Giovanni Battista Somis

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Giovanni Battista Somis

Giovanni Battista Somis (December 25, 1686 – August 14, 1763) was an Italian violinist and composer of the Baroque music era.

He studied under Arcangelo Corelli between 1703 and 1706 or 1707.[1] He was later appointed solo violinist to the king at Turin and leader of the royal band, and seems scarcely ever to have left Turin after these appointments.

A trip to Paris in 1731 to play at the Concert Spirituel produced a report in the April 1733 Le Mercure praising his playing.[2]

He published eight opus numbers in all:

  • Opus 1 - 12 sonatas for violin and figured bass (1717 Amsterdam, published by J. Roger) [3]
  • Opus 2 - 12 sonatas for violin and figured bass (1723 Turin)
  • Opus 3 - 12 sonatas for violin and figured bass (1725 Turin) [1]
  • Opus 4 - 12 sonatas for violin and figured bass (1726 Paris)
  • Opus 5 - 6 trio sonatas for two violins and figured bass (1733 Paris, published by Boisvin) [3]
  • Opus 6 - 12 sonatas for violin and figured bass (1734 Paris)
  • Opus 7 - "Ideali trattimenti da camera" for two violins, two flutes or violes (1750 Paris)
  • Opus 8 - 6 trio sonatas

He formed a style more brilliant and more emotional, and caused a decided step forward in the art of violin playing. He was the teacher of Jean-Marie Leclair,[4] Felice Giardini, Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, and Chabran,[5] as well as Gaetano Pugnani, and he forms a connecting link between the classical schools of Italy and France. He died in Turin.


  1. ^ a b Somis, Giovanni Battista (1998). Sonatas for violin and basso continuo, opus 3, modern edition. Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, Inc. pp. ix, xiii. ISBN 0-89579-422-5.
  2. ^ Silvela, Zdenko (2001). A new history of violin playing : the vibrato and Lambert Massart's revolutionary discovery. USA: Universal Publishers. p. 49. ISBN 1-58112-667-0.
  3. ^ a b "Netherlands National Library OPAC". Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  4. ^ Borowitz, Albert (1986). "Finale Marked Presto: The Killing of Leclair". The Musical Quarterly. Oxford University Press. 72 (2): 228–238. doi:10.1093/mq/LXXII.2.228. ISSN 0027-4631. JSTOR 948121.
  5. ^ Silvela, Zdenko. op. cit. pp. 48-9, 66.

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