Francesco Maria Veracini
Francesco Maria Veracini (1 February 1690 – 31 October 1768) was an Italian composer and violinist, perhaps best known for his sets of violin sonatas.
Francesco Maria Veracini led a turbulent life. Born in Florence, the son of a pharmacist and undertaker, he was taught the violin by his uncle, Antonio Veracini, with whom he often appeared in concert. Veracini wrote a concerto grosso for eight instruments which was performed in 1711 at the coronation festivities for the Emperor Charles VI.
There is a legend that, when Giuseppe Tartini heard Veracini playing the violin in 1712, he was so impressed by his bowing technique, and so dissatisfied with his own skill, that he retreated the next day to Ancona "in order to study the use of the bow in more tranquility, and with more convenience than at Venice, as he had a place assigned him in the opera orchestra of that city". (Burney 1789, 3:564–65)
In 1714, Veracini went to London and played instrumental pieces ("symphonies" in contemporary parlance) between the acts of operas at the Queen's Theatre. After a season at the court in Düsseldorf and once again in Venice in 1716, he wrote a set of violin/recorder sonatas dedicated to Prince Friedrich August (who in 1733 would become Augustus III of Poland and Augustus II Elector of Saxony). The Prince was in Venice recruiting musicians on behalf of his father Augustus II the Strong/Augustus I for the Saxon Court in Dresden.
At the Prince's urging, Augustus the Strong employed Veracini to play chamber music at his court, later transferring him to the official Dresden payroll as violinist in August 1717. Veracini was sent to recruit Italian singers for the Dresden opera. In 1721 Veracini wrote another set of violin sonatas dedicated to the Prince (published as his Opus 1).
Unfortunately, there was animosity among the musicians at the court in Dresden. In 1722, Veracini was involved in a quarrel, staged according to one source by the composer and violinist Pisendel, which resulted in Veracini leaping out of an upper-story window. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
Back in his native Florence in 1723, Veracini played music in a church and wrote an oratorio. During this time he earned a bad reputation and was said by Charles Burney to have been "usually qualified with the title of Capo pazzo" ["head lunatic"]. (Burney 1789, 3:568)
Back in London in 1733, Veracini appeared in many concerts. There he wrote an opera, Adriano in Siria, considered too long by the music critics. In 1737, he wrote La Clemenza di Tito, on a libretto by Corri based on one by Pietro Metastasio. (The Metastasio libretto was also the basis of the one Mazzola wrote for Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito). In 1738 Veracini wrote his third opera, Partenio, and in 1744 his last opera, Roselinda, based on Shakespeare's play As You Like It, a most unusual choice of material at that time. In that opera Veracini included the well-known Scots ballad tune The Lass of Paties Mill. It was staged in London in 1744, the same year his oratorio (described as an opera in Burney 1789, 4:451) L'errore di Salomone was staged, and its lack of success (Burney, 4:451, scorned the music as "wild, awkward, and unpleasant; manifestly produced by a man unaccustomed to write for the voice", but confessed that "This opera, to my great astonishment when I examined the Music, ran twelve nights", whereas L'errore di Salomone was given only twice) prompted Veracini to leave London a little more than a year later.
After surviving a shipwreck in the English Channel, he again returned to Florence, where he was appointed maestro di capella of the churches of San Pancrazio and San Gaetano, the latter one at which his uncle had worked, focusing on church music. Though he mostly conducted in his later years, he still sometimes appeared as a violinist. He died in Florence.
In addition to violin sonatas, operas and oratorios, Veracini also wrote violin concertos, sonatas for recorder and basso continuo, and orchestral suites, called Overtures. The six Overtures were performed for Prince Friedrich August in Venice in 1716, as part of Veracini's ultimately successful attempt to secure a position at the Dresden court. They are all either in F major or B-flat major, except for one in G minor. The last one of these, in B-flat major, is remarkable for concluding with a unison minuet. Veracini also wrote a "lively, highly original theory treatise" (Newman 1972, 184), Il trionfo della pratica musicale, and edited other composers' works, adding "improvements" of his own, such as he did in his Dissertazioni with the Opus 5 Violin Sonatas of Arcangelo Corelli.
