Giovanni Battista Bononcini (July 18, 1672 – July 9, 1750) was an Italian Baroque composer and cellist, who came from a family of musicians. His father, Giovanni Maria Bononcini, was a violinist and composer of cantatas, madrigals, and trios, the latter of which influenced composers such as Arcangelo Corelli especially with his trio sonanats, op. 1-4. Giovanni Maria Bononcini also wrote a musical treatise entitled "Musico prattico" which was studied by theorists such as J.G. Walther and Johann Mattheson, and was made available to his talented son. Giovanni Battista Bononcini coupled the lyrical qualities of the cello with the beautiful singing tones of the violin to create notable instrumental works—"XII Sonatas for the Chamber" is a remarkable example—as well as exciting operas. He illustrated concepts of reconciliation and peace by creating harmony and cooperation within his compositions.
Giovanni Battista Bononcini was born in Modena and was the eldest of three sons to Giovanni Maria Bononcini. Bononcini's primary instrument was the cello, which he mastered at an early age. His earliest published compositions (in 1685 at Bologna) were for this instrument.
Bononcini used his experience as a string player performing in orchestras and ensembles as a foundation for writing sinfonies, oratorios, and mass settings with one mass written for two choirs, with a particular attention to melodic lyricism. Sensing that art is a compilation of music and drama, Bononcini worked with poets to create serenatas, oratorios, and operas. His triumph was the opera, "Il trionfo di Camilla," which became so well known that it was produced in England with a translated libretto.
Bononcini was invited to the court of Leopold I in Vienna as a musician and became close to the heir to the throne, Joseph. When Joseph ascended the throne, Bononcini was elevated in his musical position and enjoyed the ability to produce and direct his musical works. When the Emperor Joseph I died, Bononcini traveled to London and was warmly received. His opera "Astarto" was written in London and became so popular that it outshone Handel's operas. Bononcini traveled extensively and brought his music to Lisbon, Paris, Vienna and back to London. He left after charges of plagiarism were proven against him, and died in poverty in Vienna.
Bononcini's works include a number of operas, masses, and a funeral anthem for the Duke of Marlborough. He was for a time 'maestro di cappella' at San Giovanni in Monte. One of his operas was Serse, later adapted by George Frideric Handel. His younger brother, Antonio Maria Bononcini, was also a composer.
All links retrieved June 22, 2017.
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