By Warwick Lister
Giovanni Battista Viotti used to be undoubtedly the main influential violinist of his time, and his sort keeps to pervade to the current day. The final nice consultant of the Italian culture that Corelli all started, Viotti is frequently thought of the founding father of the fashionable or 19th-century French college of violin enjoying. In Amico: The lifetime of Giovanni Battista Viotti, writer Warwick Lister presents the 1st whole biography in English of this constantly major violinist. a lot of the documentary fabric Lister cites is formerly unknown or no longer translated. Lister's biography takes the reader on a desirable trip over the eu continent and into the musical tradition of the overdue 18th century. Born 12 months sooner than Mozart and death 3 years prior to Beethoven's demise, Viotti rose from the common-or-garden origins of a blacksmith's son in a village close to Turin, Italy, to overseas repute. His multifarious profession as a live performance performer, composer, instructor, opera theater director, and impresario used to be performed out opposed to the backdrop of a dramatically altering global - he served as a court docket musician for no much less a determine than Marie Antoinette earlier than founding an opera condo in Paris. Viotti additionally knew tragedy in addition to luck: he was once pressured to escape the French Revolution, he used to be exiled from England for a longer interval in line with suspicions of yes Jacobin developments, his try and identify himself in enterprise met with failure, and he died seriously in debt. Lister concludes Amico via coming to grips with the very issues that account for Viotti's greatness and impression: the technical points of his violin taking part in and compositions. With its broad documentary examine and the inclusion of translations of assorted archival files, this is often the basic English-language biography of Viotti, an important addition to the libraries of scholars and students of 18th and early nineteenth century song, in addition to violin performers, scholars, and teachers.
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Extra info for Amico: The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti
The seeds of Viotti’s lifelong, albeit sporadic involvement with the theater were sown here. As a theater musician he would have learned valuable lessons about the inner workings of operatic production, and his close association with Pugnani, an internationally known opera composer,79 would have been a stimulus and an education. The opere serie in the Teatro Regio were the most prestigious, the most expensive productions, the only ones the royal family attended. 26 Amico But it was the Italian opere buffe in the Teatro Carignano that were to tell more decisively on the future career of Viotti.
Balls were also held at various times of the year in the royal palaces outside the city—Venaria, Moncalieri, and Stupinigi—and as part of the celebrations for royal births and marriages. These performances would have been a regular part of the Royal Chapel and Chamber musicians’ workload. 116 They were presumably brought in to augment the Chapel and Chamber orchestra, which suggests that, if most of the members played, the orchestra for these balls contained upward of thirty musicians.
The truth is perhaps more subtle than either of these two apparently contradictory descriptions would suggest. Giambattista was probably given every material comfort he could have wished for, more in fact than he could possibly have been used to. It is clear from the memorandum just cited that there was at least one servant assigned to him, to serve him his bread and wine. He was given every opportunity to learn and to improve as a musician, he enjoyed the 14 Amico hospitality and even the affection of his benefactors, but he was not, could not be considered or treated as a member of a princely family of the ancien régime.
Amico: The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti by Warwick Lister