Legrenzi, Giovanni


Italian composer and conductor; born at Clusone, near Bergamo. Here he studied music under Pallavicino and was given an appointment as organist of the Church of St. Maria Maggiore. His next position was that of chapelmaster of the Church of the Spirito Santo at Ferrara. His first opera, Achille in Sciro, was produced in 1663. The next year he went to Venice, and became director of the Conservatory de'Mendicanti, and, in 1685, chapelmaster at St. Mark's, the orchestra of which he enlarged and improved. He was one of the first to write trios for two violins and violoncello. His operas, about seventeen in number, show a freer use of melody and a more coherent instrumentation than had been used heretofore. He also composed instrumental works and sacred music. Among his pupils were Lotti and Gasparini. Some of Legrenzi's work has been made famous through its being used by Bach and Handel.