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Amico : The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti

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Giovanni Battista Viotti was unquestionably the most influential violinist of his time, and his style continues to pervade to the present day. The last great representative of the Italian tradition that Corelli began, Viotti is often considered the founder of the modern or 19th-century French school of violin playing. In Amico: The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti, author Warwick Lister provides the first complete biography in English of this continuously significant violinist. Much of the documentary material Lister cites is previously unknown or not translated. Lister's biography takes the reader on a fascinating journey over the European continent and into the musical culture of the late 18th century. Born one year prior to Mozart and dying three years before Beethoven's death, Viotti rose from the humble origins of a blacksmith's son in a village near Turin, Italy, to international fame. His multifarious career as a concert performer, composer, teacher, opera theater director, and impresario was played out against the backdrop of a dramatically changing world - he served as a court musician for no less a figure than Marie Antoinette before founding an opera house in Paris. Viotti also knew tragedy as well as success: he was forced to flee the French Revolution, he was exiled from England for an extended period based on suspicions of certain Jacobin tendencies, his attempt to establish himself in business met with failure, and he died heavily in debt. Lister concludes Amico by coming to grips with the very things that account for Viotti's greatness and influence: the technical aspects of his violin playing and compositions. With its extensive documentary research and the inclusion of translations of various archival documents, this is the essential English-language biography of Viotti, a significant addition to the libraries of students and scholars of 18th and early 19th century music, as well as violin performers, students, and instructors.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 544 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 43.18mm | 907.18g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 29 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195372409
  • 9780195372403
  • 2,043,897

Review quote

If it is a somewhat pale title for a book, it must also be admitted that Viotti himself was sometimes pale as a man. Thanks for Warwick Lister's painstaking work, however, much colour has been restored to his portrait. Amico inspires hope that performers will go and explore Viotti's music and complete the picture. * A. Manze, Times Literary Supplement * This is a substantial and beautifully produced monograph * Early Music *show more

About Warwick Lister

Warwick Lister is a violinist and independent researcher. He has previously performed with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Lenox Quartet, and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy. He taught violin and music history at Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y.show more

Table of contents

ABBREVIATIONS; LIST OF FIGURES; PREFACE; "SUONATORE DEL PRINCIPE"; "PUPIL OF THE CELEBRATED PUGNANI"; THEATER MUSICIAN; CHAPEL AND CHAMBER MUSICIAN; "FIRST VIOLINIST OF THE UNIVERSE"; HOMECOMING; COURTIER; "THE PLEASURE OF HIS FRIENDS"; COMPOSER AND TEACHER; THE CONCERT OLYMPIQUE; THE THEATRE DE MONSIEUR; "UNE BIEN GRANDE MACHINE"; RUE FEYDEAU; AFTERWORD; HANOVER SQUARE; INCIDENT ON THE CONTINENT; LONDON AND BATH; THE KING'S THEATRE; THE WINE BUSINESS, GILLWELL, THE KING'S THEATRE; EXILE; COUNTRY LIFE; ST OMER AND PARIS; MUSIC, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS; TRAGEDY; RECOVERY; THE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY (1813, 1814); PARIS, BRUSSELS, LILLE (1814-1818); THE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY (1815, 1816); EPILOGUE; APPENDICES; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX OF VIOTTI'S WORKS; GENERAL INDEXshow more

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