Monday, October 24, 2011

Archangelo Corelli: "The World's FIRST Great Violinist!"

Archangelo Corelli or otherwise known as the "Founder of Modern Violin Technique" the "Father of the Concerto Grosso" or "The World's First Great Violinist!" was born in Italy in 1653. He took on his musical training in Bologna and established himself in Rome during the 1670's and quickly became internationally known for his musicianship. After serving Queen Christina of Sweden in 1679, Corelli was able to leave her courts and gain patronage anywhere he liked. To put this into perspective, Corelli was the Baroque Era's "Paganini". The violin was his passion. He played, composed and even taught it. Corelli made the violin, which was at the time new to the music world, a popular instrument which over the years has cemented its legacy in music. While Corelli toured Europe performing the violin, his compositions were sold and honored throughout Europe, making the violin the most popular instrument in music at that time. Corelli did not produce a large sum of compositions, but he still composed great music. He popularized the form Concerto Grosso by producing pieces that people came to love. "Of all his compositions it was upon his Opus 6 that Corelli labored most diligently and devotedly. Even though he wouldn't allow them to be published during his lifetime, they still became some of the most famous music during the time. The date of composition is not certain, for Corelli spent many years of his life writing and rewriting this music, beginning while still in his twenties." ( Corelli's teachings were remarkable. He produced many writings on the violin and taught prestigious musicians such as Antonio Vivaldi and Geminiani. His style of composition was imitated throughout Europe and his music influenced future musicians, Handel and Bach, who both wrote music dedicated to him. For the last thirty years of his life Corelli attained high positions as a composer, performer and teacher in Rome, before his passing in 1713. Unlike many other musicians from this time, Corelli died a very rich man. On November 4, 2011 The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes will be performing Corelli's Concerto Grosso in D Major Op. 6, No. 4. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 607-936-2873 OR by person at 52 W Market Street (Corner of Walnut St. & Market St.)
Corning, NY 14830
. Tickets are $25 per adult and $5 per student (with valid student ID).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Antonio Vivaldi: "The Red Haired Priest!"

Antonio Vivaldi is noted today as one of Baroque's greatest composer's. Born on March 4th 1678, Vivaldi, not like so many other musicians of the time, was born into a family of wealth. His father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, was noted as one of the best violinist's in all of Venice and is credited to being the one who taught Antonio at a young age the life of the violin. Suffering from what appeared to be asthma, Vivaldi was not in the best respiratory health, but was able to still learn the violin at a virtuoso pace. He toured with father from concert hall to concert hall till the life of Priesthood beckoned him at the age of 15. You see, it was not uncommon at the time that the boys of wealthy families grew up to be priest's, simply for the hierarchical position and power they could attain at this position for the family. It was during the next 10 years of Priest training that Vivaldi gained the nickname "il Prete Rosso" or other known as "The Red Haired Priest". It was also during this time that Vivaldi was fighting his illness and only soon after gaining Priesthood at the age of 25, Vivaldi had to give up his Priest duties because of ill health. Bad luck, HUH? From there Vivaldi went on to become the Violin Master for an all girls orphanage named "Devout Hospital of Mercy". He taught music theory, the use of instruments and wrote music for the girls to learn and perform for the public. Soon after he was appointed, the Orphanage started gaining appreciation and esteem across Europe. He wrote everything from sacred works to concerto's for these girls to learn, but it seemed that everyone loved what was happening except for the Board of Directorsn for the Orphanage. After years of on going unanimous voting, Vivaldi was fired by the Board in 1709 only to be bought back in 1711 by the Director's themselves. Obviously they didn't understand Vivaldi's importance to the Orphanage. Vivaldi then in 1714 decided to change scenery and became the Impresario for the Teatro Sant' Angelo in Venice. From there he composed Opera's the first of which, Orlando finto Pazzo, received bad reviews for being to complicated. But from there it seemed that Vivaldi caught fire and produced one great Opera after another. By the end of his life he was able to accumulate about 46 of them, along with 500 concerto's, about 90 sonata's and a large body sacred choral music. Vivaldi ended his tenure in Venice and moved to Mantua in 1717 to make music for the Governor. For him, he produced Tito Manlio and La Silvia. From there Vivaldi moved around a bit starting in 1722 and finally settling again in Venice in 1725, where with in the same year he produced four Opera's. Vivaldi also during this time in Venice was able to crank out his most famous music, "The Four Season's". Four concerto's dedicated on depicting the four season's. Vivaldi seemed like the man from there. He wrote collaborations with some of the best artist's at the time. Everyone ranging from Carlo Goldoni to Pietro Metastasio, the leader of the Arcadian Movement and court poet of Vienna. But then something happened. Vivaldi's music lost interest in the people. The views of music was changing and no one wanted to listen to him anymore. Vivaldi in a last ditch effort to gain a secure job sold most of his pieces to gain money to move to Vienna. His intention was to take up a imperial court job, making music. But his main supporter. The man who was going to get him the gig, Charles VI, died. This left Vivaldi nothing, no job, no place stay. Nothing. Vivaldi shortly there after passed away in the home of a widow in 1741 at the age of 63. Vivaldi's Stabat Mater will be performed by the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Friday November 4th, 2011 at the Christ Episcopal Church in Corning, N.Y. For ticket information you can call 607-936-2873, or email See you there!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Accomplished more in 35 years than most can accomplish in 100.

