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date: 22 October 2019

Pedrini, Teodorico locked

  • Joyce Lindorff

Extract

(b Fermo, June 30, 1671; d Beijing, Dec 10, 1746). Italian composer, theorist and instrument maker . He was the first Lazarist missionary to settle in China, and contributed to the cultural exchange between China and the West during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. He was educated in Rome and arrived in China in 1711 after an arduous nine-year journey. There he succeeded the Portuguese Jesuit Tomás Pereira as court musician to Emperor Kangxi. Pedrini remained in China until his death, working closely with the emperor and simultaneously fulfilling his religious life and missionary goals. Life in the Chinese court was politically complex, and Pedrini was deeply involved in intrigues between the emperor, the Jesuits and Rome during the Rites controversy. Despite earning Kangxi’s esteem, he was twice imprisoned by the emperor.

There were many harpsichords at the Chinese court, gifts from foreign visitors, and there is evidence that Pedrini himself built instruments in China. His musical abilities were highly regarded by the emperor, who declared Pedrini’s lack of the Chinese language to be unimportant, since ‘harpsichords are tuned with the hands, and not with the tongue’. Pedrini’s op.3 sonatas (MS, Beijing National Library; the title-page bears the anagrammatic name ‘Nepridi’) are his only known extant compositions; they are strongly influenced by (and include several quotations from) Corelli’s op.5 set, to which they pay homage in the style, number, structure and types of movements. Pedrini also completed the fifth volume of ...

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