Torelli, Giuseppe

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Torelli, Giuseppe

Torelli, Giuseppe, famous Italian violinist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Verona, April 22, 1658; d. Bologna, Feb. 8, 1709. He was the brother of the noted painter Felice Torelli. After going to Bologna about 1682, he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica as suonatore di violino in 1684. He received instruction in composition from G.A. Perti, and in 1686 he entered the cappella musicale at S. Petronio as a viola player; later played tenor viol there (1689-96) and also toured as a violinist. After further travels as a violinist, he served as maestro di concerto to the Margrave of Brandenburg in Ansbach (1698-99). From 1699 until at least 1700 he was active in Vienna. By 1701 he was again in Bologna, where he became a violinist in the cappella musicale at S. Petronio. He had many pupils, most notably Francesco Manfredini. Torelli was an important figure in the development of the instrumental concerto, excelling in concerto grosso and solo concerto writing.


(10) Sonate a 3, with Basso Continuo, op. 1 (Bologna, 1686); (12) Concerto da camera for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, op. 2 (Bologna, 1686); (12) Sinfonie for 2 to 4 Instruments, op. 3 (Bologna, 1687); (12) Concertino per camera for Violin and Cello, op. 4 (Bologna, 1688); (6) Sinfonie a 3 e [6] concerti a 4, op. 5 (Bologna, 1692); (12) Concerti musicali, op. 6 (Augsburg, 1698; no. 1 ed. by G. Piccioli, Rome, 1952, and by W. Kolneder, Mainz, 1958; no. 10 ed. in Nagels Musikarchiv, LXX, 1931); op. 7 (unknown; not extant); (12) Concerti grossi con una pastorale per il Ss. Natale, op. 8 (Bologna, 1709; nos. 1, 3, 7, and 9 ed. by P. Santi, Milan, 1959; no. 6 ed. by D. Stevens, London, 1957; no. 8 ed. by E. Praetorius, London, 1950); other instrumental works in contemporary collections; also a few vocal works, including the oratorio Adam auss dem indischen Paradiess verstossen (music not extant), other sacred pieces, and arias.


F. Giegling, G. T., Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des italienischen Konzerts (Kassel, 1949); R. Norton, The Chamber Music of G. T.(diss., Northwestern Univ., 1967); E. Enrico, G. T.’s Music for Instrumental Ensemble with Trumpet (diss., Univ. of Mich., 1970).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire