Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Monday, September 10

Marco Uccellini

Synopsis

The average music lover, if asked to name some notable Baroque composers, will probably answer Bach, Handel, Telemann or Vivaldi. But decades before most of those composers flourished, a number of bold pioneers of the early Baroque period were busily developing new musical forms and techniques.

Like most composers born before 1700, details about their lives and careers tend to be skimpy at best. Take the case of the Italian composer Marco Uccellini, who was born somewhere in Italy around 1603, and died on today’s date in 1680.

We know (from a little bird) that Uccellini studied in Assisi, and was active in the service of Italian noble families in Modena and Parma. We know he composed operas and ballets for them, but none of that music survives. Uccellini’s lasting claim to fame rests of a series of instrumental works, mainly sonatas for violin, which were published during his lifetime.

The British violinist Andrew Manze, one of the great virtuosos of our day, has recorded some of Uccelini’s Sonatas, and offers this assessment: “Uccellini’s pioneering spirit led him to seek new colors, explore strange keys, and to boldly go higher than any violinist had gone before. His (high) G’’’ was a world record that stood until the Austrian composer Heinrich von Biber squeaked a tone higher in a Violin Sonata published the year after Uccellini’s death in 1680.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Marco Uccellini (1603 – 1680) Aria IX and Corrente XX Romanesca Harmonia Mundi 90.7196

Additional Information

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