Francesco Geminiani: Another Baroque Composer to Enjoy

Francesco Geminiani(Photo: Wikipedia)
Francesco Geminiani(Photo: Wikipedia)

Vivaldi, Bach and Handel, most of us know pretty well, but how about Francesco Geminiani? 

This fine Italian Baroque composer and violinist was born on this date in Lucca in 1687 and lived until 1762.  He studied in Milan, led the opera orchestra in Naples and lived and worked in London, Dublin and Paris. 

It’s said that after one of his stays in Dublin in 1761, a musical manuscript that he had spent much time and energy working on, was stolen and hastened his death the following year.  But he was 75-years-old, not that bad for the 18th Century.

Geminiani may not be quite as well known as one of his teachers, Arcangelo Corelli, whose most popular work is probably the Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 No. 8, the one we know as the “Christmas Concerto.”  Here’s a reminder:

However Gemiani’s music has much charm and appeal, and he’s a rewarding Baroque Era composer to know better. After moving to England in 1714, where he quickly established himself as a violinist, Geminiani wrote a beautiful set of 12 concerti grossi based on Corelli’s Violin Sonatas, Op. 5. 

In addition, he wrote several other sets of concerti that are models of beauty and style, certainly worth hearing if you don’t already know the wonderful music of this composer.  Here’s an example from his Op. 2 collection of concerti grossi: