Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) was an Italian Baroque composer and contemporary of Vivaldi. Albinoni was famous in his day as an opera composer, however he is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music including his Adagio in G Minor.
Life and Music
Born into a wealthy family of paper manufacturers who produced playing cards and owned several shops in Venice, Albinoni squandered his gifts as a young man.
Despite his exceptional talents as a singer, violinist and composer, during his teen years he indulged in the life of a talented ‘amateur’ among artistic friends. The success of his Op. 1 Trio Sonatas in 1694 quickly changed all that.
The Venetian public began to tire of the old operatic formulae, and at this point, Albinoni came close to giving up.
This resulted in a dramatic slowing down of the Albinoni production line during the 1730s and 1740s.
According to his death certificate, Albinoni had been bedridden for the last two years of his life.
Albinoni was pivotal in establishing the fast-slow-fast, three-movement concerto form, and his oboe concertos were among the very first of their kind ever published by an Italian composer.
His technique of opening his faster movements with an insistent motto, which is then used to bind the whole movement together, left its mark on the work of innumerable composers.
Yet by far the most prolific part of his output are his 53 known operas, however only three of these are still intact, most of the others having been lost except a handful of arias.
By the early 1720s, Albinoni had held the position of most popular composer for over a decade.
Did you know?
Albinoni is best known for one piece, his Adagio for Organ and Strings, but he didn't write it - or didn't finish it. An Italian professor found a scrap of manuscript in a German library around two hundred years after Albinoni died, and the professor rebuilt the whole piece around those few lines.
Violin Concerto in A major Opus 9 No.4 (2)
(1671-1751 : Italy)
Conductor: Christopher Hogwood
Ensemble: Academy of Ancient Music
Soloists: Andrew Manze
Record label: Decca
Catalogue ID: 4581292