Personalities | Francesco Geminiani | Late Baroque | Classical

(Fran-chas’-ko Ja-men-ya’-ne) 1687–1762
Italian composer and violinist

Geminiani was born in Lucca and studied in Rome with Corelli. In 1714 he went to England, where he remained for the rest of his life. Geminiani established a fine reputation as a teacher, composer and violin virtuoso. His earliest concertos – arrangements of Corelli’s celebrated sonatas for violin and continuo (op. 5) – were printed in 1726. In 1732 he published six concerti grossi of his own (op. 2) and in the following year his finest collection (op. 3), which in the opinion of music historian Charles Burney (1726–1814) ‘placed him at the head of all masters then living, in this species of composition’. A further set was issued in 1746 (op. 7). A staged pantomime called The Enchanted Forest, scored for strings, wind and timpani, and performed in Paris in 1754, was among his last compositions. Geminiani’s many treatises on performance practice include The Art of Playing the Violin (1751) which laid the foundations of modern string technique.

Recommended Recording:
Concerti grossi, op. 3, Europa Galante (dir) Fabio Biondi (Opus 111)

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