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Nardini, Pietro, 1722-1793



  • Existence: April 12, 1722 - May 7, 1793


(b Livorno, 12 April 1722; d Florence, 7 May 1793). Italian violinist and composer. He displayed an early musical talent and received his first lessons in the town of his birth. In 1734 he was accepted as a pupil of Tartini in Padua and soon became his favourite student (according to Leoni and Burney). He then undertook an intensive programme of teaching and giving public and private concerts, for which he often went abroad for long periods. In 1760 he was in Vienna at the wedding festivities of the crown prince; from October 1762 until March 1765 he served at the court in Stuttgart under the direction of Jommelli, returning to his own country only for short visits; in 1765 he went to Brunswick, and in May 1766 he returned to Livorno. Two years later he was appointed solo violinist, and later music director, at the chapel of the court of the Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany in Florence, where he remained until his death. The Florentine orchestra was made up of eminent musicians, including Campioni and Dôthel, who helped raise the musical and cultural level of the town: Nardini, for example, was a close friend of the poet Corilla Olimpica-Maddalena Morelli, and was himself a member of the Arcadia under the name of Terpandro Lacedemone. His one absence from Florence was during Tartini's final illness, when, according to Burney, he cared for the dying maestro with true filial affection and tenderness.

Nardini was famed not only for his orchestral playing but also for his solo performances, which he gave until the 1790s. He performed at the court of Ferdinand III of Bourbons in Naples, in Rome at the Gonzaga residence and in Pisa in the presence of Emperor Joseph II in 1784. His compositions reflect his abilities as a performer. He was noted for his perfect technique, excellent bow control and a superb sound. Leopold Mozart heard him play in 1763 and remarked: ‘The beauty, purity and evenness of his tone and his cantabile cannot be surpassed’. He was particularly famed for his performance of adagio movements, which were more suited to his lyrical rather than dramatic nature. According to Schubert, he managed to move even the most insensitive listeners by the deep emotions expressed so effortlessly and naturally. His compositions, accordingly, combine two traits typical of the Italian style in the 18th century: cantabile and passionate writing in slow movements and fluency in fast ones.

Source: Maria Teresa Dellaborra. ""Nardini, Pietro."" In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed February 16, 2011).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Pietro Nardini, 1760-1790

 File — Box 2, Folder: 4
Scope and Contents From the Collection: The Classical Music Manuscript contains a wide array of score and parts, in both manuscript and printed form, from composers and music educators dating back to the Eighteenth Century. Along with recognizable names such as Domenico Scarlatti, there are many far lesser known composers from the time of Mozart and Beethoven that are represented here in this collection, with rare scores and pedagogical manuals. Not only are the items an interesting glimpse into virtually unknown works, they are a...
Dates: 1760-1790