Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762)

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
Comments
0120110221
0120110221

Donald Macleod on Geminiani's early life, from his time in Lucca, to arrival in London.

Francesco Geminiani was considered something of a musical god, deemed to be the equal of Handel and Corelli, a master without parallel in the art of composition in 18th century London - Donald Macleod traces the life and music of this now largely forgotten composer.

Geminiani's life began in Lucca, initially learning the violin from his father, then on to lessons with Il Gobbo - "the Hunchback". He'd also go on to be tutored by two Arcadian masters, counterpoint with Alessandro Scarlatti, and additional violin lessons with Corelli.

On arrival in London in 1714, Geminiani would launch himself into print with his own arrangements of works by Corelli. People who wanted to be considered to be someone of note would undertake the Grand Tour of Italy, where they would come across the music of Corelli. Subsequently, Corelli was hugely popular in England, and any musician who could claim some sort of lineage to the Italian master, was sure of a flourishing career. Soon Geminiani would soon be presented to King George I, accompanied at the harpsichord by Handel.

Throughout his career, Geminiani would be celebrated not only as a composer, but also as a performer. Tartini would name him Il Furibondo, the 'wild' or 'furious' one. Due to his excellence as a performer, his compositions were sometimes far too advanced for the public to perform. However, his opus 2 and opus 3 Concerti grossi would become his most popular pieces, often performed in concert halls and also between the acts of stage works.

Another enterprise of Geminiani's was the writing of a number of Treaties, such as on accompaniment, or The Art of Playing the Guitar. His publication entitled The Art of Playing the Violin would become as popular as his opus 3 set. It was the first work of its kind, intended for professionals to standardise playing the violin. This Treaty, including its 'Geminiani Grip', has influenced performers today and is an invaluable source for understanding the Italian School of music from that period.

Geminiani travelled for much of his life between London, Paris and Dublin, seeking the next project to launch himself into. Although he was deemed great by some, a "God" amongst musicians, many of his publications were in fact financial failures. He was also nicknamed a 'Reheater', on account of the amount of times he would publish the same work, revised or arranged for different instruments. He died in 1762 in Dublin, yet despite the unsettled financial nature of his career, he remained as popular as ever in England up until 1800, especially with his Opus 3 Concerto grossi.

In today's programme on the life and music of Francesco Geminiani, Donald Macleod traces the composer's early life, from his beginnings in Lucca to his arrival in London. This journey took Geminiani through Naples, where he was for a brief time leader of the orchestra. However, his tempo was so unsteady, with unexpected accelerations and relaxations, that the musicians and singers complained. Geminiani was clearly a natural soloist, of independent mind, as demonstrated in his Sonata for Violin Solo in B flat major.

Geminiani was taught the violin not only by his father, but also by Il Gobbo - "the Hunchback". He was also to have lessons in counterpoint with Alessandro Scarlatti, and additional tutoring on the violin from Corelli. It was Geminiani's association with Corelli that would pave the way for his own success in London. The music of Corelli was very popular in England during the 18th century, and once Geminiani arrived in London, he printed a number of works including the Concerto grosso in D minor no. 12, which was an arrangement of Corelli's La Follia.

Soon Geminiani would find an influential supporter, in the guise of Baron Kielmansegg, who arranged for Geminiani, accompanied by Handel at the harpsichord, to perform in front to King George I at St. James's Palace. Geminiani went on to dedicate his first published compositions to Baron Kielmansegg, including the Opus 1 Sonatas.

Geminiani's life began in Lucca, initially learning the violin from his father, then on to lessons with Il Gobbo - "the Hunchback".

He'd also go on to be tutored by two Arcadian masters, counterpoint with Alessandro Scarlatti, and additional violin lessons with Corelli.

On arrival in London in 1714, Geminiani would launch himself into print with his own arrangements of works by Corelli.

People who wanted to be considered to be someone of note would undertake the Grand Tour of Italy, where they would come across the music of Corelli.

Subsequently, Corelli was hugely popular in England, and any musician who could claim some sort of lineage to the Italian master, was sure of a flourishing career.

Soon Geminiani would soon be presented to King George I, accompanied at the harpsichord by Handel.

Throughout his career, Geminiani would be celebrated not only as a composer, but also as a performer.

Tartini would name him Il Furibondo, the 'wild' or 'furious' one.

Due to his excellence as a performer, his compositions were sometimes far too advanced for the public to perform.

However, his opus 2 and opus 3 Concerti grossi would become his most popular pieces, often performed in concert halls and also between the acts of stage works.

Another enterprise of Geminiani's was the writing of a number of Treaties, such as on accompaniment, or The Art of Playing the Guitar.

