Veracini, Francesco Maria
Francesco Maria Veracini, an Italian violinist and composer, was noted for his virtuosity on the violin, and his violin sonatas feature several unique effects for that instrument. He also wrote operas and songs for the voice, accounting for at least half of his known musical output. He was known for being arrogant and eccentric, to the point of being insane. Veracini was born into a musical and artistic family in Florence. His grandfather was a well-known violinist in the region, and his uncle Antonio was also a talented violinist and composer. Since the boy's father was one of the few in the household who did not play the violin, although as a novice, it was he who offered the young Veracini his first music lessons. The organist at Florence Cathedral was one of Veracini's other teachers in Florence. Before Easter in 1711, Veracini left Florence. He was a soloist at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice for Christmas that year, but he was never a permanent member of the chapel ensemble. Veracini moved to London in 1714 and performed in a number of benefit concerts as well as as a soloist between opera plays. He returned to Venice in the summer of 1716, dedicating a series of 12 solo sonatas to a prince of Saxony in Germany. Despite the fact that a violinist was not needed at the Dresden court, the prince convinced his father to employ Veracini, who arrived in Dresden in 1717. He was promoted from the prince's private payroll to the regular court payroll, where he was paid well. He stayed in Dresden until August of 1722 when he committed suicide by jumping from a third-story window. However, Veracini hinted that there was a conspiracy against his existence motivated by jealousy. Veracini returned to Florence after leaving Dresden in early 1723. The majority of records from this period (1723–33) depict him as a composer and singer of religious music, mostly oratorios performed by lay religious organizations. He did, however, write a mass and Te Deum to commemorate the election of Florentine Pope Clement XII in 1730.
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