78. Francesco Gasparini [365 Composers for 2013]


19th March – Francesco Gasparini


Gasparini (19th March 1668 – 22nd February 1727) is our composer for 19th March, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: Italian
Lifespan: 53 years
Genre: Baroque
Education: Bologna Philharmonic Academy
Fame Ranking: 5

Francesco Gasparini was a well-known and respected composer in his day. He mostly wrote opera and religious music, but also worked as a teacher and in music administration. It was Gasparini who recruited Vivaldi to become a violin teacher at a girls’ orphanage, the “Ospedale della Pieta”,  where Vivaldi ended up working for most of his professional life. Most of Vivaldi’s compositions were written for the musicians at the school.

Gasparini was particularly skilled at “free counterpoint”. “Counterpoint” is the technique of combining two or more separate lines of music together to produce a coherent whole. It has been taught to generations of music students since Renaissance times and is still a feature of the many tertiary music courses today. Students are usually taught “strict counterpoint” which is a step-by-step approach and, as the name suggests, the rules must be adhered to. When the student has mastered the rules he/she is allowed to bend them (a little), in “free counterpoint”.

Gasparini travelled much in his life, rarely settling anywhere for long. He worked as a teacher, composer and violinist in Rome, Bologna,  and Venice, moving back and forth from place to place. In Venice he contributed to the improvement of the orchestra based a the “Ospedale della Pieta”, which had around thirty to forty players. Under Gasparini, what was an orphanage with music lessons was transformed into a musical conservatory, which served Venice until the middle of the 19th century. While in Venice, Gasparini also composed prolifically, turning out several operas per year. He died in Rome.

Here is an aria “Destati, Lidia Mia” by Gasparini:


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