Tartini, Joseph

, styled by Dr. Burney, “the admirable,” was born in April 1692, at Pirano in the province of Istria. His father having been a great benefactor to the cathedral at Parenzo, was ennobled for his piety. Joseph was intended for the law, but taking up the study of music, among his other pursuits, it prevailed over all the rest in gaining his attachment. In 1710, he was sent to the university of Padua, to study as a civilian; but, before he was twenty, having married without the consent of his parents, they wholly abandoned him. After wandering for some time in search of an asylum, he was received in a convent at Assissi, by a monk to whom he was related. | Here he amused himself by practising the violin, till being accidentally discovered by a Paduan acquaintance, family differences were accommodated, and he settled with his wife at Venice. While he remained there, he heard, ia 1714, the celebrated Veracini, whose performance, excelling every thing he had then heard, excited in his mind a wonderful emulation. He retired the very next day to Ancona, to study the use of the bow with more tranquillity, and attain, if possible, those powers of energy and expression which he had so greatly admired. By diligent study and practice, he acquired such skill and reputation, that iti 1721, he was invited to the place of first violin, and master of the band, in the famous church of St. Antony of Padua. He had also frequent invitations, which he declined, to visit Paris and London By 17i38, he had made many excellent scholars, and formed a school, or method of practice, that was celebrated all over Europe, and increased in fame to the end of his life. In 1744, he is said to have changed his style, from extremely difficult execution, to graceful and expressive; and Pasqualino Bini, one of his besfc scholars, having heard of the change, placed himself afresh under his tuition. This admirable musician, and worthy mail, for such he is represented, died Feb. 26, 1770, to the great regret of the inhabitants of Padua, where he had resided near fifty years; and where he was not only regarded as its chief and most attractive ornament, but as a philosopher, and even a saint, having devoted himself to the service of his patron St Antony of Padua.

The first book of solos by Tartiui, was published at Amsterdam, in 1734, the second at Home, in 1745; and Dr, Burney relates that he possesses the third, sixth, seventh, and ninth of his publications, besides two books printed in England, amounting to upwards of fifty solos, exclusive of manuscripts. His concertos amount to two hundred but a surreptitious copy of two sets having appeared ic- Hoilaud, he would never own them. Of taese, which are yet supposed to be certainly genuine, six were composed in his first manner, and six after 1744, when he had improved his style. But his most celebrated work is his “Traitato di Musica,” or treatise on music, in which, though his system, as to the scientific parr, has since been confuted, he appears as one of the most ingenious theorists of this century. It was published in 1754, in 4to. He published, in 1767, “Dissertazione de‘ principi dell’ Armenia Musicale, | contenuta nel Diatonico genere,” another theoretical work. Tartini was so ambitious of being thought a follower of Corelli’s precepts and principles, that, after his own reputation was in its zenith, he refused to teach any other music to his disciples, till they had studied the opera quinta y or solos of Corelli. His musical character is thus drawn by the very able judge to whose account we have already referred: “Tartini, on a recent examination of his works, seems, to my feelings and conceptions, to have had a larger portion of merit, as a mere instrumental composer, than any other author who flourished during the first fifty or sixty years of the present century. Though he made Corelli his model in the purity of his harmony, and simplicity of his modulation, he greatly surpassed that composer in the fertility and originality of his invention; not only in the subjects of his melodies, but in the truly cantabile manner of treating them. Many of his adagios want nothing but words to be excellent, pathetic, opera songs. His allegros are sometimes difficult; but the passages fairly belong to the instrument for which they were composed, and were suggested by his consummate knowledge of the fingerboard, and powers of the bow. He certainly repeats his passages, a- d adheres to his original motive, or theme, too much for the favourite desultory style of the present times; but it must be allowed that, by his delicate selection and arrangement of notes, his passages are always good; play them quick, or play them slow, they never seem unmeaning or fortuitous. Indeed, as a harmonist, he was, perhaps, more truly scientific than any other composer of his time, in the clearness, character, and precision of his bases; which were never casual, or the effect of habit, or auricular prejudice and expectation, but learned, judicious, and certtin.1


Burney’s Hist. of Music.