His publication entitled The Art of Playing the Violin would become as popular as his opus 3 set.

It was the first work of its kind, intended for professionals to standardise playing the violin.

This Treaty, including its 'Geminiani Grip', has influenced performers today and is an invaluable source for understanding the Italian School of music from that period.

Geminiani travelled for much of his life between London, Paris and Dublin, seeking the next project to launch himself into.

Although he was deemed great by some, a "God" amongst musicians, many of his publications were in fact financial failures.

He was also nicknamed a 'Reheater', on account of the amount of times he would publish the same work, revised or arranged for different instruments.

He died in 1762 in Dublin, yet despite the unsettled financial nature of his career, he remained as popular as ever in England up until 1800, especially with his Opus 3 Concerto grossi.

In today's programme on the life and music of Francesco Geminiani, Donald Macleod traces the composer's early life, from his beginnings in Lucca to his arrival in London.

This journey took Geminiani through Naples, where he was for a brief time leader of the orchestra.

However, his tempo was so unsteady, with unexpected accelerations and relaxations, that the musicians and singers complained.

Geminiani was clearly a natural soloist, of independent mind, as demonstrated in his Sonata for Violin Solo in B flat major.

Geminiani was taught the violin not only by his father, but also by Il Gobbo - "the Hunchback".

He was also to have lessons in counterpoint with Alessandro Scarlatti, and additional tutoring on the violin from Corelli.

It was Geminiani's association with Corelli that would pave the way for his own success in London.

The music of Corelli was very popular in England during the 18th century, and once Geminiani arrived in London, he printed a number of works including the Concerto grosso in D minor no.

12, which was an arrangement of Corelli's La Follia.

Soon Geminiani would find an influential supporter, in the guise of Baron Kielmansegg, who arranged for Geminiani, accompanied by Handel at the harpsichord, to perform in front to King George I at St.

James's Palace.

Geminiani went on to dedicate his first published compositions to Baron Kielmansegg, including the Opus 1 Sonatas.

0220110222
0220110222

Donald Macleod follows Geminiani's career in England.

0220110222

Francesco Geminiani was considered something of a musical god, deemed to be the equal of Handel and Corelli, a master without parallel in the art of composition in 18th century London - Donald Macleod traces the life and music of this now largely forgotten composer.

Geminiani burst onto the musical scene in London in 1714, not only with arrangements of his former tutor Corelli's music, but also with his own opus I sonatas. As was the fashion of the time, he would rework his own music for other combinations of instruments, including the Sonata in D major op.1 no.10 arranged for Flute.

Geminiani would later frequent the Queen's Head tavern, where a new Masonic Lodge was being founded. He was given the rank of "Perpetual Dictator", and the Lodge was concerned with developing musical tastes in London, including purchasing copies of Geminiani's arrangements of Corelli, such as the Concerto no.4 in F major.

Although Geminiani's fame was principally as a violinist, his musical judgement seems to have been sought in a wide variety of areas, including acting as an examiner alongside Handel in the appointment of a new organist at St. George's Church, Hanover Square. Around this time the Academy of Vocal Music was taking form, with meetings at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand. Geminiani was there at the start, and would go on to compose a few vocal works of his own, including "She raise me up and loot me in".

Donald Macleod follows Geminiani's career in England.

Geminiani burst onto the musical scene in London in 1714, not only with arrangements of his former tutor Corelli's music, but also with his own opus I sonatas.

As was the fashion of the time, he would rework his own music for other combinations of instruments, including the Sonata in D major op.1 no.10 arranged for Flute.

Geminiani would later frequent the Queen's Head tavern, where a new Masonic Lodge was being founded.

He was given the rank of "Perpetual Dictator", and the Lodge was concerned with developing musical tastes in London, including purchasing copies of Geminiani's arrangements of Corelli, such as the Concerto no.4 in F major.

Although Geminiani's fame was principally as a violinist, his musical judgement seems to have been sought in a wide variety of areas, including acting as an examiner alongside Handel in the appointment of a new organist at St.

George's Church, Hanover Square.

Around this time the Academy of Vocal Music was taking form, with meetings at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand.

Geminiani was there at the start, and would go on to compose a few vocal works of his own, including "She raise me up and loot me in".

0320110223
0320110223

Donald Macleod examines why Geminiani was labelled a 'reheater' of others' music.

0320110223

Francesco Geminiani was considered something of a musical god, deemed to be the equal of Handel and Corelli, a master without parallel in the art of composition in 18th century London - Donald Macleod traces the life and music of this now largely forgotten composer.

