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Arcangelo Corelli 

1653 - 1713

Arcangelo Corelli (/kɔːˈrɛli/; 17 February 1653 – 8 January 1713) was an Italian violinist and composer of the Baroque era. His music was key in the development of the modern genres of sonata and concerto, in establishing the preeminence of the violin, and as the first coalescing of modern tonality and functional harmony.

Arcangelo Corelli
Portrait by Jan Frans van Douven

Key Works

Arcangelo Corelli as painted in 1697 by the Irish painter Hugh Howard.

He was born into a well-to-do family and studied violin in Bologna from about 1666, becoming a member of its Accademia Filarmonica in 1670. From 1675 he was active in Rome, where he quickly established himself as one of the city’s foremost violinists and attracted the attention of notable patrons such as Queen Christina of Sweden and Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili. His first publication, a set of 12 trio sonatas, appeared in 1681, and was followed by additional sets of sonatas in 1685 and 1689. In 1690 the 22-year-old Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, nephew of Pope Alexander VIII, became Corelli’s patron; his generosity made Corelli a rich man and enabled him to concentrate increasingly on composition (to the detriment of his playing, according to several eyewitness accounts, including one from Handel, who met Corelli in Rome in 1707). He retired from concertizing in 1708 and spent the final five years of his life perfecting his last works, a set of 12 concern grossi that were published posthumously in Amsterdam, as his Op. 6, in 1714.

Corelli was the first important composer to focus his efforts primarily on instrumental music, beginning a trend that would culminate in the 19th century’s enthronement of symphonic and chamber music as the loftiest pursuits of “serious” music. The elegance of his instrumental writing and the sure handling of form in his sonatas and concerti grossi impressed all his peers; so imaginative was his instrumentation, so poetic the expression of his concertos, that one contemporary dubbed him “the new Orpheus of our days.” His works were among the first by any composer to be considered “canonic,” and held up as examples of the art of composition long after he was dead.

Arcangelo Corelli

The youngest of five children, Corelli is thought to have received his first musical education from a priest in Faenza; but his formative period was to come later, at the age of 13, when he went to Bologna to study the violin. Not only did the city possess one of the largest churches, San Petronio, but it was also a leading centre of the Italian school of chamber music. Young Corelli's appetite for the violin together with Bologna's musical importance would prove an important combination.

At 17 he was admitted to the city's Accademia Filarmonica, and over the next few years he became one of Italy's leading violinists. He performed in churches and theatres all over Rome. This led him to enter the service of Queen Christina of Sweden, who had a home m the city and created her own academy of chamber musicians. Corelli began composing pieces for Christina and dedicated to her his Opus 1 collection of trio sonatas for two violins, cello, and harpsichord. He also worked as the leader of ten violinists in San Luigi in 1682 and went on to make annual visits there for over a quarter of a century.

In 1684 Corelli became a member of the Congregazione dei Virtuosi di Santa Cecilia. His increasing renown led him to play for Cardinal Pamphili, to whom he dedicated his Opus 2 chamber works. Corelli became music master to Cardinal Pamphili in 1687, and took up residence m the Cardinal's palace, where he performed trios with his fellow violinist Matteo Fornari and Spanish-born cellist Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier.

Eventually the Cardinal moved away from Rome, and in 1690 Corelli was adopted by CardinalOttoboni. He now directed regular Monday concerts as well as operatic performances and in 1694 dedicated a set of chamber trios to the Cardinal. After ten years he was appointed leader of the instrumental section of the Congregazione del Virtuosi di Santa Cecilia, and was eventually elected to the Arcadian Academy, an institution for the promotion of music.

His distinguished work brought Corelli into contact with the leading musical figures of the day. He played in Handel's Il trionfo del tempo in 1707 and led performances of that composer's La resurrezione the following spring. A year later he withdrew from public life to concentrate on revisions to his own work. As old age and worsening health intruded, he moved from the Cardinal's palace into his own home in 1712, where he died a year later. He was buried in the Pantheon in Rome close to the artist Raphael.

Corelli declared that the purpose of his music was to display the violin, and this is shown to best effect in his Concerti grossi, Opus 6. These 12 pieces were written over a period of many years and collectedinto a set published the year after Corelli's death. Mainly in three movements, each contrasts a group of solo instruments — two violins and harpsichord - against the rest of the orchestra. Eight of the works are da chiesa, in the church style, and have a serious character. The remaining four are da camera, of a lighter nature. Number 8, the "Christmas concerto", which is intended for performance on Christmas night, has enjoyed particular popularity. The pieces were a milestone in the development of the solo concerto as we know it today.

