Deutsch Francesco Xaverio Geminiani was baptized in Lucca on 5 December his exact birthdate is unknown. For a while he was leader of the opera orchestra in Naples but, according to the English music historian Charles Burney: he was soon discovered to be so wild and unsteady a timest, that instead of regulating and conducting the band, he threw it into confusion, as none of the performers were able to follow him in his tempo rubato, and other unexpected accelerations and relaxations of measure. The career of a virtuoso soloist and composer was more suited to his temperament. He arrived in London in and spent most of his life there, though he travelled on several occasions to the Netherlands, Paris and Dublin, where he died in
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Written by music educator Beryl Peters, Ph. They offer a perfect primer to the great works of Bach, Beethoven, Britten and beyond for K-8 and students — with engaging historical anecdotes and simple theory for younger students, and more complex information for older students. Soon after Geminiani moved from his home in Italy to London in , he established himself as a leading violin player, composer and theorist in England.
The Concerto Grosso Op. Corelli published his highly popular twelve Sonatas for Violin and Continuo Op. Geminiani arranged all twelve sonatas as concerti grossi between and The following questions can help you listen to this work: 1 Form in music refers to the musical architecture or the way the music is structured.
The Concerto Grosso is a form of baroque music that contrasts a large ensemble called the ripieno with a smaller group of soloists known as the concertino. Typically, he used the string section as the ripieno group, and featured two violins and a cello in the concertino group. Can you hear that the form of this Concerto Grosso is actually a set of variations on a theme? The original work features 23 variations on the La Follia theme and harmonic progression.
The theme is presented at the outset of the work and is played adagio slowly. You can hear the first variation as it is clearly contrasted to the theme by its faster, quick and lively Allegro tempo. The remaining variations are also easily distinguished by contrasting tempos. The highly contrasting and quick changing variations themselves feature different forms — can you hear a jig, a march, or an arpeggiated variation? Can you hear musical themes and motives traded between the small and large groups?
Can you hear the two contrasting groups of instruments in the concertino and ripieno? Can you hear the interplay between the solo violin and second violin as they play their virtuosic, technically difficult parts? Can you hear the conversations between the solo and tutti groups? Do you also hear a harpsichord that accompanies the groups? What tempos the speed of the music can you identify in this work? Can you hear a slow tempo at the beginning of the concerto gross followed by a more energetic Allegro fast and lively?
Can you hear other contrasting tempos throughout the variations? Does the overture begin with loud or quiet dynamics? Is the music played at all the same volume dynamics?
When do you hear music played loudly? When do the dynamics change and what effect does that create? When does the music get louder crescendo or get quieter decrescendo?
Can you hear an exciting crescendo in the last variation that leads to the finale of the work? What is the overall mood of this concerto grosso and how does Geminiani achieve this mood? Do you hear the contrasts between the serious, stately mood at the beginning and the light-hearted, playful qualities of the following Allegro?
How does Geminiani achieve the contrasts of mood heard throughout the Concerto Grosso? Do you hear musical sounds that are short sounding staccato or very smooth sounding legato? Do you hear ornamented sounds such as trills that are typical of this period of music writing? How does Geminiani use expressive elements to create character changes in this virtuosic and brilliant set of variations?
Can you hear changes from solemn to animated to serene? Do you hear sections that have a steady rhythm or beat that you could tap to? Did any particular rhythmic pattern stand out for you that you could listen for in the work? Can you identify the rhythmic pattern of the opening theme heard and varied throughout the concerto grosso? Can you hear that the opening theme makes use of a dotted note pattern long then short sound? Can you hear that the pulse or beat of the opening theme can be counted in threes?
The opening bar is a quarter note followed by a dotted quarter note and eighth note. The second bar is made up of a half note followed by a quarter note. These patterns are featured in the opening theme and varied throughout the work. Can you hear how the melody of the opening solemn theme is repeated, combined, and varied in different ways throughout the Concerto Grosso? Do you hear the opening two repeated notes in the theme? Do you hear that the opening two repeated notes are followed by one note higher and then a skip down to a note that is also repeated?
Do you hear that the opening two repeated notes are heard again but with a trill ornamentation? Where do you melody notes repeated or moving up or down in scale like patterns throughout the concerto grosso? Can you hear when melody notes skip higher or lower in pitch?
Where do you hear all the instruments playing together so that the sound is thick? Where do you hear a thinner texture where just a few instruments playing or taking turns? Can you tell which instruments are playing? Timbre is the different qualities of sound that can be heard, for example the kinds of sounds that the string instruments make when they play together. When does the timbre of the music change because certain instruments are added or taken away?
How is the timbre of the ripieno contrasted to the timbre of the instruments in the concertino? Does this music sound like any other music you have heard before? What does this music make you think of? What music elements seemed to be important to him?
Can you identify what musical elements may have created that mood for you? When did the mood change and why? What feelings were you left with at the end of the concerto grosso? Why or why not? Can you identify which music elements made you enjoy or not enjoy the music? How does this work compare to the sounds and experience of listening to the original Violin Sonata in D minor by Corelli?
Could you listen to other Baroque concerto grossi or Baroque composers?
Written by music educator Beryl Peters, Ph. They offer a perfect primer to the great works of Bach, Beethoven, Britten and beyond for K-8 and students — with engaging historical anecdotes and simple theory for younger students, and more complex information for older students. Soon after Geminiani moved from his home in Italy to London in , he established himself as a leading violin player, composer and theorist in England. The Concerto Grosso Op. Corelli published his highly popular twelve Sonatas for Violin and Continuo Op. Geminiani arranged all twelve sonatas as concerti grossi between and The following questions can help you listen to this work: 1 Form in music refers to the musical architecture or the way the music is structured.
Concerto Grosso in D minor, H.76 (Geminiani, Francesco)
12 Concerti Grossi after Corelli's Violin Sonatas (Geminiani, Francesco)