Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students

A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
February 1
Can You Guess?  We read of Caruso's being paid $4000 for 10 songs in 1904. Can You Guess what that would translate to in today's money?  Hint, it is MUCH more expensive to live now?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer
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What Else
Happened
Today?
1671 - Francesco Stradivari, violin craftsman--son of Antonio, was born in Cremona.

1827 - Premiere of Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in Stettin. Karl Loewe conducting.

1859 - Victor Herbert, Irish-American cellist and composer, was born in Dublin.

1862 - The Battle Hymn of the Republic was first published in the magazine Atlantic Monthly.

1896 - Premiere of Puccini's opera La Boheme, Toscanini conducting, in Turin.

1904 - Enrico Caruso records his first music for Victor Records. For ten songs he was paid $4,000.(This link is a great one to follow even if you have no interest in buying an album.  Listen to the samples and compare the sound quality to today's CD's.  The music is great, but the sound quality is primitive.  This is a great CD for a tie-in to a talk about ancestors.)

1907 - Birth of Brazilian composer and conductor Mozart Camargo Guarnieri in Tiete.

1953 - Premiere of Dimitri Kabalevsky's Piano Concerto #3. Composer conducting in Moscow.

1964 - She Loves You, by the Beatles, was released.

1975 - Lady Marmalade, by Patti Labelle, was released.
Francesco Maria Veracini
1690-1768
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Francesco Maria Veracini's Music
Francesco Maria Veracini was born February 1, 1690 in Florence, Italy.  His grandfather was one of the first violinists in Italy, but his father was not  a musician.  Francesco's uncle Antonio Veracini, a violinist and composer who provided his early  musical training. He also received instruction from the organist and composer of sacred music at the Florence cathedral, Giovanni Maria Casini and his assistant Francesco Feroci.
Violinist Composer Francesco Maria Veracini
Francesco and his uncle often performed in public together. Giovanni Maria  Casini wrote, "together playing their violins: the one old and satiated with honours, the  other young and desirous of demonstrating the facility with which he overcame, with aplomb, every difficult obstacle of notes. It was marvelous for all to hear them, because the heart,
rather than cleverness, guided and accompanied the finger and bow of these virtuosi."
By age 18 Francesco was already composing, and he had an aria published in a collection whose contributors included Scarlatti, Orlandini, Casini, Gasparini, Caldara, Mancini and Bitti.

In 1711, Francesco left Florence for Venice.  By Christmas of that year he had already made an impression on the city's musci community, and was a soloist at St. Mark's there.

There is a legend that during his stay in Venice the violin virtuoso Tartini attended a performance Francesco gave.  It is said that he was so amazed by Francesco's use of the bow (and so mortified that he could not do the same things) that Tartini and his wife immediately left Florence.  He left his wife with his brother, and then locked himself up in a room to "study the better use of the bow and thus bring himself up to an equal  level with the above-said Veracini."
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Did You Guess?
At that time sirloin cost 14 cents per pound.  I just read an ad for Angus sirloin at $4.99 per pound.  If we use that ratio, Caruso would have been paid $142,571.43 for a ten song recording session.
In 1714 Francesco was in London, where he performed numerous concerts, at least one of which included original music he had written.  It is said that at least some in London were completely amazed at his skill and technique
Back in Venice in 1716, Francesco wrote a set of Violin Sonatas which he dedicated to Prince Friedrich August, son of the elector of Saxony. In 1721 Veracini wrote another set of Violin Sonatas dedicated to the Prince.

It was said that Francesco was extremely arrogant, and hot tempered.  In 1722 he was involved in a quarrel with composer Johann David Heinichen and the singer Senesino, which concluded with Veracini leaping out of a third story window. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

Veracini returned to Florence and spent the period 1723-1733 re-establishing his  reputation as a performer and composer. Most of his music at that time consisted of music written for the church.  In 1733 he returned to London.  He became so well-known there at that time that one writer said, "There was no concert now without a solo on the violin by Veracini." It was also said that, "the peculiarities of his performance were his bow hand, his shake, his learned arpeggios, and a tone so loud and clear, that it could be distinctly heard through the numerous band of church and theatre." He was considered one of the Europe's finest violin virtuosi.

After surviving a shipwreck on the English Channel, he returned to Florence, where he was appointed Kapellmeister of the chuches 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 on October 31, 1768.   His obituary stated, "Sig Francesco Veracini, Florentine Citizen, famous throughout Europe for his  astonishing manner of playing the violin and of composing music, lived 79 (78) years and died on the 31st (of the) past (month) with Catholic sentiments, having made a
pious and generous testament: he acquired, beyond the mountains, a reputation as  a player that no one, perhaps, has equalled: distinctions (were awarded him) attesting
that he was esteemed everywhere the voice of his instrument was heard: in England  he was applauded extraordinarily and he acquired not a little wealth in Dresden and in other parts of Europe, until (having) returned to his Homeland, he dedicated himself  to writing various musical compositions, which showed, in his old age, those talents  which were his in his youth."


In addition to Violin Sonatas, operas and oratorios, Veracini wrote Violin Concertos, sonatas for recorder and basso continuo, and orchestral suites, called Overtures. He also wrote a treatise on counterpoint, He also edited other composers' works, adding 'improvements' of his own, such as he did with the Opus 5 Violin Sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli
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