Major works 
- 12 Sonatas for recorder or violin solo and basso (no opus number, dedicated to Prince Friedrich August, before 1716)
- Opus 1, 12 Sonatas for violin solo and basso (dedicated to Prince Friedrich August, 1721)
- Opus 2, 12 Sonate Accademiche for violin solo and basso (1744)
- Dissertazioni del Sigr. Francesco Veracini sopra l'opera quinta del Corelli [Dissertation by Mr. Francesco Veracini on Corelli's Opus 5] (date of composition uncertain, unpublished until 1961)
- Opus 3, Il trionfo della pratica musicale, osia Il maestro dell’arte scientifica dal quale imparsi non solo il contrapunto ma (quel che più importa) insegna ancore con nuovo e facile metodo l’ordine vero di comporre in musica (music-theory treatise, 1760)
- The Art of Bel Canto. Richard Tucker, tenor; John Wustman, piano and harpsichord. LP. Columbia ML 6067 Also issued in stereo, MS 6667 [U.S.]: Columbia, 1965. [Includes Veracini: "Meco verrai su quella" (Pastorale) from 'Rosalinda']
- The Art of Joseph Szigeti, vol. 1. Joseph Szigeti, violin; Kurt Ruhrseitz, piano (Recorded 1926–1933). 2 CDs (mono). London, England: Biddulph Recordings, 1989. LAB 005, LAB 006. [Includes Veracini: Largo, from an unidentified sonata.]
- An Arthur Grumiaux Recital. Arthur Grumiaux, violin; Riccardo Castagnone, piano. LP (mono). Epic LC 3414 [United States]: Epic Records, 1957. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in A major, op. 1, no.7.]
- Baroque Masters of Venice, Naples and Tuscany. Soloists of the Società cameristica di Lugano. LP. "A Cycnus recording, Paris." [New York]: Nonesuch Records, 1966. HC 3008. [Includes an unidentified work by Veracini]
- Concerti "per l'orchestra di Dresda". Musica Antiqua Köln; Reinhard Goebel, dir. CD. Archiv Produktion 447 644-2. Hamburg: Deutsche Grammophon, 1993. [Includes Veracini: Ouverture No. 5 in B-flat major.]
- Flute Solos. James J Pellerite, flute; Wallace Hornibrook, piano. Coronet LPS 1505 (LP). Columbus, Ohio: Coronet, [1960s]. [Includes Veracini: Sonata no. 1 (1716).]
- French and Italian Flute Music. Barthold Kuijken, flute; Wieland Kuijken, viola da gamba; Robert Kohnen, harpsichord. 2 CDs. Accent ACC 30009. Heidelberg: Accent, 2007. [Sonatas,; violin, continuo,; op. 1, no. 6, arranged for flute and continuo]
- Furiosi. I Furiosi (Gabrielle McLaughlin, soprano; Aisslinn Nosky, Julia Wedman, violin; Felix Deak, violoncello, viola da gamba); with James Johnstone, harpsichord; Stephanie Martin, organ; Lucas Harris, theorbo and guitar. CD. Dorian DSL-90802. Winchester, VA: Dorian, 2007. [Includes Veracini: Passagallo, first movement from Sonata, op. 2, no. 12 in D minor.]
- Italian Baroque Songs. Dénes Gulyás, tenor; Dániel Benkö, lute, guitar, orpharion; László Czidra, recorder; Tibor Alpár, organ; Budapest Baroque Trio; Bakfark Consort. CD. Hungaroton HCD 31480. [Hungary]: Hungaroton, 1992. [Includes Veracini: Sonata for violin, continuo, op. 1; No. 3.]
- Italian Baroque Violin Concerti. Carroll Glenn, violin; Austrian Tonkuenstler Orchestra, Vienna; Lee Schaenen, conductor. LP. Musical Heritage Society MHS 652 New York: Musical Heritage Society, 1966. [Includes Veracini: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major]
- The Italian Connection: Vivaldi, Corelli, Geminiani, Lonati, Veracini, Matteis. Bell'arte Antiqua (Lucy van Dael, Jacqueline Ross, violins ; William Hunt, viola da gamba; Terence Charlston, harpsichord). CD. London: ASV, 2000. CD GAU 199. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in A, op. 2, no. 9]
- Italian Music for Strings of the Baroque Period. Cambridge Society for Early Music; Erwin Bodky, director; Ruth Posselt, Richard Burgin, violins. LP (mono). Kapp KCL 9024 [Includes Veracini: Sonata op. 1, no. 3.]
