glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Corelli, Arcangelo (1653-1713)  

Arcangelo Corelli, born in 1653 in Fusignano, an Italian village between Ravenna and Bologna, was one of the seventeenth century's most widely admired composers and performers. His music has lasting appeal largely due to its refined sense of poise, the balance of all the forces within each composition, and its modern tonality. Some works are regarded as models of perfection, and Corelli himself has been called "a modern Orpheus."

Corelli's music is rigidly formal and simple in design, but nevertheless original. It achieves magnificent effects with a surprising economy of means. Corelli used intriguing sequential progressions and descending bass figurations that are typical of operatic laments. He helped achieve a new independent status for chamber works such as the Trio Sonatas that were formerly regarded as merely decorative.

Sponsor Message.

After Corelli, the distinction between musica da chiesa (church music) and musica da camera (chamber or dance music) was increasingly blurred. His trio sonatas and concerti grossi (1714) were widely imitated all over Europe. Famous not only as a composer, he was also regarded as the foremost violinist of his day. In addition, he was also admired for his skills as a music teacher.

Much of the information that exists about Corelli, especially about his early days as a student in Bologna, is unreliable. More particularly, a widely reported claim that he provoked the jealousy of French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully is almost certainly not true.

Corelli's personal life has been the subject of much speculation. Most scholars now believe him to have been discreetly homosexual. He never married and lived closely with male friends.

Corelli's rise to fame was meteoric, helped by the fact that music publishing began to proliferate in the early eighteenth century. His rise was also spurred by his influential patrons: Queen Christina of Sweden; Cardinal Pamphili, then the richest man in Rome; and the young and princely Cardinal Ottoboni, the nephew of Pope Alexander VIII. He thus enjoyed the patronage of the most influential people at a time when Rome became a flourishing center of music in Europe.

While many eighteenth-century descriptions of Corelli report on "the mildness of his temper and the modesty of his deportment," others say that his eyes sometimes bulged with anger. Corelli led a quiet, disciplined life, composing within the walls of Cardinal Pamphili's villa where he shared rooms with fellow musicians Carlo Cignani and Carlo Marat.

He continued this kind of life when after 1690 he resided at the villa of Cardinal Ottoboni, La Cancelleria, which had the atmosphere of an exclusive academy of talented male artists.

While residing at Pamphili's villa, Corelli became utterly devoted to another of the cardinal's employees, the second violinist Matteo Fornari, whom he met in 1682. According to one source, the composer was never far from Matteo's side for close on twenty years after that first meeting. This long standing intimacy is alluded to in the two fine trio sonatas dedicated to Corelli and Fornari by the younger composer Guiseppe Valentini. Fornari oversaw the publication of Corelli's Opus VI concertos after Corelli's death.

Corelli moved in the same circles as George Frideric Handel, now also widely believed to have been homosexual. Although Corelli's music influenced Handel's, Corelli claimed not to understand Handel's work, which was much fuller in texture and required more dynamic force than his own works. He said that he would be unable to play it correctly.

Corelli was admitted to the Academy in Rome, along with fellow composers Bernardo Pasquini and Alessandro Scarlatti in 1706. Two years later, he retired from public life. He died in 1713, a wealthy and widely respected man. He was buried in the Pantheon, next to the painter Raphael.

Corelli's musical legacy and influence extends to the great figures of the succeeding generation of baroque composers, Handel, Bach, and Telemann, but also to Couperin and the enigmatic English composer John Ravenscroft. All of these composers have paid homage to Corelli's poised and elegant compositions.

Kieron Devlin

     

 
zoom in
A portrait of Arcangelo Corelli by Jan Frans Douven.
  
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about The Arts
 
   
spacer
Popular Topics:

Social Sciences

 
Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence

Stonewall Riots
Stonewall Riots


Native Americans


The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980


Mixed-Orientation Marriages


Leather Culture


Transgender Activism


Gay Liberation Front


Androgyny
Androgyny


Silver, Nate

 
 


   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Music: Classical

Classical music is an important component of Western culture to which glbt people have contributed significantly.

social sciences >> Christina of Sweden

Enigmatic monarch and enthusiastic patron of the arts, Christina of Sweden shocked Europeans by her aversion to marriage, her "mannish" ways, and her love for women, as well as by the abdication of her throne at the age of twenty-seven.

arts >> Handel, George Frideric

Around George Frideric Handel, one of the towering figures of Western classical music, was constructed the first biographical closet, of many to come, for a major composer in the West.

arts >> Lully, Jean-Baptiste

Seventeenth-century composer Jean Baptiste Lully established the basic principles of French opera, but his career declined as the result of a homosexual scandal.


    Bibliography
   

Allsop, Peter. Corelli: New Orpheus of Our Times. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999

Burrows, Donald. Handel. New York: Scribners, 1994.

Moroney, Davitt. "Corelli, Arcangelo." Gay Histories and Cultures. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 215.

Talbot, Michael. "Arcangelo Corelli." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd ed. Stanley Sadie, ed. London and New York: Macmillan, 2001. 457-463.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Devlin, Kieron  
    Entry Title: Corelli, Arcangelo  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated September 5, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/corelli_a.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.