Arcangelo Corelli is one of the greatest violinists. He is considered to be the founder of modern violin technique. Corelli was one of the key figures of Italian music in XVII-XVIII centuries. Corelli’s works, without exaggeration, can be called masterpieces of Italian classical music.
His compositions are embodied rigor, modesty and simplicity. But, at the same time, they are written with the perfect taste, in his exquisite manner. His style is clear and unique. You won’t hear such unnecessary details in Corelli’s compositions like external effects, random notes – each sound has own place. And, at the same time, his music is so alive, natural and beautiful as the nature itself.
Arcangelo Corelli He was born in the ancient town Fusignano, Italy on the 17 February 1653. Corelli was taught the violin by the best teachers of Bologna - J. Benvenuti and the famous Venice violinist Brugnoli. Being very young Corelli had already achieved a great skill of violinist; thus 17 year-old Arcangelo was enrolled in the Bologna philharmonic academy. In 1657, Corelli settled in Rome, where his skill of violinist had a great success. He played in churches and theatres. Corelli began as a second violinist in the theatre ensemble, but very soon he became a soloist. Corelli gained his first success in Paris when he was only 19 and earned his reputation. Then the young violinist went to Germany. In 1679, Corelli returned to Rome and entered the service of the Sweden Queen Christina in her residence, in Rome (Oron). Being one of the Queen’s chamber musicians, Corelli wrote his Opus 1 trio sonatas for 2 violins and continuo in 1681 (Macleod).
In 1681 Arcangelo Corelli was in the service of the prince of Bavaria. Corelli’s second great work – Opus 2, published in 1685, was dedicated to Cardinal Pamphili, his new patron. In 1690 Pamphili left Rome and Arcangelo had to spend about four years in the house of his friend - violinist and composer Cristiano Farinelli. In 1685, Corelli went back to Rome. He led several performances for Queen Christina. Then Corelli went to Modena in 1689 where he started working for the Duke. In the same year his Opus 3 was published (dedicated to Francesco II of Modena). In 1708, he returned to Rome. The palace of Cardinal Ottoboni (who admired his talent) became his home (Macleod). In 1694, Corelli wrote his Opus 4 with the dedication to his new benefactor. Rich and powerful people were more than masters for Corelli. For example, Cardinal Ottoboni was his good friend. This connection meant a lot for the composer, helping him to move in the swell society. In 1700, Corelli published his highly significant Opus 5 and Opus 6 was published posthumously in 1714. Corelli worked diligently on his Opus 6 and spent years writing these beautiful compositions. This music became his most successful work.
Unlike his younger contemporary Antonio Vivaldi, who is so popular nowadays, Corelli didn’t write program music (music with titles). His music doesn’t have literary introductions, instrumental depictions or onomatopoeia – all these things that in the Baroque era were in vogue. This music is “pure” - the music element itself with its unique purity. Corelli is great not only as a composer. He is a brilliant virtuoso, the founder of a new school of violin playing and a great teacher. His didactic talent is still alive today, because his works represent a highly professional school of excellence for a musician (especially for the composer).
Arcangelo Corelli created a new genre called “Concerto Grosso” that translates from Italian as “big concert”. Altogether, he created 12 compositions of this type. These multipart works for a group of soloists (two violins and violoncello) and string orchestra are the best composer’s works and unsurpassed examples of this genre.
The form of Concerto Grosso was based on the idea of contrast between two instrumental groups different by size. The smaller group has violoncello and two violins. The larger one is a string orchestra. These compositions were built on the typical for the Baroque terrace principle. The composition is built on contrasts between the large and small string groups and as well as forte and piano.
Being an extraordinary composer, Corelli loved his simple life surrounded by books and paintings. The famous composer died in Rome on 8th January 1713. All his savings and valuable Corelli left to his benefactor. Arcangelo Corelli was a successful composer, though his contribution as a composer was quite small.
Corelli made perfect specimens of pre-classic genres of sonata and instrumental concert. However, he opposed the passion to virtuoso playing on strings. Corelli laid the foundations of classical violin technique that comes from the human voice imitation - the vocal, melodic origin. Though Italian tradition of playing the violin had already been very old before Arcangelo Corelli, he became the head of the great national violin school. He was a great teacher and had many talented followers, as, for example, Antonio Vivaldi and Pietro Locatelli.
"Arcangelo Corelli." Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2014. <http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/arcangelo-corelli-454.php>.
Macleod, Donald. "Arcangelo Corelli ." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2014. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/a3546087-fe59-47d3-a3a8-42d58e2573c7>.
Oron, Aryeh. "Arcangelo Corelli (Composer)." Bach Cantatas Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2014. <http://www.bach-cantatas.com