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Tomaso Albinoni

Biography

Born: 1671   Died: 1751   Country: Italy   Period: Baroque
Not much is known about the life of Tomaso Albinoni. He was the eldest son of a wealthy Venetian paper merchant. The family was very well off, and in his adult life Albinoni was financially independent. He thought of himself as an amateur musician. Although completely trained in his art, he did not seek professional employment in music. He was a fine performer on the violin, and one of the most prolific writers of the violin concerto in the high Read more Baroque. Initially Albinoni attempted to compose church music, but did not meet with much success. However in 1694, with the publication of 12 trio sonatas and the production of his opera Zenobia, Regina de Palmireni, Albinoni had found his milieu. For the rest of his life he would compose cantatas, operas, instrumental sonatas and concerti. His operas were popular throughout Italy, and are very original, although not well known today. In 1705, he married the soprano opera singer Margherita Rimandi. Together they had six children, while she continued with her singing career. Tomaso Albinoni meanwhile had inherited a portion of his father's estate, and began a singing school. In 1722, he published a collection of 12 concerti. He also was invited to Munich where a production of his opera I veri amici was given as part of the festivities honoring the marriage of the Prince Elector to the daughter of the Emperor. This occurred at perhaps the height of Albinoni's fame.
Albinoni was extremely prolific and is said to have composed over 80 operas, 40 solo cantatas, 79 sonatas, 59 concerti, and 8 sinfonias. He composed oboe concertos, treating the oboe as a lyrical, melodic instrument, much as the voice would have been treated. His compositions are extremely individual, and he possessed great gifts as a melodist. His compositions were much admired by Johann Sebastian Bach, who used themes of Albinoni's in several of his keyboard fugues. Two of these themes come from Albinoni's work Opera Prima. Bach also used to practice realizing the continuo harmonies using bass lines of Albinoni, and pieces of Albinoni's were used by Bach for teaching. Albinoni was at one time accorded a place in the history of music next to Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi. At the beginning of the twentieth century, editions of his works were published, and his violin music is still performed. Read less
Albinoni: Oboe Concertos Vol. 2
Release Date: 12/12/1995   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553002   Number of Discs: 1
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Albinoni: Oboe Concerti Op 9 / Camden, Georgiadis
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550739   Number of Discs: 1
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Adagio - J.s. Bach, Albinoni, Marcello, Mozart, Bruch, Et Al
Release Date: 01/04/1996   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550994   Number of Discs: 1
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Albinoni: Oboe Concerti Vol 3 / Camden, Alty, Georgiadis
Release Date: 12/12/1995   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553035   Number of Discs: 1
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Adagio Albinoni
Release Date: 05/13/1997   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8552244   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Adagio for Organ and Strings in G minor

 

About This Work
Many composers have attained fame through a single work which has gone on to become an international favorite, and Tomaso Albinoni would have belonged to that category if it were not for the fact that the famous Albinoni Adagio was not written by Read more him. This soulful and elegiac work was in fact created by the Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto, who came across a tiny manuscript fragment (consisting of just a few measures of the melody line and basso continuo part) among relics in a library collection in Dresden, shortly after the end of World War II. After considering the evidence, Giazotto concluded that he had unearthed a portion of a church sonata (sonata da chiesa) which he presumed had been composed by Albinoni, possibly as part of his Op. 4 set, around 1708.

On the basis of these findings, Giazotto proceeded to construct a complete single-movement work around the fragmentary theme he had ascribed to the Venetian master. The scoring, for organ and strings, and indeed the key of G minor, lend themselves to a mood of great solemnity, and the melody is a magnificent one no matter who composed it, with outbursts of quasi-improvised melancholy that suggests the tragic passion of an opera. All in all, this hybridized (some would say fraudulent) work is one of the most popular examples of music attributed to the Italian Baroque, and if (as is widely thought) Giazotto was canny enough to secure copyright to the piece, the Albinoni-Giazotto Adagio must have brought him wealth. New recordings of the work continue to appear every year.

-- Michael Jameson Read less

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