Biography Edit Baptismal records indicate that Corelli was born on 17 February in the small Romagna town of Fusignano , then in the diocese of Ferrara , [7] Papal States. His ancestors had been in Fusignano and land-owners there since , when a Corelli moved to the area from Rome. This gap is especially pronounced for his formative years, including his musical education, even though traditional accounts of a highly idealized childhood have long been debunked. A major centre of musical culture of the time, Bologna had a flourishing school of violinists associated with Ercole Gaibara and his pupils, Giovanni Benvenuti and Leonardo Brugnoli. Although historically plausible, these accounts remain largely unconfirmed, as does the claim that the papal contralto Matteo Simonelli first taught him composition. The credibility of this attribution has been disputed.

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This is the perfect time for it. Arcangelo Corelli wrote 12 concerti grossi big concertos or concerti , a form of Baroque music wherein the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists the concertino and full orchestra ripieno or tutti.

Each concerto grosso is scored for a solo concertino of two violins and cello , string orchestra and continuo. It was commissioned by his patron Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, in whose palace Corelli lived from until his death. Corelli was born with a bronze, if not quite silver spoon in his mouth, into a family of landowners.

Sadly, a lack of reliable documentary evidence shedding light on the chronology of his life has led to speculation, anecdotes and legends about him.

However, his writing for the violin rarely extended beyond the note D on the E string, occasionally upto E in the fourth position on that string. Corelli was also apparently the first composer to attain fame solely for his instrumental music; as far as is currently known he never wrote opera or vocal music. His three main areas of composition are the solo sonata, the trio sonata two solo melodic instruments and basso continuo and the concerto grosso. It is assumed that, being a man of means, he had the freedom to focus his creative output on genres that interested him, and not be dictated to by financial need to write what did not.

Sonate di chiesa were generally four-movement slow-fast-slow-fast works, and this one has two more tagged on at the end. It was apparently a tradition in Italy for rural shepherds to travel into towns and cities to play their pipes at Nativity scenes.

The music in the upper strings conjures up to the imagination a soothing lullaby sung by Mother Mary to her newborn as she rocks him to sleep, while the cattle nod and low in the lower strings. There could not have been a better setting for the performance of this work therefore than the Museum of Christian Art at Christmastime, under the gaze of a beautiful figure of the Madonna and Child.

The high tapering roof, and the reflective, non-absorbent walls and floor also make this such a wonderful location for chamber music. The composition is highly contrapuntal in nature, notably in the first Allegro, but this is in evidence through much of the work.

The performances you may have heard recently in Goa are extended forms of the string quartet version of the concerto grosso.


Corelli: Concerto grosso in G Minor 'Christmas Concerto'

There are no documented details on his first years of study. It is thought that his first teacher was the curate of San Savino, a village on the outskirts of Fusignano. Later, he went to Faenza and Lugo , where he received his first elements of musical theory. Between and he studied with Giovanni Benvenuti , violinist of the chapel of San Petronio in Bologna. Benvenuti taught him the first principles of the violin, and another violinist, Leonardo Brugnoli, furthered his education. In Corelli was initiated into the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna.


12 Concerti grossi, Op.6 (Corelli, Arcangelo)



Arcangelo Corelli



Corelli’s Christmas Concerto


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