Geminiani was a performer at the top of his form, and nicknamed 'Il Furibondo' - the wild or furious one by fellow violinist Giuseppe Tartini. His publication of his Opus 3 collection of concertos in 1732 had rocketed Geminiani to fame, and placed him in the eyes of his contemporaries as the master of composition in London. The star of this opus 3 set was the Concerto Grosso in E minor, no.6.

Geminiani was very much an independent person, and frequently throughout his career turned down opportunities for regularly paid work, as the world of musical patronage just didn't suit him. In 1732 he arrived in Paris, where a new career as an art dealer seems to have taken hold of him. However, this enterprise soon landed Geminiani in prison. After this point Geminiani is less cold to the idea of patronage, and we find him in Dublin working for Lord Tullamore. His spell in France influenced his works, and can be heard in his revised opus 1 Sonata in E minor.

Around this same period, Geminiani was working on his Opus 4 sonatas, which were not as successful as his previous publications. When visiting France again, he noticed the popularity of works for harpsichord, and decided to transcribe and publish these sonatas for the harpsichord, entitled Pièces de Clavecin. These transcriptions and reworking of former published music, soon had Geminiani labelled as a 'Reheater'.

Donald Macleod examines why Geminiani was labelled a 'reheater' of others' music.

Geminiani was a performer at the top of his form, and nicknamed 'Il Furibondo' - the wild or furious one by fellow violinist Giuseppe Tartini.

His publication of his Opus 3 collection of concertos in 1732 had rocketed Geminiani to fame, and placed him in the eyes of his contemporaries as the master of composition in London.

The star of this opus 3 set was the Concerto Grosso in E minor, no.6.

Geminiani was very much an independent person, and frequently throughout his career turned down opportunities for regularly paid work, as the world of musical patronage just didn't suit him.

In 1732 he arrived in Paris, where a new career as an art dealer seems to have taken hold of him.

However, this enterprise soon landed Geminiani in prison.

After this point Geminiani is less cold to the idea of patronage, and we find him in Dublin working for Lord Tullamore.

His spell in France influenced his works, and can be heard in his revised opus 1 Sonata in E minor.

Around this same period, Geminiani was working on his Opus 4 sonatas, which were not as successful as his previous publications.

When visiting France again, he noticed the popularity of works for harpsichord, and decided to transcribe and publish these sonatas for the harpsichord, entitled Pièces de Clavecin.

These transcriptions and reworking of former published music, soon had Geminiani labelled as a 'Reheater'.

0420110224
0420110224

Donald Macleod focuses on Geminiani's association with the theatre.

0420110224

Francesco Geminiani was considered something of a musical god, deemed to be the equal of Handel and Corelli, a master without parallel in the art of composition in 18th century London - Donald Macleod traces the life and music of this now largely forgotten composer.

Geminiani's music was wildly popular, and performed all over England in both concert halls, and also in the theatre between the acts of stage works. One work likely to be picked out for such performances, would have been the Concerto grosso in G minor op.3 no.2, as the opus 3 set were his biggest hit. It is this association with the theatre, which is the focus for Donald Macleod in today's programme.

With the opera houses closed during the Jacobite rebellion, Geminiani decided to cash in on the situation by delving into the world of the theatre. The mysterious Count de Saint Germain, who was rumoured to be 2000 years old, was to be Geminiani's chief collaborator in presenting the opera L'Incostanza Delusa. The opera was not a success, and although Geminiani composed no specific music for this work, it was likely that between the acts he performed some of his new compositions including his Concerto grosso in D minor op.7 no.4.

The Opus 7 were published in the Hague, but did not go down well with the London public. However, Geminiani's music was still hugely popular in France, frequently performed at the Concert Spirituel series. Geminiani, at the age of 66, returned to France and embarked upon the writing of music for a pantomime called Le Forêt Enchantée - The Enchanted Forest. The work was performed at the famous Salle des Machines in the Tuileries Palace, in collaboration with one of the most famous and innovative stage designers of his day, Giovanni Servandoni. But the music, dance, miming actors and magical transformations occurring on stage, were not appreciated by the Parisians. The pantomime flopped, so Geminiani returned to London, and presented The Enchanted Forest as a concert version.

Donald Macleod focuses on Geminiani's association with the theatre.

Geminiani's music was wildly popular, and performed all over England in both concert halls, and also in the theatre between the acts of stage works.

One work likely to be picked out for such performances, would have been the Concerto grosso in G minor op.3 no.2, as the opus 3 set were his biggest hit.

It is this association with the theatre, which is the focus for Donald Macleod in today's programme.

