Thursday, March 31, 2011


Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Italian composer and violinist, whose style of playing became the basis for the violin technique of the 18th and 19th centuries, and whose chamber music compositions were far-reaching in their influence. Born in Fusignano, he studied in nearby Bologna and after 1675 lived in Rome. There his patrons included Queen Christina of Sweden and, after 1690, the art patron Pietro Cardinal Ottoboni. The most widely published and reprinted composer before the Austrian Joseph Haydn, Corelli was the first composer to gain an international reputation solely on the basis of his instrumental music.
Many elements of his style became commonplace in the 18th century, and his works are early examples of the newly evolved system of major and minor tonality. As the preeminent violin virtuoso of the day, he taught many leading violinist-composers of the 18th century, among them the Italian Francesco Geminiani. Corelli's chamber music includes four sets of trio sonatas (op. 1-4); a set of 12 sonatas (op. 5) for solo violin and continuo (in this case, cello plus harpsichord), the last of which includes the famous variations on La Follia; and a set of 12 concerti grossi (op. 6), among the earliest concerti grossi to be published.

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