17. Tomaso Albinoni [365 Composers for 2013]


17th January – Tomaso Albinoni


Albinoni (8th June 1671 – 17th January 1751) is our composer for 17th January, to mark the day of his death.Nationality: ItalianLifespan: 79 years

Genre: Baroque

Education: Unknown

Fame Ranking: 1

Albinoni is famous by name although most people only know one piece attributed to him – his Adagio for Strings in G minor, which is a favourite number on several classical music compilation CDs. We actually know very little about his life, as it appears he was a man of independent financial means and did not need to take up employment as a director of music, teacher, conductor or similar, as so many other composers have done, which means there are not many written records of his name. In addition, some documents pertaining to his life were destroyed when Dresden State Library was bombed in World War II.

One document recovered from the wrecked Dresden Library was a tiny fragment of music, which the musicologist Remo Giazotto then reconstructed and orchestrated into the Adagio in G minor. The original scrap of music is lost, and no one is sure how much is Albinoni’s work and how much is Giazotto’s fancy. The original title of the piece was “Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ, on Two Thematic Ideas and on a Figured Bass by Tomaso Albinoni”, but the piece has since become part of popular culture and most people assume Albinoni wrote the whole thing.

Albinoni composed for pleasure, but was more than just an amateur. He was admired by J.S. Bach, who used several of his themes as bases for his own compositions. Albinoni composed cantatas, operas, instrumental sonatas and concerti as well as some church music which was less successful, and was famous throughout Italy.

Here is an Oboe Concerto by Albinoni:

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Listen to more music by Albinoni (including the Adagio in G minor) – click the box!


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