Harmonia Early Music

What’s on YouTube: Arcangelo Corelli

A YouTube search for "Corelli" yields a nice surprise.

orchestra in performance

Photo: Bernard Gordillo

Ensemble Laura Soave performing the music of Arcangelo Corelli on YouTube.

If you type “Corelli” into YouTube’s search box, you immediately get hits related to a Franco and an Arcangelo with the same last name. Franco Corelli was one of the great tenors of the 20th Century and perhaps of not much interest here.

Arcangelo Corelli was one the most famous violinists and composers of the Baroque Era. His works inspired many of his contemporaries and succeeding generations of musicians and composers, alike.

In fact, some of his music has been continually played since he was alive.

Corelli wrote the kinds of works that were popular in his day—sonatas and concertos. They weren’t just in demand, however, but a necessity (so much that pirated editions were also common). In a 17th/18th-century manner, his works went “viral” as soon as they were published.

He composed no vocal music.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a large amount of music by Corelli (four sets of trio sonatas, a set of violin sonatas, a posthumously published set of concerti grossi, and other smaller works not belonging to any particular set). There isn’t much if you compare it with other composers of similar fame, but it is impressive, nonetheless, for its beauty and quality.

Of the few videos on YouTube that feature live performances, one by Ensemble Laura Soave reflects a sound Corelli might have recognized and one which is consistent with written accounts of orchestras he played in—a sizable string orchestra (multiple violins and violas) that sports a hefty basso continuo section (organ, harpsichord, two theorbos, two cellos, and two violones).

It is impressive, but you may want to experience it for yourself:

Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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  • carlosfranco

    For some reasons I relate Corelli with Domenico Scarlatti. I was no quite sure that Corelli wrote Concertos grosso as Bach, or Handel did; Maybe cause don'r here the organ, or the clavecin. The Ensamble is just perfect ro play the baroque.

  • carlosfranco

    For some reasons I relate Corelli with Domenico Scarlatti. I was no quite sure that Corelli wrote Concertos grosso as Bach, or Handel did; Maybe cause don'r here the organ, or the clavecin. The Ensamble is just perfect ro play the baroque.

  • Pingback: Linking Early Music: Baroque Opera, Chopin, and BREMF | Harmonia Early Music - Indiana Public Media

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