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Biografia

(1695 - 1764)

The Italian composer and violinist Pietro Antonio Locatelli was born in Bergamo, later moving to Rome, where he might have studied with Corelli, but more probably was a pupil of Valentini. He won a reputation as a virtuoso, performing in Italy, in Bavaria and in Berlin. In 1729 he settled in Amsterdam, where he taught and conducted an amateur orchestra and was able to pursue his wider cultural interests.

Locatelli wrote a number of concerti grossi, following the example of Corelli. The first set, published in Amsterdam in 1720, include twelve fugues. L'arte del violino (The Art of the Violin), published in 1733, contains twelve violin concertos and 24 Caprices, precursors of Paganini's famous set for unaccompanied violin. A further set of six concertos was published two years later and a set of six, published in 1744, is scored for four violins, two violas and basso continuo. Locatelli combines the Roman style of Corelli with, in his solo concertos, the virtuosity of Vivaldi in Venice.

In his Concerti grossi, works for string orchestra with a smaller group of soloists, Locatelli at first follows the pattern of Corelli, with one or two violas added to Corelli's solo group of two violins, cello and harpsichord. There is also a Concerto grosso that includes a group of solo wind instruments, in addition to solo violin concertos. Some of these works have programmatic titles. His L'arte del violino (The Art of the Violin) includes 24 Caprices for unaccompanied violin, challenging works that have been regarded by some as foreshadowing the Caprices of Paganini in the following century. Locatelli also published sets of trio sonatas and solo sonatas, including a set of the latter for flute and basso continuo.

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