Francesco Geminiani


Italian violinist, composer, and theorist. Probably a pupil of Lonati, Alessandro Scarlatti, and Corelli. He served the court at Lucca, 1707-10, and evidently led a theater orchestra in Naples, 1711. He arrived in England in 1714, performing at court in 1716 with Handel at the harpsichord. In 1726 he released concerto grosso arrangements and embellished versions of Corelli's op. 5 sonatas. He played in a cycle of twenty subscription concerts beginning on December 9, 1731; other public appearances were rare, however, his income deriving from royal patronage and teaching, with Festing, Dubourg, and Avison among his pupils. He visited Ireland several times; on the first, in 1733, and on subsequent visits, he gave concerts at the Spring Garden. In 1739 he received a 14-year exclusive privilege or copyright for publication of his music in Britain, and in 1741 was granted the same for twelve years in France; among his offerings in the 1740s were a set of keyboard arrangements of his violin solos (Paris, 1743) and a collection of Concerti Grossi op. 5. His The Inchanted Forest was staged as a ballet-pantomime at Paris in 1754. The treatises on which his modern reputation rests appeared between 1748 and 1760; they include A Treatise on the Art of Good Taste in Music (London, 1749), The Art of Accompaniment (London, ca. 1754), and the famous The Art of Playing on the Violin (London, 1754). His final years were divided between England and Ireland, with his last documented public appearance on March 3, 1760; an observer praised the 72-year-old violinist's "fine and elegant taste, and the perfection of time and tune."

A full account of his life is in Enrico Careri, Francesco Geminiani, 1687-1762(Oxford, 1993).

A Partial Geminiani Discography  |  VIIIA: The Concerto  | The Research Periods  |  VIIIB: The Neapolitan Group | VIIID: The Solo and Trio Sonata in the Italian Settecento