Arcangelo Corelli
(1653-1713)

Italian violinist and composer Arcangelo Corelli is one of the most well-known composers of the Baroque era.

Born in what is a province of present-day Italy, very little is known about his early life. He did take violin lessons through Giovanni Battista Bassani, and also studied composition with Matteo Simonelli. His European reputation was established in Paris when he was 19, which afforded him the opportunity to travel to Germany and be in the service of the prince of Bavaria. Additionally, he was able to spend time with fellow violinist Cristiano Farinelli. Before returning to Rome in 1708, he went to Modena, where the duke treated him quite favorably.

Corelli’s execution on the violin in terms of style has been preserved by his pupils. This style is crucially important because of the effects it had on the development of violin playing and writing. However, Corelli did not utilize all of the instrument’s capabilities. This is best seen in his writing, where only a limited portion of techniques are used.

Regardless of his style on the violin, his works are significant in chamber music. He was influential not only in Italy, but also outside his country, attracting composers like JS Bach.

Notably, the lineage of instruction is still traceable today, from student to teacher to Corelli. Known as the “Corelli school”, his contribution to the musical world will be remembered for generations. With works distinguishable by gorgeous melodies, his concerti grossi have become popular standards among many orchestras today.

In total, Corelli composed 48 trio sonatas, 12 violin and continuo sonatas, and 12 concerti grossi.

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