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Francesco Maria Veracini

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Francesco Maria Veracini (February 1, 1690 – October 31, 1768) was an Italian composer and violinist, perhaps best known for his violin sonatas and violin concertos.

Francesco Maria Veracini led a turbulent life. Born in Florence, the son of a pharmacist, he was taught violin by his uncle Antonio Veracini with whom he often appeared in concert. In 1711 Veracini wrote a concerto grosso for eight instruments which was performed in 1711 at the festivities for the Emperor Charles VI.

There is a legend that, when Giuseppe Tartini heard Veracini’s playing the violin in 1712, he was so impressed by his bowing technique, and so dissatisfied with his own skill, that he retreated the next day to Ancona “in order to study the use of the bow in more tranquility, and with more convenience than at Venice, as he had a place assigned him in the opera orchestra of that city” (Burney 1789, 3:564–65).

In 1714 Veracini went to London and played instrumental pieces (“symphonies” in contemporary parlance) between the acts of operas at the Queen’s Theatre. After a season at the court in Dusseldorf and once again in Venice in 1716, he wrote a set of violin/recorder sonatas dedicated to Prince Friedrich August (who in 1733 would become Augustus III of Poland and Augustus II Elector of Saxony). The Prince was in Venice recruiting musicians on behalf of his father Augustus II the Strong/Augustus I for the Saxon Court in Dresden.

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