Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni 

1671 - 1751

Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni (8 June 1671 – 17 January 1751) was an Italian Baroque composer. While famous in his day as an opera composer, he is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music, such as the concerti.

Key Works

Born in Venice, Republic of Venice, to Antonio Albinoni, a wealthy paper merchant in Venice, he studied violin and singing. Relatively little is known about his life, especially considering his contemporary stature as a composer, and the comparatively well-documented period in which he lived. In 1694 he dedicated his Opus 1 to the fellow-Venetian, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (grand-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII); Ottoboni was an important patron in Rome of other composers, such as Arcangelo Corelli. His first opera, Zenobia, regina de Palmireni, was produced in Venice in 1694. Albinoni was possibly employed in 1700 as a violinist to Charles IV, Duke of Mantua, to whom he dedicated his Opus 2 collection of instrumental pieces. In 1701 he wrote his hugely popular suites Opus 3, and dedicated that collection to Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

In 1705, he was married; Antonino Biffi, the maestro di cappella of San Marco was a witness, and evidently was a friend of Albinoni. Albinoni seems to have no other connection with that primary musical establishment in Venice, however, and achieved his early fame as an opera composer at many cities in Italy, including Venice, Genoa, Bologna, Mantua, Udine, Piacenza, and Naples. During this time he was also composing instrumental music in abundance: prior to 1705, he mostly wrote trio sonatas and violin concertos, but between then and 1719 he wrote solo sonatas and concertos for oboe.

Unlike most composers of his time, he appears never to have sought a post at either a church or noble court, but then he was a man of independent means and had the option to compose music independently. In 1722, Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, to whom Albinoni had dedicated a set of twelve concertos, invited him to direct two of his operas in Munich.

Around 1740, a collection of Albinoni's violin sonatas was published in France as a posthumous work, and scholars long presumed that meant that Albinoni had died by that time. However, it appears he lived on in Venice in obscurity; a record from the parish of San Barnaba indicates Tomaso Albinoni died in Venice in 1751, of diabetes mellitus.

12 concerti a cinque, Opus 5

12 concerti a cinque Opus 5
[00:01] Nº 1 en Si bemol mayor
[05:21] Nº 2 en Fa mayor
[11:52] Nº 3 en Re mayor
[19:14] Nº 4 en Sol mayor
[24:29] Nº 5 en la menor
[31:59] Nº 6 en Do mayor
[38:33] Nº 7 en re menor
[44:33] Nº 8 en Fa mayor
[52:28] Nº 9 en mi menor
[56:45] Nº 10 en La mayor
[1:01:57] Nº 11 en sol menor
[1:09:45] Nº 12 Do mayor

12 Concertos, Op. 9

Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni - 12 Concertos, Op.9
Concerto for Violin No.1 in B flat major, Op.9
Concerto for Oboe No.2 in D minor, Op.9
Concerto for Two Oboes No.3 in F major, Op.9
Concerto for Violin No.4 in A major, Op.9
Concerto for Oboe No.5 in C major, Op.9
Concerto for Two Oboes No.6 in G major, Op.9
Concerto for Violin No.7 in D major, Op.9
Concerto for Oboe No.8 in G minor, Op.9
Concerto for Two Oboes No.9 in C major, Op.9
Concerto for Violin No.10 in F major, Op.9
Concerto for Violin No.11 in B flat major, Op.9
Concerto for Two Oboes No.12 in D major, Op.9

Chamber Sonatas

Tomaso Albinono

Music and influence
Most of his operatic works have been lost, largely because they were not published during his lifetime. However, nine collections of instrumental works were published. These were met with considerable success and consequent reprints. He is therefore known more as a composer of instrumental music (99 sonatas, 59 concerti and 9 sinfonie) today. In his lifetime these works were compared favourably with those of Corelli and Vivaldi. His nine collections published in Italy, Amsterdam and London were either dedicated to or sponsored by an impressive list of southern European nobility. Albinoni wrote at least fifty operas, of which twenty-eight were produced in Venice between 1723 and 1740. Albinoni himself claimed 81 operas (naming his second-to-last opera, in the libretto, as his 80th). In spite of his enormous operatic output, today he is most noted for his instrumental music, especially his oboe concerti. He is the first Italian known to employ the oboe as a solo instrument in concerti (c. 1715, in his 12 concerti a cinque, op. 7) and publish such works, although earlier concerti featuring solo oboe were probably written by German composers such as Telemann or Händel In Italy, Alessandro Marcello published his well-known oboe concerto in D minor a little later, in 1717. Albinoni also employed the instrument often in his chamber works.

His instrumental music attracted great attention from Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote at least two fugues on Albinoni's themes (Fugue in A major on a theme by Tomaso Albinoni, BWV 950, Fugue in B minor on a theme by Tomaso Albinoni, BWV 951) and frequently used his basses for harmony exercises for his pupils. Part of Albinoni's work was lost in World War II with the destruction of the Dresden State Library. As a result, little is known of his life and music after the mid-1720s.

