Desuete names: Italian composer Francesco Veracini

Francesco Maria Veracini (Italian. Francesco Maria Veracini; 1 February 1690, Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany - 31 October 1768, same place) was an Italian composer and violinist of the late Baroque period. He was born in Florence into the family of a pharmacist.
He studied playing the violin with his uncle Antonio Veracini, with whom he often performed together. He studied musical composition at the Florence Cathedral School with Francesco Feroci. After completing his education, a concert tour that Veracini made through Italy brought the musician recognition and success.  When the violinist was already a mature musician, his uncle left him a legacy of eight Jacob Stainer and three Nicola Amati violins.

The musician was renowned in Europe both as a performer and a composer. According to the descriptions of his contemporaries, Veracini was a magnificent violinist with a deep, bright sound, excellent vibrato and filigree bowing technique. There is a legend that when the then most popular musician Giuseppe Tartini heard Veracini play the violin in 1712, he was so impressed by his virtuoso technique and so disappointed by his own skills that he refused a place in the orchestra and immediately left Venice for Ancona to perfect his skills.
Gradually the fame of Veracini spread beyond Italy. In 1714, Veracini performed in London, where between acts at the Theatre Royal he played instrumental pieces and symphonies. The musician spent the 1715th season in Düsseldorf at the court of Philip Wilhelm (Elector of the Palatinate) to whom he dedicated his oratorio Mosè al Mar Rosso (Moses on the Red Sea). In 1716, in Venice, the composer wrote six "overtures" for orchestra, which made him famous.

In 1718, after the Saxon Prince Frederick August attended the carnival in Venice and become acquainted with the composer, Veracini was appointed Kapellmeister at the court in Dresden with an excellent salary. At this time he wrote two collections of violin sonatas dedicated to Frederick Augustus (the future Frederick III of Poland), orchestral suites.

It should be noted that according to contemporaries, Veracini had a very nasty, haughty and arrogant character. And relations between musicians at court were far from ideal. In 1722, as a result of a conflict between Veracini and his colleague Johann Georg Pisendel, the musician, who was characterized by an eccentric character, jumped out of the second-floor window of the Dresden residence, as a result of which he broke his ankle and limped for the rest of his life. According to the version of Veracini, it was a badly planned murder by his envious friends. After this incident, rumors of his inadequacy spread throughout Europe. After his recovery, Veracini spent some time in Prague, where he played in the house orchestra of Count Kinsky.

In 1723, he returned to Florence, got an occupation as a violinist in the church and wrote an oratorio. The composer managed to make his reputation even worse and was nicknamed "capo pazzo" (sick in the head) in Italy. The fellow citizens of Veracini believed that his excessive, long-standing fascination with the occult sciences had badly affected his mind.

In 1730, Veracini composed the music for the hymn "Te deum" for the inauguration of Pope Clement XII. In 1736, he came to London for the second time, but was not successful. The failure of his opera “Rosalinda” (based on the play by Shakespeare “As You Like It” forced him to leave the English capital in 1745 and return to Italy. He was shipwrecked on his way across the English Channel and lost two of his precious violins, but survived. Veracini spent the rest of his days in Italy. In the last years of his life he mainly conducted, he still occasionally performed as a violinist. Veracini died in Florence.

The composer had a distinctive creative talent and wrote works belonging to the best examples of Italian violin music of the 18th century. His compositions include the operas “Hadrian in Syria” (1735), “The Mercy of Titus” (1737), “Partenio” (1738), “Rosalinda” (1744), “The Mistake of Solomon” (1744); oratorios; cantatas for violin -- a collection of sonatas (1721, 1744); violin concertos. He had a distinctive creative talent and created works that are among the best examples of Italian violin music of the 17th century. In his violin sonatas and concertos the composer acted as a forerunner of Romanticism. His works are characterized by colorful narration, sound vividness (for example, the "Sonata with Postal Horn") and aspiration for new dynamics.

Sound Library of the museum Collection features gramophone records with recordings of compositions by Francesco Veracini.  Digitized recordings from these gramophone records are presented in the musical selection prepared for the birthday of the late Baroque Italian composer.