12 Concerti Grossi, Opus 6

Concerto 1 in D major

Concerto 2 in F major   12:34

Concerto 3 in C minor   23:19

Concerto 4 in D major   34:19

Concerto 5 in B flat major   44:30

Concerto 6 in F major   55:05

Concerto 7 in D major    1:06:17

Concerto 8 in G minor Fatto per la notte di Natale (Christmas Concerto)    1:15:12
Concerto 9 in F major    1:29:26

Concerto 10 in C major    1:38:30

Concerto 11 in B flat major    1:50:56

Concerto 12 in F major    2:00:23
Sinfonia (WoO1) (to the oratorio Santa Beatrice d'Este)   2:10:43

Sonata a Quattro (WoO 2)    2:19:09

12 Violin Sonatas, Op. 5 

01. Sonata No.1 for violin & continuo in D major

02. Sonata No.2 for violin & continuo in B flat major

03. Sonata No.3 for violin & continuo in C minor

04. Sonata No.4 for violin & continuo in F major

05. Sonata No.5 for violin & continuo in G minor

06. Sonata No.6 for violin & continuo in A major

07. Sonata No.7 for violin & continuo in D minor

08. Sonata No.8 for violin & continuo in E minor

09. Sonata No.9 for violin & continuo in A major

10. Sonata No.10 for violin & continuo in F major

11. Sonata No.11 for violin & continuo in E major

12. Sonata No.12 for violin & continuo in D minor, ("La Follia")

12 Sonate da chiesa a 3 Op. 1



Sonata n. 1 in fa maggiore

Sonata n. 2 in mi minore   6:14 

Sonata n. 3 in la maggiore   11:22

Sonata n. 4 in la minore   17:48

Sonata n. 5 in si bemolle maggiore   22:53

Sonata n. 6 in si minore   29:09

Sonata n. 7 in do maggiore   35:45

Sonata n. 8 in do minore 39:56

Sonata n. 9 in sol maggiore   46:00

Sonata n. 10 in sol minore   52:00 

Sonata n. 11 in re minore   57:09

Sonata n. 12 in re maggiore   1:02:19 

12 Sonate da chiesa a 3 Op. 3

Sonata n. 1 in fa maggiore

Sonata n. 2 in re maggiore   7:51

Sonata n. 3 in si bemolle maggiore   16:04

Sonata n. 4 in si minore   23:31

Sonata n. 5 in re minore   30:58

Sonata n. 6 in sol maggiore   37:52

Sonata n. 7 in mi minore    45:35

Sonata n. 8 in do maggiore    53:51

Sonata n. 9 in fa minore    1:00:37

Sonata n. 10 in la minore    1:08:19

Sonata n. 11 in sol minore    1:13:04

Sonata n. 12 in la maggiore    1:19:57

12 Sonate da camera a 3 Op. 4

Sonata n. 1 in do maggiore

Sonata n. 2 in sol minore   6:26

Sonata n. 3 in la maggiore   12:45

Sonata n. 4 in re maggiore   21:48

Sonata n. 5 in la minore   28:55

Sonata n. 6 in mi maggiore   35:11

Sonata n. 7 in fa maggiore   41:32

Sonata n. 8 in re minore   48:23

Sonata n. 9 in si bemolle maggiore   53:08

Sonata n. 10 in sol maggiore    1:01:53

Sonata n. 11 in do minore    1:06:33

Sonata n. 12 in si minore    1:14:19

(b. Fusignano, February 17, 1653; d. Rome, January 8, 1713)

ITALIAN VIOLINIST AND COMPOSER. He was  the most influential violin teacher of the 17th century, and in his sonatas and concern grossi he established the norms for both those genres, exerting an influence that lasted well into the 18th century.

Sinfonia to «Santa Beatrice d’Este» in D minor

I. Grave 0:01
II. Allegro 2:32
III. Adagio 4:08
IV. Largo assai 4:51
V. Vivace 7:45

Sonate da Camera a tre, Op. 2

Trio sonata No. 1 for 2 violins & continuo in D major

Trio sonata No. 2 for 2 violins & continuo in D minor

Trio sonata No. 3 for 2 violins & continuo in C major

Trio sonata No. 4 for 2 violins & continuo in E minor

Trio sonata No. 5 for 2 violins & continuo in B-flat major

Trio sonata No. 6 for 2 violins & continuo in G minor

Trio sonata No. 7 for 2 violins & continuo in F major

Trio sonata No. 8 for 2 violins & continuo in B minor

Trio sonata No. 9 for 2 violins & continuo in F-sharp minor

Trio sonata No. 10 for 2 violins & continuo in E major

Trio sonata No. 11 for 2 violins & continuo in E-flat major

Trio sonata No. 12 for 2 violins & continuo in G major

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