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Tomaso Albinoni

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Biography

Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni was the son of a well-to-do Italian businessman enabling Tomaso to live the life of an aristocrat (and almost the life of a dandy). He studied both violin and singing, treating instrumental music and opera well. (Albinoni was not able to successfully deal with sacred music.) It is difficult to assess whether Albinoni's vocal music will continue in the performing arts; it does seem likely since many of his early works were operas though style and innovation are lacking. His operas, intermezzos and small stage works include "Zenobia, Regina de' Palmireni," "Artamene," "Rodrigo in Algeri," "I veri amici," "Il trionfo dell'amore," "Vespetta e Pimpinone," "Griselda," "Aminita," and "Engleberta." His production was fierce although the latter operas seem to have been received better than the former. Albinoni described "Candilade" (one of his last operas) as his eightieth though this was quite possibly an exaggeration on his part. [Only forty are catalogued. . .he had also made the claim that he worked for the Duke of Mantua which is unlikely.] Albinoni composed numerous sonatas, concertos, sinfonias and some cantatas. His instrumental works will survive as he can be juxtaposed comparably with the likes of Corelli, Vivaldi and Mascitti (at least for his day). Albinoni's music can be characterized somewhat cryptically regarding variation. . .His production was so quantitative that it is easy to discern a boorish pattern from which he did not stray. However, he was the first to employ three movements on a regular basis, the first Italian to compose an oboe concerto (for two oboes), and his singluar concepts for melodic lines are clearly demarcated by the use of single-stepped interval phrases rather than arpeggios. ~ Keith Johnson

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