With the opera houses closed during the Jacobite rebellion, Geminiani decided to cash in on the situation by delving into the world of the theatre.

The mysterious Count de Saint Germain, who was rumoured to be 2000 years old, was to be Geminiani's chief collaborator in presenting the opera L'Incostanza Delusa.

The opera was not a success, and although Geminiani composed no specific music for this work, it was likely that between the acts he performed some of his new compositions including his Concerto grosso in D minor op.7 no.4.

The Opus 7 were published in the Hague, but did not go down well with the London public.

However, Geminiani's music was still hugely popular in France, frequently performed at the Concert Spirituel series.

Geminiani, at the age of 66, returned to France and embarked upon the writing of music for a pantomime called Le Forêt Enchante - The Enchanted Forest.

The work was performed at the famous Salle des Machines in the Tuileries Palace, in collaboration with one of the most famous and innovative stage designers of his day, Giovanni Servandoni.

But the music, dance, miming actors and magical transformations occurring on stage, were not appreciated by the Parisians.

The pantomime flopped, so Geminiani returned to London, and presented The Enchanted Forest as a concert version.

0520110225
0520110225

Donald Macleod focuses on the last part of Geminiani's life, and the manuals he published.

0520110225

Francesco Geminiani was considered something of a musical god, deemed to be the equal of Handel and Corelli, a master without parallel in the art of composition in 18th century London - Donald Macleod traces the life and music of this now largely forgotten composer.

Geminiani was no fool, and he realised that his popularity in England was not what it once was. The opus 2 and opus 3 publications were as popular as ever, and his music was still held as equal to that of Handel and Corelli. Yet his recent publications did not inspire the success that he'd hoped for. Geminiani started to turn his back on composition, and instead focused on telling people how to do it, and how to play it, including publishing a number of songs in his 'A treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Musick'.

It was during the later part of his life, that Geminiani would publish what would be his last big hit, 'The Art of Playing the Violin' opus 9. This publication was intended for professionals, and was not a teach-yourself tutor. Within its pages, Geminiani condensed his long experience of virtuoso performances and his years of teaching, and createed a manual that would see a number of reprints and publications in the USA and France. This treaty would also go on to influence violinists today, not least of all with the 'Geminiani Grip'.

One final treaty Geminiani was intending to publish was on music in general. However, due to the treachery of a female servant, this work was stolen, and has never been seen since. The treaty on The Art of Playing the Guitar or Cittra does exist, which included a number of short sonatas.

Geminiani died in Dublin at the age of 74, although the papers reported that he was 96. The composer and former pupil Charles Avison said. "I revere his memory in this very expression which I have often heard him repeat, that Truth and Simplicity are the best criterion for the fine arts, as they are of the good conduct of Life". The Opus 3 set remained Geminiani's most popular work up until 1800, including the Concerto grosso in E minor op.3 no.3.

05 LAST20110225

Donald Macleod focuses on the last part of Geminiani's life, and the manuals he published.

Francesco Geminiani was considered something of a musical god, deemed to be the equal of Handel and Corelli, a master without parallel in the art of composition in 18th century London - Donald Macleod traces the life and music of this now largely forgotten composer.

Geminiani was no fool, and he realised that his popularity in England was not what it once was.

The opus 2 and opus 3 publications were as popular as ever, and his music was still held as equal to that of Handel and Corelli.

Yet his recent publications did not inspire the success that he'd hoped for.

Geminiani started to turn his back on composition, and instead focused on telling people how to do it, and how to play it, including publishing a number of songs in his 'A treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Musick'.

It was during the later part of his life, that Geminiani would publish what would be his last big hit, 'The Art of Playing the Violin' opus 9.

This publication was intended for professionals, and was not a teach-yourself tutor.

Within its pages, Geminiani condensed his long experience of virtuoso performances and his years of teaching, and createed a manual that would see a number of reprints and publications in the USA and France.

This treaty would also go on to influence violinists today, not least of all with the 'Geminiani Grip'.

One final treaty Geminiani was intending to publish was on music in general.

However, due to the treachery of a female servant, this work was stolen, and has never been seen since.

The treaty on The Art of Playing the Guitar or Cittra does exist, which included a number of short sonatas.

Geminiani died in Dublin at the age of 74, although the papers reported that he was 96.

The composer and former pupil Charles Avison said.

"I revere his memory in this very expression which I have often heard him repeat, that Truth and Simplicity are the best criterion for the fine arts, as they are of the good conduct of Life".

The Opus 3 set remained Geminiani's most popular work up until 1800, including the Concerto grosso in E minor op.3 no.3.