Quick, tell me what was the last word upon Mahler's lips before he died? Or, tell me the man who Beethoven, as stubborn as he was, actually looked at as a musician who could write a more musical melody then he, himself, could have ever written? This same person wrote his first symphony at the age of eight, his first opera at 12. Don't know? Well, I will let you in on the answer. Mozart. One of the most prolific musicians and composers in the history of Western Classical Music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, now today's Austria on the 27th of January 1756. From a young age he showed great interest in music. His father, Leopold, capitalized on this and nurtured Mozart into a music playing/composing machine. He started touring Europe at the age of six with his sister and father, showing off his musicianship to the aristocratic circle by sight reading music, playing blind folded and by making music up on the spot. Yes indeed, Mozart was a prodigy and yes, this made his father very wealthy and yes this put a strain on the young musician. In fact while touring for three years straight, Mozart battled through erythema nodosum, rheumatic fever, angina, small-pox, scarlet fever and intestinal typhoid, the latter of which took two months of recovery. But as they say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!". Fighting off sickness though didn't just make Mozart physically tough. He grew more musically inept with each passing note. Once, while sitting through a performance of Gregorio Allegri's Miserere at the Sistine Chapel, Mozart was able to memorize the whole piece from ear and later write it out only to fix some minor details after he was done. Mozart produced music at a great rate writing everything from Opera's to Concerto's. He was a people person, made friends with many, including composer Joseph Hayden and for whom he wrote six quartet's dedicated to him. He sold out concert's with himself as the soloist and moved to Vienna, the music capitol of the world at that time. Yup, Mozart was good, probably the best of his time, but his personal life was not as perfect as his music. When his later years came to him he fell into debt, not for the fact that he wasn't paid well for his work, O he was paid well. His debt was more self inflicted, he just simply spent more money then he made. At times to make ends meat, Mozart would borrow money from fellow mason member Michael Puchberg to support him, his wife and their two children. As his situation worsened, Mozart fell out of the public eye and went into depression. He continued to fight to pay off his debt's by traveling far for concerts although it relieved little of his debt woes. As the later years of his life came Mozart was finding success with his music again and finances were seeming to look up. He was starting to pay off debt's and was seen more in public. Then tragically his passed away on the fifth of December, 1791. No one knows the exact reason why he passed so suddenly. Some believe that it was mercury poisoning, others believed it was influenza and some believe he was murdered, but in the end we may never know. But he lives on through his great music, all 600 plus compositions. On November fourth, 2011 the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes will be performing a couple pieces of Mozart's music at the Christ Episcopal Church in Corning, New York. Tickets can be bought online at, by phone 607-936-2873, or visit the Orchestra in person at 52 W Market Street (Corner of Walnut St. & Market St.) Corning, NY 14830! See you at the concert!