- An Italian Sojourn. Trio Settecento. CD. Chicago: Cedille, 2006. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in D minor, op. 2, no. 12.]
- Italian Violin Sonatas. Europa Galante (Fabio Biondi, violin and direction; Maurizio Naddeo, violoncello ; Giangiacomo Pinardi, theorbo, baroque guitar, cittern; Sergio Ciomei, harpsichord, organ, gracivembalo, clavichord). Virgin Veritas 5 45588 2 (CD). [England]: Virgin, 2002. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in G minor, op. 1 no. 1]
- Italienische Blockflötenmusik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Eckhardt Haupt, recorder; Achim Beyer, violin; Christine Schornsheim, harpsichord; Siegfried Pank, tenor viola da gamba. CD. Capriccio 10 234. Königsdorf: Delta Music GmbH, 1988. [Includes Veracini: Sonata no. 6 in A minor (1716)]
- Blockflötenwerke von 10 italienischen Meistern. Frans Brüggen, recorder; Anner Bylsma, violoncello; Gustav Leonhardt, harpsichord and organ. 3LPs. Telefunken Das Alte Werk 6.35073. Hamburg: Telefunken, 1968–74. Reissued on CD as Italian Recorder Sonatas. Teldec 4509-93669-2. Hamburg: Teldec, 1995. [Includes Veracini: Sonata no. 2 (1716) in G major; Sonata no. 6 (1716) in A minor]
- Masters of the Italian Baroque. Steven Staryk, violin. Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord. LP. Baroque BUS 2874. Baroque Records, . [Includes Veracini: Sonata in E minor.]
- Maurice André Plays Trumpet Concertos. Maurice André, trumpet; Pierre Pierlot, oboe; Orchestre de chambre Jean-François Paillard, Jean François Paillard, cond. (LP) New York, N.Y.: Musical Heritage Society, 1969. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in E minor for violin and continuo, op. 2, no. 8, arranged as a trumpet concerto by Jean Thilde]
- Six Italian Sonatas. Michel Piguet, baroque oboe and recorder; Walther Stiftner, baroque bassoon; Martha Gmünder, harpsichord. Musical Heritage Society MHS 1864 (LP). New York: Musical Heritage Society, 1974. [Includes Veracini: Sonata prima in F major for recorder and harpsichord.] Title from container./ "Recorded by Erato."
- Tetrazzini. Luisa Tetrazzini, soprano; with unidentified orchestras. Recorded between 1909 and 1914, digitally re-recorded from the original 78 rpm discs. CD. Wyastone Leys, Monmouth: Nimbus Records, 1990. [Includes Veracini: "Meco sulla verrai" (Pastorale), from Rosalinda.]
- Veracini, Francesco Maria. 5 ouvertures / Ouvertüren / Overtures. Musica Antiqua Köln; Reinhard Goebel, dir. CD. Archiv Produktion 439 937-2. Hamburg: Deutsche Grammophon, 1994. [Ouvertures No. 1 B-flat major; No. 2 in F major; No. 3 in B-flat major; No. 4 in F major; No. 6 in B-flat major.]
- Veracini, Francesco Maria: Complete Overtures and Concertos, vol. 1. Accademia i Filarmonici; Alberto Martini, conductor. CD. Naxos 8.553412. Munich: Naxos, 1995.
- Veracini, Francesco Maria: Complete Overtures and Concertos, vol. 2 Accademia i Filarmonici; Alberto Martini, conductor. CD. Naxos 8.553413. [Hong Kong]: Naxos, 1999. [Concerto a otto stromenti in D major for violin and orchestra; Overture no. 5 in B-flat major; Concerto a cinque in A major for violin, strings, and continuo; Concerto a cinque in D major for violin strings, and continuo; Aria schiavona in B-flat major for orchestra.]
- Veracini, Francesco Maria. The Complete Sonatas, op. 1. Hyman Bress, violin; Jean Schrick, viola da Gamba; Oliver Alain, harpsichord. 3 LPs. Lyrichord and LLST 7141 (set); LLST 7138, LLST 7139, LLST 7140. Lyrichord;. New York: Lyrichord Records, 1965.
