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date: 20 January 2020

Tartini, Giuseppelocked

  • Pierluigi Petrobelli


(b Pirano, Istria [now Piran, Istra, Slovenia], April 8, 1692; d Padua, Feb 26, 1770). Italian composer, violinist, teacher and theorist.

Tartini's father Giovanni Antonio, of Florentine origin, was general manager of the salt mills in Pirano. Giuseppe, destined for the church by his pious parents, was to have been first a minore conventuale, a branch of the Franciscan order, and subsequently a full priest. To this end he was educated in his native town and then in nearby Capodistria (now Koper, Slovenia) at the scuole pie; as well as the humanities and rhetoric, he studied the rudiments of music. In 1708 he left his native region, never to live there again, but carrying in his memory the peculiarities of the local musical folklore. He enrolled as a law student at Padua University, where he devoted most of his time, always dressed as a priest, to improving his fencing, a practice in which, according to contemporary accounts, few could compete with him. This account of Tartini's youth has been questioned (see, for instance, Capri), but it is supported by contemporary evidence and is consistent with the later development of his personality, characterized by a fiery and stubborn temperament with a strong tendency towards mysticism. These qualities are equally evident in his writings – both letters and theoretical works – and in his compositions....

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