Concerto Grosso : Work information
- Giuseppe Torelli ( Music, Images,)
- Performed by
- English Chamber Orchestra, Simon Preston (Conductor)
- Work name
- Concerto Grosso
- Work number
- Op. 8 No. 6
- G minor
- 1709-01-01 02:00:00
- Mark Brown
- Antony Howell
- Recording date
- 1996-07-01 01:00:00
Born in the parish of S Maria in Chiavica, in Verona, in 1658, Giuseppe Torelli's early musical training, if any, may have come from Giuliano Massaroti, who lived in the same part of the city. His earliest known 'performance' was in 1676 when he played the violin in a service at the church of S Stefano in Verona. He went on later to become a violinist at Verona Cathedral in 1683-4. On 27th June 1684 he was admitted as a 'suonatore di violino' to the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna. Padre Martini's Catalogo degli aggregati dell'Accademia filarmonica di Bologna lists him as ‘Giuseppe Torelli Veronese Compositore Maestro di Cappella del Duomo d'Imola’ and he may have served in that capacity between leaving Verona and arriving in Bologna. He composed several sinfonias for the Accademia's annual patronal feast in between 1692 and 1708, indicating that he may have been raised to the rank of 'compositore' in 1692.
While it is not known with whom Torelli studied the violin, he is known to have been a composition pupil of Perti. On 28 September 1686 he joined the regular cappella musicale at S. Petronio, having previously been engaged there as an extra player for the patronal feast on the 4th of October. He remained there as a regularly paid member until November 1689, and then as an occasional member between 1690 and 1695. During the 1680s he made frequent appearances as a violinist in such cities as Parma and Modena, causing some disapproval.
Shortly after the disbanding of the S. Petronio orchestra for economic reasons in January 1696, Torelli left Bologna to seek employment elsewhere. Certainly, it seems likely that both Torelli and his friend, the castrato Francesco Antonio Pistocchi, went to Berlin in May 1697 to perform for the Electress Charlotte Sophie; both subsequently dedicated works to her, Pistocchi his pastorale Il Narciso and Torelli his Concerti musicali (op.6). By 1698 Torelli had become 'maestro di concerto' for the Margrave of Brandenburg at Ansbach. He remained there until the end of 1699, during which time he conducted Pistocchi's Le pazzie d'amore e dell'interesse. Letters to Perti show that the pair subsequently travelled to Vienna, where Torelli wrote an oratorio to be sung in the Emperor's chapel on Laetare Sunday; possibly his Adam auss dem irrdischen Paradiess verstossen, of which only the libretto now survives.
By March 1700 Torelli wanted to return to Italy. In his letters he talked of his wish to make a pilgrimage to Loreto, and of wanting to drink the waters at S Marino ‘having been so advised by the doctors here because of my cursed hypochondria and melancholy, which torments me greatly, though I have the look of a prince’. In May it appears that Torelli and Pistocchi returned to Ansbach, hoping to obtain permission from the margrave to return to Italy. However, Torelli only reappears in the records in February 1701, when he is listed as a violinist in the newly re-formed S Petronio 'cappella musicale', then directed by Perti. Torelli and Pistocchi were (unusually) to be paid for each function at which they performed rather than being held to regular, continual service; an exception probably made partly through their friendship with Perti and partly because they were both at the peak of their fame as performers, and thus did not wish to tie themselves to one position. By the time of his death in 1709, Torelli had become a renowned violinist both in and beyond Italy, leaving a legacy in the form of his compositions and in his many violin pupils, including Girolamo Nicolò Laurenti, Pietro Bettinozzi and Francesco Manfredini .