Albinoni, Tomaso Giovanni

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Albinoni, Tomaso Giovanni

Albinoni, Tomaso Giovanni, esteemed Italian composer; b. Venice, June 8, 1671; d. there, Jan. 17, 1751. He was the son of a wealthy paper merchant. Although apprenticed to his father, he also received training in violin, singing, and composition. The lure of music led him to pursue the career of a dilettante (in the best sense of the word) composer. He first attracted attention with the premiere of his first opera, Zenobia, Regina de’ Palmireni, in Venice in 1694. It was also in that year that his 12 trio sonatas, op.l, were publ. in Venice. In succeeding years, he produced an extensive output of secular vocal works and instrumental music. In 1705 he married the soprano Margherita Raimondi, known as “La Salarina,” who pursued an intermittent operatic career until her death in 1721. In 1722 Albinoni was called to Munich to oversee the premiere of his opera I veri amici, composed for the marriage of the Prince-elector Karl Albert to Maria Amalia, the daughter of the late Emperor Joseph I. Thereafter his operas were performed widely abroad, complementing the extensive dissemination of his instrumental music. Although a lesser master than such contemporaries as Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi, Albinoni developed an individual style marked by fine craftsmanship in which his melodic talent served him exceedingly well. Bach admired his music and composed 4 keyboard fugues on the Italian’s op.l. For his instrumental output, see W. Kolneder, ed., T. G. A.: Gesamtausgabe der Instrumentalmusik (Berg, 1974 et seq.)


DRAMATIC: Opera: Albinoni claimed to have written 80 operas, but his count may have included rev. versions and pasticcios. Of the 50 operas generally attributed to him, only three are extant in full: Zenobia, Regina de’ Palmireni (Venice, 1694), Engelberta (Venice, 1709; in collaboration with Gasparini), and La Statira (Rome, 1726); arias from some of his other operas are also extant. He also wrote 3 comic intermezzos, of which Vespetta e Pimpinone (Venice, 1708) is extant, and 3 serenatas, of which II nascimento dell’aurora (e. 1710) and II nome glorioso in terra, santificato in cielo (Venice, Nov. 4, 1724) are extant. ORCH.: [6] Sinfonie e [6] concerti a cinque for 2 to 3 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello, and Basso Continuo, op.2 (Venice, 1700); (12) Concerti a cinque for 3 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello, and Basso Continuo, op.5 (Venice, 1707); (12) Concerti a cinque for 1 to 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Basso Continuo, op.7 (Amsterdam, 1715); (12) Concerti a cinque for 1 to 2 Oboes, 2 to 3 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Basso Continuo, op.9 (Amsterdam, 1722); (12) Concerti a cinque for 3 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Basso Continuo, op.10 (Amsterdam, c. 1735-36); several sinfonias and violin concertos. CHAMBER: (12) Suonate a tre for 2 Violins, Cello, and Harpsichord, op.l (Venice, 1694); (12) Balletti a tre for 2 Violins, Cello, and Harpsichord, op.3 (Venice, 1701); (6) Sonate da chiesa for Violin and Cello or Basso Continuo (Amsterdam, c. 1709; later publ. as op.4); (12) Trattenimenti armonici per camera for Violin, Violone, and Harpsichord, op.6 (Amsterdam, c. 1712); (5) Sonate for Violin and Basso Continuo ...e uno suario o capriccio...del sig. Tibaldi (Amsterdam, e. 1717); (6) Balleti e (6) sonate a tre for 2 Violins, Cello, and Harpsichord, con le sue fughe tirate à canone, op.8 (Amsterdam, 1722); 6 sonates da camera for Violin and Harpsichord, op. posthumous (Paris, c. 1740); also (6) Sonate a tre for 2 Violins, Cello, and Harpsichord (n.d.) and a Violin Sonata (n.d.). VOCAL: Oratorios: Trionfi di Giosuè (pasticcio; Florence, 1703); Maria annunziata (Florence, 1712). Sacred: Messa a tre voci (n.d.). Solo Cantata s : 48, including (12) Cantate for Voice and Basso Continuo, op.4 (Amsterdam, 1702).


R. Giazotto, T. A.: “musico di violini dilettante vento” (1671–1750) (Milan, 1945); idem, T. A. (Brescia, 1953); M. Talbot, The Instrumental Music of T. A. (diss., Univ. of Cambridge, 1968); idem, A: Leben und Werk (Adliswil, 1980); C. Guaita, Le cantate di T. A. (1671–1751): Studio storico-critico e bibliografico (diss., Univ. of Milan, 1986); M. Talbot, T. A.: The Venetian Composer and His World (Oxford, 1990).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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