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Arcangelo Corelli

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(1653 – 1713)

Arcangelo Corelli (17 February 1653–8 January 1713) was an influential Italian violinist and composer of music.

Corelli was born at Fusignano, in the present-day province of Ravenna. Little is known about his early life. His master on the violin was Bassani, and Matteo Simonelli, the well-known singer of the pope’s chapel, taught him composition.

His first major success was gained in Paris at the age of nineteen, and to this he owed his European reputation. From Paris, Corelli went to Germany. In 1681 he was in the service of the electoral prince of Bavaria; between 1680 and 1685 he spent a considerable time in the house of his friend and fellow violinist-composer Cristiano Farinelli (believed to be the uncle of the celebrated castrato Farinelli).

In 1685 Corelli was in Rome, where he led the festival performances of music for Queen Christina of Sweden and he was also a favorite of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (who in 1689 became Pope Alexander VIII). From 1689 to 1690 he was in Modena; the Duke of Modena was generous to him. In 1708 he returned to Rome, living in the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni. His visit to Naples, at the invitation of the king, took place in the same year.

The style of execution introduced by Corelli and preserved by his pupils, such as Francesco Geminiani, Pietro Locatelli, and many others, was of vital importance for the development of violin playing.

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