A Romantic virtuoso, Bazzini gave the private premiere of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto
Today marks 126 years since the death of the Italian violinist and composer Antonio Bazzini.
Born in Brescia, Italy in 1818, Bazzini showed outstanding promise on the violin from a young age. He learned the violin initially from Faustino Camisani, received encouragement from Niccolò Paganini, and quickly became renowned as a concert violinist.
A period spent in Germany in the first half of the 1840s saw Bazzini win praise from Schumann and Mendelssohn, both as a performer and a composer. Notably, Bazzini gave the first private performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.
In 1864, Bazzini resolved to put a deliberate end to his career as a concert violinist, concluding with a farewell tour of the Netherlands. Following this, he focused more closely on composing. While the earlier part of his output was mostly comprised of showpieces, the latter part included cantatas, sacred music, symphonic poems, and most importantly chamber music.
In 1882 Bazzini was appointed director of the Milan Conservatory, having already taught composition there for a number of years. Some of the most prominent Italian composers of the nineteenth century were among his students, including Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni.
One of Bazzini’s best-known pieces is the virtuosic violin showpiece La ronde des lutins (The Goblins’ Rondo); below you can hear a performance of the piece by VC Artist Christian Li and pianist Timothy Young.