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    Arcangelo Corelli

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    Arcangelo Corelli was born in Northern Italy in 1653. His exact birth was not registered at the time however records show he was baptised on the 17th February of that year. Corelli initially studied music whilst attending the church in Faenza, learning from a priest. In 1666, he moved to the then cultural hub of Bologna, moving to Rome four years later, where he played the violin at the Tordinona Theatre and the chapel of San Luigi di Francesi. His composition studies were also heavily focussed around the violin as he was surrounded by high-level players during his time in Bologna.

    Corelli is best known for his florid and artistic approach to baroque music at the time. He composed 12 concerto grossi, popularising the form of composition in the process, as well as 48 trio sonatas and 12 violin sonatas. Some of his most famous works are his “Christmas Concerto” from the Opus 6 Concerto Grossi and his Opus 12 Violin sonatas. These violin sonatas have become seminal works in both the history of baroque music and the violin itself.

    The influence of Corelli can clearly be traced through the music of his pupils. His students Castrucci, Locatelli and Geminiani went on to develop a new method of playing the violin. They took Corelli’s contemporary approach to ornamentation and put it into method books that violinists could study from.

    His work wasn’t just studied and played in his native Italy. Händel used Corelli’s Opus 6 Concerto Grossi as a basis for his set of concerto grossi composed in 1739. Bach also studied a lot of Corelli’s work, inspiring one of his organ fugues which is based on a theme from Corelli’s Opus 3. 

    Arcangelo Corelli passed away in Rome in 1713 where he left his collection of violins and art, his only extravagance, to his friends, family and donors. His grave is located in the Pantheon signifying his high-flying position in society. Corelli’s work defined the baroque era and his legacy sculpted modern violin playing through is progressive attitude and willingness to innovate.

    Oliver Clayton
    Oliver Clayton
    Oliver Clayton is currently reading an undergraduate degree in Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he studies modern violin with Susanne Stanzeleit and baroque violin with Lucy Russell. Whilst at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Oliver often plays in the Birmingham New Music concert series where he premiers new compositions. Oliver also works as a creative, collaborating on various artistic projects in and around Birmingham. Oliver regularly performs with the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus singing alongside the CBSO. When not playing the violin, Oliver is an avid reader of modern and contemporary fiction and writes commercially. Before attending higher education, he studied German and History alongside Music.
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