Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Giuseppe Tartini – composer and violinist

Talented musician was maestro di cappella at Basilica of Sant’Antonio

Giuseppe Tartini spent much of his career living in Padua
Giuseppe Tartini spent much of
his career living in Padua
The Baroque violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, who spent most of his career living in Padua, composed more than 100 violin concertos and many beautiful sonatas, including the Trillo del Diavolo (Devil’s Trill), which he once said had been inspired by a dream.

Tartini became principal violinist and maestro di cappella at Padua’s Basilica of Sant’Antonio in 1721 and later founded a school of violin playing and composition in the city. His greatest pupil was Gaetano Pugnani who went on to teach the violinist, Giovanni Battista Viotti.

Tartini was born in Pirano, which was in the Republic of Venice, on 8 April 1692. His birthplace was in Venetian territory in the 17th century, but it is now named Piran and is part of Slovenia.

He went to Padua to study divinity and law but also took violin lessons and became an expert at fencing. Before he reached the age of 20, he had secretly married a protégée of the archbishop of Padua, but this led to him being arrested on charges of abduction, so he disguised himself as a monk and fled the city, taking refuge in a monastery in Assisi, where he continued to study the violin and played in the orchestra there.

Later, he was allowed to return to his wife by the archbishop of Padua, who had heard that Tartini’s violin playing was attracting favourable attention. The musician then spent most of his life in Padua, apart from a brief period when he was invited to Prague to play at the coronation of the Emperor and direct the city’s orchestra.

The Basilica of Sant'Antonio, where Tartini was principal violinist and music director
The Basilica of Sant'Antonio, where Tartini
was principal violinist and music director
Also a music theorist, Tartini formulated the principles of musical ornamentation and harmony. He wrote a treatise on music, Trattato di musica, in 1754, as well as a dissertation on the principles of music harmony, and a treatise on ornamentation in music. He also composed music for trios and quartets and a few religious works.

His violin playing was said to be remarkable because of its combination of technical and poetic qualities, and his bowing technique became a model for later violinists. His skill was widely recognised and he was invited to go on a concert tour of Italy in 1740.

Tartini also studied acoustics and contributed to the science with his discovery of the Tartini tone, which was a third note, heard when two notes are played steadily and with intensity.

After almost 50 years in Padua, Tartini died in the city in 1770, at the age of 77.




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