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Geminiani, Francesco (Xaverio)

Geminiani, Francesco (Xaverio)

Geminiani, Francesco (Xaverio), eminent Italian violinist, composer, and music theorist; b. Lucca (baptized), Dec. 5, 1687; d. Dublin, Sept. 17, 1762. He studied with Carlo Ambrogio Lonati in Milan; then studied violin with Corelli and composition with A. Scarlatti in Rome. He was a violinist in the orch. of the Signoria theater in Lucca from 1707 to 1710; became concertmaster of the Naples Orch. in 1711. In 1714 he went to London, where he gained fame as a violin virtuoso, composer, and teacher. During the 1731–32 season, he presented a series of subscription concerts in London; in 1733–34 he maintained a concert room in Dublin, and also sold paintings; from 1737 to 1740 he was again in Dublin, giving concerts and teaching. He spent most of the succeeding years in England, but also made trips to the Continent. He returned to Ireland in 1759 as music master to Charles Coote (later the Earl of Bellamont) at Cootehill, County Cavan; that same year he went to Dublin, where he gave his last concert in 1760. Geminiani composed a number of fine sonatas and concertos in a distinctive and assured style. He also wrote the valuable treatise The Art of Playing on the Violin (1751), which effectively carried forward the Italian tradition of Corelli while setting the course for succeeding generations.


Rules for Playing in a True Taste…, op.8 (London, 1748; with 4 tunes); A Treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Musick (London, 1749; facsimile ed. by R. Donnington, 1969; with 4 songs and 7 “Airs”); The Art of Playing on the Violin, op.9 (London, 1751; facsimile ed. by D. Boy den, London, 1952; with 12 works and 24 examples); Guida armonica…, op.10 (London, c. 1754); The Art of Accompaniment…, op. 11 (2 parts, London, c. 1754); A Supplement to the Guida Armonica (London, c. 1754); The Art of Playing the Guitar or Cittra… (Edinburgh, 1760; with 11 sonatas). He also publ. a periodical, The Harmonical Miscellany (London, 1758; Part 1: 14 works “in the Tone Minor”; Part 2: 16 works “in the Tone Major”).


ORCH 6 Concern grossi, op.2 (London, 1732; 2nd ed., rev., c. 1755; ed. by H. Moser, Musik-Kranzlein, Leipzig, n.d.); 6 Concerti grossi, op.3 (London, 1732; 2nd ed., rev., c. 1755; ed. by R. Hernried, London, 1935); 3 Select Concertos (London, 1734); 6 Concerti grossi, op.7 (London, 1746); The Enchanted Forrest, a piece in concerto grosso style (London, c. 1756); also arrangements of works by Corelli. CHAMBER: 12 Sonate for Violin, Violone, and Harpsichord, op.l (London, 1716; rev. ed., 1739, as Le prime sonate; ed. by R. Finney, Northampton, Mass., 1935, and by W. Kolneder, Mainz, 1961); XII Solos…compos’d by Sigr. Geminiani and Castrucci for Flute, Violin, or Harpsichord (London, c. 1720; nos. 7 to 12 by Geminiani); 12 Sonate for Violin and Basso Continue, op.4 (London, 1739); 6 Sonates for Cello and Basso Continue, op.5 (Paris, 1746; also arranged for Violin and Basso Continue as op.5, The Hague, 1746); Six senates transposees…avec des agrements for Violin and Basso Continuo, op.6 (Paris, 1746); also arrangements of works by R Mancini.


N. Careri, F. G. (1687–1762) (Oxford, 1993).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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