By Warwick Lister
Giovanni Battista Viotti used to be definitely the main influential violinist of his time, and his kind maintains to pervade to the current day. The final nice consultant of the Italian culture that Corelli all started, Viotti is frequently thought of the founding father of the fashionable or 19th-century French university of violin taking part in. In Amico: The lifetime of Giovanni Battista Viotti, writer Warwick Lister presents the 1st entire biography in English of this constantly major violinist. a lot of the documentary fabric Lister cites is formerly unknown or no longer translated. Lister's biography takes the reader on a desirable trip over the eu continent and into the musical tradition of the past due 18th century. Born 365 days ahead of Mozart and loss of life 3 years sooner than Beethoven's dying, Viotti rose from the standard origins of a blacksmith's son in a village close to Turin, Italy, to overseas status. His multifarious occupation as a live performance performer, composer, instructor, opera theater director, and impresario used to be performed out opposed to the backdrop of a dramatically altering global - he served as a court docket musician for no much less a determine than Marie Antoinette earlier than founding an opera condo in Paris. Viotti additionally knew tragedy in addition to good fortune: he was once pressured to escape the French Revolution, he was once exiled from England for a longer interval in accordance with suspicions of yes Jacobin developments, his try to determine himself in enterprise met with failure, and he died seriously in debt. Lister concludes Amico via coming to grips with the very issues that account for Viotti's greatness and impact: the technical points of his violin taking part in and compositions. With its wide documentary learn and the inclusion of translations of assorted archival files, this is often the basic English-language biography of Viotti, an important addition to the libraries of scholars and students of 18th and early nineteenth century track, in addition to violin performers, scholars, and teachers.
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Extra resources for Amico: The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti
Signor Pugnani played a concerto this morning [Saturday, 14 July] at the King’s chapel, which was crowded on the occasion. It is an elegant rotund, built of black marble, and happily constructed for music, being very high, and terminated by a dome. I need say nothing of the performance of Signor Pugnani, his talents being too well known in England to require it. 97 The inimitable Burney’s description is, as always, wonderfully sharp-eyed, but it is misleading in several ways. 98 And Burney seems to be describing two different spaces, though without saying so.
35 Already he had performed one of his own concertos in 1754 in Paris at the Concert spirituel, to universal acclaim. His international reputation was enhanced by his numerous published compositions: orchestral and chamber works, violin sonatas, and, beginning in London in 1769, operas. One early biographer, Edme-François Miel, who is generally reliable, asserts that Viotti went to London with Pugnani at the age of twelve,36 which would provide a plausible explanation for the otherwise unmotivated hiatus in Giambattista’s lessons with Celoniat in August–December 1767.
Seating plan of the orchestra of the Teatro Regio, ca. 1791, from Francesco Galeazzi, Elementi teorico-pratici di musica con un saggio sopra l’arte di suonare il violino (Turin, 1791–96). Key: A, the orchestra director (Pugnani), raised above the others; b, ﬁrst violins; c, second violins; d, oboes; e, clarinets; f, horns; g, violas; h, bassoons; I, ﬁrst cellos; L, ﬁrst double basses; m, basses (that is, cellos and double basses); n, other horns; o, timpani; p, trumpets; q, ﬁrst violinist for the ballets; r, harpsichords.