The Italian violinist and composer Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755-1824) is considered today to have been one of the most significant forces in the history of violin playing. In 1792 he met Margaret and William Chinnery, a wealthy English couple with strong connections in the world of arts and letters. From that point onwards Viotti's life became inextricably bound up with theirs; he moved into their home and became a second father to their children, forming a remarkably successful ménage Ã trois. Henceforth, all Viotti's career decisions were taken with this family's welfare in mind. The Chinnery Family Papers feature over 100 Viotti letters and other documents. Drawing extensively on these papers, this book investigates the new light that they cast on Viotti's life and career, as well as the context in which he lived and worked. Fresh insights are given into the reception of Viotti's concertos in London and the solo performances he gave while in England, together with new information on his role as a music teacher in the Chinnery household, and his relationship with Mme de StaÃ«l and the Philharmonic Society.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Before Paris; Paris, 1782-92; London, 1793; Letters from the Continent, 1793; The Hanover Square concerts, 1794; Letters from Bath, 1794; The opera concert and Chinnery concerts, 1795; Last solo performances and exile, 1796-98; Paris, 1802; Music at Gillwell, 1801-07; Gillwell, London, Oxford, Brighton, 1808-11; At Charles Street, 1812-14; Paris, 1814; The Philharmonic Society, 1813-14; Between London and the Continent, 1815-18; Paris, 1819-20; Paris, 1821; Viotti's final years, 1822-24; After Viotti's death; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
Denise Yim received her doctorate from the University of Sydney in 2000. Since 1993 she has been engaged in research, cataloguing the two Chinnery collections held at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and at the University of Sydney Library, and preparing guides to these collections.
'[the book portrays] the status, foibles and emotions of one of music's most influential musicians... It is a scholarly representation with precise footnotes, but the text is not academically overbearing.' Early Music News ’It is to Yim's credit that she has not only woven together a fascinating account of Viotti's life from the puzzle pieces of the Chinnery collection (which are in some areas only partially preserved) but that she has succeeded in bringing Viotti's character and personality to life with imagination and impeccable scholarship. The book charters hitherto unexplored territory with care for and love of detail and adds significantly to the understanding of the history of violin playing. Viotti's admirers (among whom one can count none less than Johannes Brahms) should be particularly grateful for this work.’ Musicology Australia