Corelli, Archangelo


Was born at Fusignano, near Imola, Italy, and was a talented violinist and composer. He studied the violin with Bassani and counterpoint with Simpnelli. Very little is known of his life until 1681, when, after traveling in Germany and holding a position in Munich attached to the court of the Elector of Bavaria, he settled in Rome, where he enjoyed the patronage and friendship of Cardinal Ottoboni, a lover of the arts in general and of music especially. In his house Corelli made his home. Of a winning personality and great musical talent, he was soon a prime favorite in the highest circles of the city, and invitations to his concerts, in the palace of the Cardinal, were eagerly sought. He published his first work in 1683, a collection of twelve sonatas, and was most successful as a teacher as well as a composer. The King of Naples attempted several times to press him into his service and at length succeeded. Corelli gave a successful concert before the court, but his second attempt was a failure and he was so chagrined that he returned to Rome. During his absence a mediocre musician and violinist, named Valentini, had become popular and, believing himself supplanted in the affections of the people, Corelli grieved himself into an early death. He was buried in the Pantheon at Rome, not far from the tomb of the painter Raphael, and Cardinal Ottoboni erected a handsome monument to his memory, and a statue of him was placed in the Vatican. Corelli undoubtedly laid the foundation for good violin technique and his compositions are still regarded as classics. His greatest work was the Concerti-grossi which appeared only six weeks before his death. A great many works were published under his name that he never wrote. By Grove he is credited with having, in his chamber sonatas, and Concertigrossi, been the founder of the style of orchestral writings on which the future development in this direction was based. To quote: "He was not so much an innovator as a reformer. He did not introduce new or striking effects but he did give to this branch of art, a sound and solid basis which his successors could and did build upon successfully."