- Veracini, Francesco Maria. Nine Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo. Piero Toso, violin; Gianni Chiampan, violoncello; Edoardo Farina, harpsichord. 2 LPs. Erato 71197. Reissued on Musical Heritage Society MHS 4293, MHS 4294. Tinton Falls, N.J.: Musical Heritage Society, 1978. [Includes Sonatas in G minor, op. 1, no. 1; A major, op. 1, no. 2; B minor, op. 1, no. 3; E minor, op. 1, no. 6; A major, op. 1, no. 7; B-flat major, op. 1, no. 8; D major, op. 1, no. 10; E major, op. 1, no. 11; F major, op. 1, no. 12.] "Licensed from."
- Veracini, Francesco Maria. Six Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord. Giorgio Bernabò, flute; Alan Curtis, harpsichord. CD. Dynamic CDS 114. Genoa: Dynamic Srl, 1994. [Sonatas no. 1, 3, 4, 5, 11, and 12 (1716).]
- Veracini, Francesco Maria. Sonatas. John Holloway, violin; Jaap ter Linden, cello; Lars Ulrik Mortensen, harpsichord. CD. ECM New Series Munich: ECM Records, 2003. [Sonata no. 1 from Sonate a violino solo e basso, op. 1; Sonata no. 5 from Sonate a violino, o flauto solo, e basso (1716); Sonata no. 1 from Dissertazioni—sopra l'opera quinta del Corelli, Sonata no. 6 from Sonate accademiche, op. 2]
- Veracini, Francesco Maria. Sonate accademiche. Fabio Biondi, violin; Maurizio Naddeo, violoncello; Rinaldo Alessandrini, harpsichord; Pascal Monteilhet, theorbo. CD. Paris, France: Opus 111, 1995. OPS 30-138. [Includes Veracini: Sonatas op. 2, nos. 7, 8, 9, and 12]
- Veracini, Francesco Maria: Sonate accademiche. The Locatelli Trio (Elizabeth Wallfisch, violin; Richard Tunnicliffe, violoncello; Paul Nicholson, harpsichord & organ). 3 CDs. Hyperion CDA 66871/3. London: Hyperion Records Ltd., 1995. Reissued 2007, Hyperion CDS44241/3.
- The Virtuose Italienische Blockflötenmusik. Michael Schneider, recorder; Michael McCraw, bassoon; Gerhart Darmstadt, cello; Bradford Tracey, harpsichord. CD. FSM Adagio FCD 91 634 Münster: Fono Schallplattengesellschaft mbH, 1990. [Includes Veracini: Sonata no. 4 in B-flat major (1716).]
- The Virtuoso Harmonica. Adalberto Borioli, harmonica; Mirna Miglioranzi-Borioli, harpsichord. LP. Everest SDBR 3172. Los Angeles, Calif.: Everest, 1967. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in F major]
- The Virtuoso Recorder. Frans Brüggen, recorder; Janny van Wering, harpsichord. LP. Decca DL 710049. New York: Decca, 1962. [Includes Veracini: Sonata in G major (1716)]
- The Virtuoso Violinist. David Nadien, violin; Boris Barere, piano. LP. Kapp KCL 9060. [U.S.]: Kapp Records, 1961 [Includes Veracini: Largo, from Sonate accademiche, no. 6.]
- Burney, Charles. 1789. A General History of Music, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period. To Which Is Prefixed, a Dissertation on the Music of the Ancients. Second edition. 4 vols. London: Printed for the author and sold by T. Becket, J. Robson, and G. Robinson.
- Charlton, David. 1996. "Francesco Maria Veracini"
- Hill, John Walter. 1979. The Life and Works of Francesco Maria Veracini. Studies in Musicology 3. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press.
- Hill, John Walter. 2001. "Veracini, Francesco Maria." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.
- Newman, William S. 1972. The Sonata in the Baroque Era. 3d edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.
- Torchi, Luigi. 1901. La musica istrumentale in Italia nei secoli XVI, XVII e XVIII, con 272 esempi musicali nel testo. Turin: Fratelli Bocca. Facsimile reprint, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1969.
- Free scores by Francesco Maria Veracini at the International Music Score Library Project
- Veracini, Sonate per violino e basso op. I e op. II