The famous "Adagio in G minor" for violin, strings and organ, the subject of many modern recordings, is thought by some to be a musical hoax composed by Remo Giazotto. However, a discovery by musicologist Muska Mangano, Giazotto's last assistant before his death, has cast some doubt on that belief. Among Giazotto's papers, Mangano discovered a modern but independent manuscript transcription of the figured bass portion, and six fragmentary bars of the first violin, "bearing in the top right-hand corner a stamp stating unequivocally the Dresden provenance of the original from which it was taken". This provides support for Giazotto's account that he did base his composition on an earlier source.

Tomaso Albinoni was born into a family of Venetian paper merchants m 1671. His father Antonio owned a number of shops as well as other properties around Venice. Being the eldest child, Tomaso was given a solid musical education, but appears to have enjoyed his personal freedom too much to consider taking employment within the church.

By the age of 23, however, he had begun to find his way. Me composed an opera, Zenobia Regina de Palmireni, which was staged, and followed this with a set of 12 trio sonatas. These two genres, secular vocal music and instrumental works, were Albinoni's two main concerns throughout his composing life, although his reputation rests largely on the latter, as little survives of his output of over 50 operas.

There are suggestions that Albinoni might have been briefly employed by the Duke of Mantua, but most likely he merely dedicated a work to him following a meeting at the opera in Venice. His operas began to enjoy success in Italy, and in 1705 he married the soprano Margherita Rimondi. Despite rearing six children she managed to continue her performing career, but died in her thirties. Albinoni's difficulties continued when he was the victim of a legal action by one of his father's creditors, which resulted in the family losing their shops.

Albinoni continued to write instrumental compositions and in 1707 published a set of 12 concertos for strings, followed in 1715 by two sets of oboe concertos that show his gift for fluid, melodic lines. His fortunes improved after he dedicated 12 concertos to Maximilian Emanuel II, Elector of Bavaria, in 1722, when he was invited to Munich to supervise the staging of one of his operas at Prince-Elector Karl Albert's marriage celebrations.

Ironically, the piece for which Albinoni is best known in fact owes little to him. The Adagio for strings and organ was elaborated from a fragmented manuscript by the twentieth-century Italian musicologist, Remo Giazotto. The piece owes its romantic character to some particularly lush string writing.

Albinoni associated little with his fellow composers, and although the influence of Corelli and Vivaldi can be traced, his musical ideas were relatively undiluted by others. This individuality, particularly in his instrumental works, along with the popular success of his apocryphal Adagio, makes Albinoni well worth discovering.

Balletti a 3, Op. 3

12 Balletti a 3 per 2 violini, violoncello e basso continuo Op. 3 

Balletto I in do maggiore

Balletto II in mi minore   6:23 

Balletto III in sol maggiore   12:34

Balletto IV in la maggiore   18:27

Balletto V in re minore   25:16 

Balletto VI in fa maggiore   33:17

Balletto VII in re maggiore   39:35

Balletto VIII in do minore   46:55

Balletto IX in sol minore   53:58

Balletto X in mi maggiore   59:00

Balletto XI in la minore   1:07:01

Balletto XII in si bemolle maggiore   1:13:09

Concerti a Cinque, Op.10 

Concerti a Cinque, Op.10  1735-1736

CONCERTO No.4 in G major

CONCERTO No.11 in C minor   10:18 

CONCERTO No.9 in C major   18:23

CONCERTO No.8 in G minor    26:29 

CONCERTO No.5 in A major   36:26 

CONCERTO No.7 in F major   44:58 

CONCERTO No.2 in G minor   54:32 

CONCERTO No.1 in B-flat major   1:04:47 

 Concerti a cinque, Op . 7

Concerto Op. 7 No. 1 in D major for Strings & Continuo
No. 2 in C major for 2 Oboes, Strings & Continuo 4:24
No. 3 in B flat major for Oboe, Strings & Continuo 10:25
No. 4 in G major for Strings & Continuo 21:17
No. 5 in C major for 2 Oboes, Strings & Continuo 27:17
No. 6 in D major for Oboe, Strings & Continuo 35:30
No. 7 in A major for Strings & Continuo 40:18
No. 8 in D major for 2 Oboes, Strings & Continuo 47:11
No. 9 in F major for Oboe, Strings & Continuo 54:38
No. 10 in B flat major for Strings & Continuo 1:01:16
No. 11 in C major for 2 Oboes, Strings & Continuo 1:08:15
No. 12 in C major for Oboe, Strings & Continuo 1:16:40

Concerti e Sinfonie, Op 2

Trio Sonatas,  Op.1

00:00:00 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata I in D Minor
00:08:07 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata II in F Majo
00:17:12 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata III in C Major
00:24:22 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata IV in G Minor
00:31:29 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata V in C Major
00:38:03 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata VI in A Minor 
00:45:11 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata VII in G Major
00:52:12 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata VIII in B Minor
00:58:59 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata IX in D Major
01:05:44 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata X in F Minor
01:13:49 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata XI in E Minor
01:19:30 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata XII in B-Flat Major

Adagio en sol menor, in G minor

Adagio en sol menor, in G minor

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