Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713 A.D.)
Title: Christmas Concerto (Concerto Grosso in G Minor Op. 6 No. 8) (16 min)
(*Bio compiled from various Church and Musical Historical sources)
*The Catholic composer and violinist Archangelo Corelli exercised great influence on his contemporaries and on the succeeding generation of composers. Born in Fusignano [near Imola: a Papal State governed by His Holiness Pope Innocent X] in 1653 A.D., he studied in Bologna, a distinguished musical center, then established himself in The Eternal City (Rome) in the 1670s. Corelli's popularity as a violinist was equaled by his acclaim as a composer. His music was performed and honored throughout Catholic Europe; in fact, his was the most popular instrumental music. However, it is in his own Concerti Grossi Opus 6 that Corelli reached his creative peak and is looked upon as the summit - of all his compositions. It was upon his Opus 6 that Corelli labored most diligently and devotedly. Even though he wouldn't allow them to be published during his lifetime, they still became some of the most famous music of the time. The date of composition is not certain, for Corelli spent many years of his life writing and rewriting this music, beginning while still in his twenties.
Corelli's dedications of his Sonatas mark his progress among the great patrons of Rome. He dedicated his first set of twelve Church Sonatas, Opus 1, published in 1681 A.D., to Queen Christina, describing the work as the first fruits of his studies. His second set of trio Sonatas, Chamber Sonatas, Opus 2, was published in 1685 A.D., with a dedication to a new patron, His Eminence, Cardinal Pamphili, whose service he entered in 1687 A.D. A third set of trio sonatas, a second group of twelve Church Sonatas, Opus 3, was issued in 1689 A.D., with a dedication to the Catholic Monarch Francesco II d'Este, Duke of Modena, and a final set of a dozen Chamber Sonatas, Opus 4, was published in 1694 with a dedication to the patron, His Eminence, Cardinal Ottoboni, the nephew of Pope Alexander VIII. Cardinal Ottoboni became Corelli's main patron, who made it possible for Corelli to pursue his career without monetary worries, and it has been said that no composer has ever had a more devoted or understanding patron. Corelli's achievements as a teacher were again outstanding. Among his many students were included not only Geminiani but the famed Fr. Antonio Vivaldi.
Archangelo Corelli occupied a leading position in the musical life of Rome for some thirty years, performing as a violinist and directing performances often on occasions of the greatest public importance. His style of composition was much imitated and provided a model, both through a wide dissemination of works published during his lifetime and after, throughout Europe. He is viewed as a master in his art.
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