Recorded on 05/13/2008, uploaded on 01/15/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Through Arcangelo Corelli’s output was seemingly very little, particularly when compared to such prolific composers as J. S. Bach or Handel, his music was nevertheless highly influential in the development of chamber music. Indeed, Bach himself studied Corelli’s music and even fashioned an organ fugue from the Italian composer’s opus 3. All of his music was written for the violin and, while limited in its technical demands, was imbued with a masterful command of melody.
Corelli’s first set of trio sonatas for two violins and continuo appeared in Rome in 1681. The ninth sonata of the set, in G major and cast in four movements, follows neither the typical sonata da chiesa or sonata da camera. Instead, in a subtle way it begins to look forward to the sonatas of the 19th century. The outer movements, both in Allegro tempo, are of a similar character beginning with melodies that mainly outline the notes of the tonic and dominant harmonies. The first opens somewhat freely with sustained harmonies as the second violin descends multiple times through the notes of the tonic triad, eventually leading into a spirited triple-meter section. Following the first movement is another Allegro but this time a fugue and in common time. An Adagio in a heavy triple time comes next. In E minor, a somber tone engulfs the movement in contrast to the jubilant energy of the others. Finally, in the Allegro last movement one can imagine the sound of trumpets in the triadic motions of its melody. Though it overflows with energy, the movement ends piously in an Adagio tempo. Joseph DuBose
Trio Sonata in G Major
Arcangelo Corelli was born at Fusignano in 1653 into a family that had enjoyed considerable prosperity since the fifteenth century. In 1666, moving to the famous musical centre of Bologna, Corelli was able to study the violin under teachers of the greatest distinction. By 1675 Corelli was in Rome; he served as a chamber musician to Queen Christina of Sweden, at least intermittently. At the same time he received even more significant patronage from Benedetto Pamphili, great-nephew of Pope Innocent X, who was created Cardinal. In 1687 Corelli became maestro di musica to the Cardinal and took up residence in his Palazzo on the Curso.
The surviving compositions of Corelli are relatively few in number but disproportionately far-reaching in their influence. He published four sets of a dozen trio sonatas each, in 1681, 1685, 1689 and 1694.
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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