Giuseppe Sammartini, classical music composer

Giuseppe Sammartini image

Giuseppe Sammartini


Giuseppe Sammartini was a prominent oboist and composer during the early to mid-18th century, though he was somewhat less known than his younger brother Giovanni, who was likewise an oboist. His professional life was centered primarily in London, and he produced a significant amount of sonatas and concertos for flute, recorder and oboe. His most famous work is the Concerto in F for recorder.

Born in Milan on January 6, 1695, Sammartini likely received his first musical instruction, along with his younger brother, from his father, the French oboist Alexis Saint-Martin. The two brothers excelled at the instrument, performing together in an orchestra by 1711 and joining Milan's Regio Ducal Theater orchestra around 1720. In 1729, Giuseppe left his native Italy to establish his own musical career, and indeed he found greater fame and fortune elsewhere across the European continent. He stayed briefly in Brussels before embarking for London, where he would spend the remainder of his life.

Arriving in the British capital, Sammartini was already viewed as a promising young composer and further fascinated audiences with his performances on the oboe. During the 1730s, he played in various venues throughout London, including in productions of Georg Frideric Handel's operas. In 1736, he took the position of music teacher for the wife and children of Prince Frederick of Wales, which he held until his death in 1750. This period spent with the Prince's family was seemingly a particularly happy one for the composer. He delighted in his music lessons, even composing birthday tunes for the children. Many of his compositions date for this period, carrying dedications to members of the family and were likely given performances before the Prince and his entourage. Sammartini died at the Prince's home in mid-November 1750.

Though a contemporary of J. S. Bach, Sammartini's music stood upon the threshold between the late Baroque and burgeoning Classical period. He was particularly skilled in the art of counterpoint, but his music nonetheless showed the influence of the galant style and "Sturm und Drang." As an oboist, it is very likely the Sammartini was also well-versed on the flute and recorder, and curiously it is for these two latter instruments, and not his own, that the majority of his instrumental works are written.

Composer Title Date Action
Giuseppe Sammartini Sonata en Fa 08/01/2009 Play Add to playlist