true, right? No, I don't trust everything that I read on Wikipedia, but I find, particularly if the article is referenced, that it can be good place to start. The article on Giustini cites the following references, although the author did not even include some pertinent information. They are:
Edward Higginbottom, "Lodovico Giustini", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980.ISBN 1-56159-174-2
Jean Grundy Fanelli: "Lodovico Giustini", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed November 14, 2005), (subscription access) (Note: the articles in the two editions of Grove are by different authors, and each contains unique material)
James Parakilas, Piano Roles: 300 Years of Life with the Piano. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-300-08055-7. [Note: This is the earlier hard cover version of the one that I cited above.]
Lodovico Giustini, The 12 Sonatas for piano, ed. Dominique Ferran, 3 vol. Paris-San Diego, Drake Mabry Publishing, 2003.
Freeman, Daniel E. "Lodovico Giustini and the Emergence of the Keyboard Sonata in Italy." Anuario musical 58 (2003):111-30. [My note: This article is available on-line for download a t<Lodovico Giustini and the Emergence of the Keyboard Sonata in Italy>.]
Giustini's father was organist at the Congregazione dello Spirito Santo. An uncle, Domenico Giustini, was also a composer of sacred music. Upon his father's death in 1725, Giustini became organist at the Congregazione at age 40 where he acquired a reputation as a composer of sacred music, mostly cantatas and oratorios. In 1728 he collaborated with Giovanni Carlo Maria Clari (27 September 1677 – 16 May 1754) on a set of Lamentations, which were performed that year [Note: there is a Wikipedia article and some of his music is available on IMSLP].
19 June 1732 he requested to be relieved of duties as organist of the Congregazione dello Spirito Santo in order to make a trip to Florence. He planned to arrive there on 1 July. By November of that same year he was back in Pistoia. It was during this time that he wrote the 12 Sonatas for Pianoforte. [Bartolomeo Cristofori had died in January of that same year]. [Note: this information comes from the Freeman article cited above.]
In 1734, Giustini was hired as organist at S Maria dell'Umiltà, the Cathedral of Pistoia. He held this position for the rest of his life and died in Pistoia, 7 February 1743.
In addition to playing the organ at the two mentioned religious institutions, he performed on the harpsichord at numerous locations, often in his own oratorios.