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Famous Like Me > Composer > A > Tomaso Albinoni

Profile of Tomaso Albinoni on Famous Like Me

Name: Tomaso Albinoni  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 8th June 1671
Place of Birth: Venice, Italy
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni (June 8, 1671, Venice, Italy – January 17, 1751, Venice) was an Italian baroque composer. While famous in his day as an opera composer, he is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music, some of which is regularly recorded. His "Adagio in G minor", actually a later reconstruction, is one of the most frequently recorded pieces of Baroque music.


Tomaso Albinoni

Born to Antonio Albinoni (1634–1709), a wealthy paper merchant and nobleman in Venice, he studied violin and singing. Relatively little is known about his life, especially considering his contemporary stature as a composer, and the comparatively well-documented period in which he lived. In 1694 he dedicated his Opus 1 to Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (grand-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII); Ottoboni was an important patron to other composers, such as Arcangelo Corelli. Albinoni was employed in 1700 as a violinist to the Duke of Mantua, to whom he dedicated his Opus 2 collection of instrumental pieces. In 1701 he wrote his hugely popular suites Opus 3, and dedicated that collection to Prince Ferdinand III of Tuscany.

In 1705 he was married; Antonino Biffi, the maestro di cappella of San Marco was a witness, and evidently was a friend of Albinoni's. Albinoni seems to have no other connection with that primary musical establishment in Venice, however, and achieved his early fame as an opera composer at many cities in Italy, including Venice, Genoa, Bologna, Mantua, Udine, Piacenza, and Naples. During this time he was also composing instrumental music in abundance: prior to 1705, he mostly wrote trio sonatas and violin concertos, but between then and 1719 he wrote solo sonatas and concertos for oboe.

Unlike most composers of his time, he appears never to have sought a post at either a church or court of nobility, but then he was a man of independent means and had the option to compose music independently. Then, in 1722, Maximilian Emanuel II, the Elector of Bavaria, to whom Albinoni had dedicated a set of twelve concertos, invited him to direct the Elector's operas.

In 1742 a collection of Albinoni's violin sonatas was published in France as a posthumous work, and scholars long presumed that meant that Albinoni had died by that time. However it appears he lived on in Venice in obscurity; a record from the parish of San Barnaba, where he was born, indicates a Tomaso Albinoni died in 1751, "age 84" (presumed to be a mistake), of diabetes.

Music and influence

He wrote some fifty operas, of which 28 were produced in Venice between 1723 and 1740, but today is most noted for his instrumental music, especially his oboe concertos.

His instrumental music greatly attracted the attention of Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote at least two fugues on Albinoni's themes and constantly used his basses for harmony exercises for his pupils.

Much of Albinoni's work was lost in World War II with the destruction of the Dresden State Library. Little is known of his life and music after the mid 1720s. The famous Albinoni Adagio in G Minor is a 1945 reconstruction by Remo Giazotto of a fragment from a slow movement of a trio sonata he discovered among the ruins of the State Library.

Published Works

  • Op. 1 1694 12 Sonata a tre.
  • Op. 2 1700 6 Sinfonias & 6 Concerti a 5.
  • Op. 3 1701 12 Baletti de Camera a tre.
  • Op. 4 1704 6 Sonates da chiesa for violin & B.C. 1708 published by Roger à Amsterdam.
  • Op. 5 1707 12 Concertos pour violin & B.C.
  • Op. 6 1711 12 sonata da camera.
  • Op. 7 1716 12 Concertos for 1 or 2 oboe and strings.
  • Op. 8 1721 6 Sonates & 6 Baletti a tre.
  • Op. 9 1722 12 Concertos pour 1 or 2 oboe and strings.
  • Op. 10  ?? 12 Violin Concertos

Contemporary performances and popular culture use

The Adagio in G minor has achieved a level of fame such that it is commonly transcribed for other instruments, and used in popular culture (for example, it has had several occurrences as background music for television programs, and as music in advertisements). One example of a transcription is the recording of the Adagio by classical guitarist Dominic Miller, an Argentine born musician who tours with Sting. It should be noted that the Adagio itself is a transcription and reconstruction of a portion of a single movement of a work, most of which is lost.

During the 1980s Swedish born guitarist Yngwie J. Malmsteen used the same work, the Adagio in G minor, in the composition Icarus Dream Suite, which he later used live during the intro for Far Beyond the Sun, which can be heard on the Trial by Fire album. It was also used effectively at the very sad end of the film Gallipoli starring Mel Gibson as a World War I soldier.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tomaso Albinoni