this section we shall present, in chronological order, some
of the ingenious composers who have left their mark and defied
the passing of centuries with their masterpieces of music for
The choice was not an easy one, but we have attempted
to cover the period from the baroque (ca. 1600-1750) to the
beginning of the 20th century.
- Arcangelo Corelli
- Pietro Locatelli
- Antonio Vivaldi
Ravenna 1653 - Rome 1713)
Italian composer and violinist whose playing style was to launch
the technique of the 18th and 19th centuries, Corelli
created chamber music that had a great influence on his successors.
are many legends even today on the life of Corelli, though in
reality very little is known about him. Admitted to the famous
Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna at the age of 17, he is thought
to have settled in Rome in 1671. From there, his career evolved
his protectors was Queen Christine of Sweden, and later, as
from 1690, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, a nephew of the Pope. The
most published composer before the arrival of the Austrian Joseph
Haydn, Corelli was also one of the first to acquire an international
reputation thanks to his instrumental music alone. A violin
virtuoso, he was professor to many renowned violinist-composers
of the 18th century.
catalogue of Corellis chamber music includes 4 volumes of sonatas
for trio (op.14), a volume of 12 sonatas (op.5) for violin
solo and continuo, as well as an ensemble of 12 concertos
(op.6), that are amongst the first forms of the concerto grosso
ever published. His most famous work - and the most often performed
in our day - is undoubtedly the concerto grosso no 8,
op.6, "For Christmas Night".
(Bergame 1695 - Amsterdam 1764)
and Italian composer Pietro Locatelli was a pupil of Corellis
in Rome, where he lived for ten years.
1721 his 12 "Concerti grossi a 4 e a 5, con 12 fughe"
were published in Amsterdam. In 1725 he presented some of his
concerts in Venice, where they were very successful. After sojourns
in Berlin and Kassel (Hesse), Locatelli finally settled in Amsterdam,
where he founded a school for stringed instruments, to
which he entrusted the first playing of his works.
from 1732, untiringly he wrote sonatas, concertos, caprices
and more, especially for the violin, but also for the transverse
(or end-blown) flute.
at first by Corellis style as regards the forms, thanks to
Locatelli they evolved considerably. His technique in violin
playing made him a predecessor of Paganini, and he is recognised
as one of the Italian composer-violinists who created a veritable
era of the violin and music for stringed instruments.
1678 - Vienna 1741)
on March 4, 1678 in Venice, Vivaldi was introduced to music
by his father, who was a violinist at Saint Marks Basilica.
He entered the priesthood at the age of 15 (1693) and was ordained
priest in 1703. Very soon, however, and owing to a breathing
disorder, he gave up celebrating Mass. Vivaldi became a violin
professor at the Ospedale della Pietà, a musical seminary for
young orphan girls, and in 1705 was entrusted with "instructing
young girls in the composition and execution of concertos".
and impresario for a theatre in Venice, Vivaldi held several
posts as choir-master, all the while playing his works in Italy,
Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. In June 1741 he left for
Vienna, where he died in poverty just one month later.
his choral and religious compositions, Vivaldi left an enormous
instrumental work, including 456 concertos, of which 223
for violin and orchestra, 22 for two violins, 27 for cello,
39 for bassoon, 13 for oboe as well as other concertos for viola
damore, lute, theorbo, mandolin, piccolo, and 73 sonatas. Vivaldi
was keenly interested in instrumental techniques and how to
sought to vary his orchestrations by introducing unusual instruments
such as the theorbo, a sort of large lute, and was the first
to write for the clarino, ancestor of the clarinet. He also
wrote for the transverse flute, (which at the time was far less
popular than the standard C flute), and more often than
not gave a place of predominance to accompanying instruments
such as the bassoon.
was Vivaldi who established the ternary format of the concerto
(lively, slow, lively). He was also amongst the first to introduce
the cadenze for soloists. The principle of the modern
concerto, which implies a virtuoso interpretation of a perfect
composition, is an integral part of Vivaldis last works.
in oblivion for some time, Vivaldis music was first revived
and made known again thanks to the transcriptions by Johann-Sebastian
Bach during his musical training.