Roberto Valentini (Robert Valentine)


While Italians virtually dominated the musical scene in early eighteenth-century London, Robert Valentine reversed the trend in being one of a handful of English musicians in that he made his way to the continent and stayed to have a successful career in Italy. Whether he initially came to Italy to learn from an Italian master or was bold enough to risk the journey to compete with local talent for employment is unclear, but in any case, unlike the wealthy young macaronies who merely used continental culture to set themselves apart from the rest of British society, Valentine immersed himself in it. He based himself in Rome, where he was known as a virtuoso oboist and recorder player. Early on he was under the patronage of Sir Thomas Samwell, so it is fully possible that he went to Italy with him. His chamber music, mostly for recorder, was widely published in Rome and Amsterdam with his name given as 'Roberto Valentini, Inglese' and by the time he returned to London in 1731 all of it had been issued there too. Inasmuch as a concerto of his appeared in a manuscript connection otherwise devoted to pieces by composers known to have worked worked in Naples, it seems likely that Valentine appeared there sometime in the 1720s. His concerto, however, apart from scoring, is very different from the others in that manuscript, and is much less typically Neapolitan in style.

A Partial Robert Valentine Discography  |  The Concerto  | The Research Periods  |  VIIIB: The Neapolitan Group