Sunday Baroque

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”  – Plato

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Francesco Saverio Geminiani (baptised 5 December 1687[1] – 17 September 1762) was an Italian violinist, composer, and music theoristBorn at Lucca, he received lessons in music from Alessandro Scarlatti, and studied the violin under Carlo Ambrogio Lonati in Milan and afterwards under Arcangelo Corelli. From 1707 he took the place of his father in the Cappella Palatina of Lucca. From 1711, he led the opera orchestra at Naples, as Leader of the Opera Orchestra and concertmaster, which gave him many opportunities for contact with Alessandro Scarlatti. After a brief return to Lucca, in 1714, he set off for London in the company of Francesco Barsanti, where he arrived with the reputation of a virtuoso violinist, and soon attracted attention and patrons, including William Capel, 3rd Earl of Essex, who remained a consistent patron. In 1715 Geminiani played his violin concerti for the court of George I, with Handel at the keyboard. In the mid-1720s he became a freemason in London, notably as a leading member of the short-lived lodge Philo-Musicae et Architecturae Societas (1725–27) at the Queen’s Head tavern on Fleet Street.[2] He seems to have retained his masonic connections thereafter.[3]

Geminiani made a living by teaching and writing music, and tried to keep pace with his passion for collecting by dealing in art, not always successfully. Many of his students went on to have successful careers, such as Charles AvisonMatthew DubourgMichael Christian FestingBernhard Joachim Hagen and Cecilia Young. See: List of music students by teacher: G to J#Francesco Geminiani.

After visiting Paris and living there for some time, he returned to England in 1755. In 1761, on one of his sojourns in Dublin, a servant robbed him of a musical manuscript on which he had bestowed much time and labour. His vexation at this loss is said to have hastened his death. He died and was buried in Dublin, but his remains were later reburied in the city of his birth, in the church of San Francesco, Lucca.

He appears to have been a first-rate violinist. His Italian pupils reportedly called him Il Furibondo, the Madman, because of his expressive rhythms. – via wikipedia.org

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Francesco Geminiani: Concerto Grosso op 5 nº 12 in d, “La Follia” – Orquesta Nacional de España – Giovanni Antonini, director Concertino: Joan Espina & Laura Salcedo, violins – Lorena Otero, viola – Miguel Jiménez, cello

Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com/@adspedia

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