Somis, Giovanni Battista

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Somis, Giovanni Battista

Somis, Giovanni Battista, eminent Italian violinist, teacher, and composer, brother of Lorenzo Giovanni Somis; b. Turin, Dec. 25, 1686; d. there, Aug. 14, 1763. He studied violin with his father, Francesco Lorenzo Somis (1663–1736), a violinist in the Turin ducal orch. known as “Ardy” or “Ardito.” About 1696 he joined his father in the ducal orch., then studied with Corelli in Rome (1703–06) under the patronage of the Duke of Savoy; returning to Turin in 1707, he served as solo violinist and director of the ducal chapel until his death. He scored a brilliant success as a soloist at the Concert Spirituel in Paris (April 2 and May 14, 1733). He was the mentor of Pugnani, J.M. Leclair, Guignon, and Guillemain. He was a distinguished composer of chamber music, his solo sonatas being of particular historical interest. Much of his output is not extant.


(12) Sonate da camera for Violin, and Cello or Harpsichord (Amsterdam, c. 1717; second ed., 1725); (12) Sonate da camera for Violin, and Cello or Harpsichord, op.2 (Turin, 1723; ed. in Monumenti Musicali Italiani, II, Milan, 1976); (12) Sonates for Violin, and Cello or Harpsichord, op.2 (Turin, 1726); (6) Sonate a tre for 2 Violins, and Cello or Harpsichord, op.5 (Paris, 1733); (12) Sonate da camera for Violin, Cello, and Harpsichord, op.6 (Paris, 1733); Ideali trattenimenti da camera for 2 Violins or Flutes or Descant Viols, op.7 (Paris, n.d.); 6 sonata a tre for 2 Violins and Cello, op.8 (n.p., n.d.); 12 sonate for Cello and Bass (Paris, c. 1740); many concertos: 150 for Violin, 3 for 2 Violins, 3 for Flute, 1 for Oboe, and 4 for Trumpet; also 75 sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire