Martini, Giambattista

or Giovanni Baptista



Composer and writer, whose vast musical knowledge brought him worldwide reputation; born at Bologna. His father began his musical education by teaching him violin and piano; later he sent him to Padre Predieri for singing and to Riecieri for counterpoint. He entered the Franciscan Convent at Lago, taking orders in 1822, and in 1825 returning to Bologna, where he became conductor at San Francisco Church. With Giacomo Perti he studied music, and with Zanotti, the mathematician, he is said to have studied mathematics eagerly in order to fit himself thoroughly for the work he wished to do. He gradually acquired the most comprehensive knowledge of music and amassed a library on that subject which outclassed every other library in existence. He became famous throughout Europe, and from every country musicians nocked to him for advice or criticism. The very greatest musicians of his day considered him the final authority on disputed questions and were glad to accept his opinion. He had many students and his gentleness and eagerness to serve them coupled with his vast knowledge won him universal admiration and affection. Among his most celebrated students were Ruttini, Ottani Stanislao Paolucci, Sarti and his favorite pupil, Mattei, with whom he afterward founded the Liceo Filarmonico of Bologna. Among the many famous personages whose friendship he enjoyed were Frederick the Great and Pope Clement XIV. He died at Bologna in 1784 and so great was the mourning of his countrymen and the esteem in which he  was held that a medal was struck in his honor by Tadolini. Most of his magnificent library was given to the Liceo Filarmonico of Bologna, and the remainder became the property of the Imperial Library at Vienna. Martini was a member of the two academies at Bologna and of the Arcadians of Rome. His two greatest works are Storia della Musica, in three volumes; and Esemplare ossia Saggio a di contrapunto, in two volumes; besides which he has written, Litanae; twelve Sonata d'intavolatura; Duetta da camera a diversi yoci, which were printed. In manuscript form we have two oratorios, masses a farsetti and three intermezzi.