Fabio Biondi is Italy's leading period instrument and Baroque violinist and is one of the leading European violinists. He began violin lessons with Salvatore Cicerto at the age of five in his native Palermo. At the age of 12 he appeared as a concerto soloist with the Italian Radio (RAI) Symphony Orchestra in several concerts. At that time, he played modern violin, but in his early teens he began to take an interest in period instruments and performing styles and began to play Baroque and Classical violin as well as the modern instrument. (The distinction between these types of string instruments is how they are set up, as in what kinds of strings, bridges, and bows are used, for instance.) In the 1970s, when Biondi was polishing his technique, period instrument performance flourished in Europe and America, although Italy was not at the forefront. He studied at the Conservatory of Rome with Mauro Loguercio, winning first prize in violin in 1981. By then Biondi had already began establishing himself as a Baroque violinist, having made his first appearance in that capacity in a concert at the Musikverein in Vienna at the age of 16. After graduation, he formed a string quartet, the Stendahl Quartet, which gave concerts from the quartet repertory from the Classical through contemporary times. What set the Stendahl Quartet apart was that any work it performed was always played on instruments appropriate to the period and in a stylistically informed manner. Several Italian composers composed for the quartet. Biondi worked during the 1980s with several of the leading original instrument ensembles of the continent, including Hesperion XX, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Musica Antiqua of Vienna, the Clemencic Consort, the Chapelle Royale, and the Camerata di Lugano. He recorded the earliest violin concertos, those by such Italian masters as Veracini, Locatelli, and Tartini. In 1989, he founded Europa Galante, Italy's first dedicated Baroque original instruments orchestra. Since then, he has served as its conductor and music director, as well as solo violinist. Where appropriate, he conducts from the violin, as was often done during the era. Biondi and Europa Galante have often appeared at major international music festivals, and the ensemble has functioned as the orchestra in several productions of Baroque opera. These include the modern premiere of the opera Poro by Handel, and in the oratorios La Maddelena and Humanità e Lucifero by Alessandro Scarlatti and La Passione di Gèsu Cristo by Caldara. He has led Europa Galante in opera productions at Monte Carlo, the St. Cecilia Academy in Rome, the Baroque Music Center in Versailles, the Nice Opera, and Wigmore Hall in London. He often guest conducts with standard orchestras, which include the Radio France Philharmonic, the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra, and chamber and period orchestras including the Collegium Orchestra of New York, the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. Biondi has won numerous recording prizes, including the Diapason d'Or of the Year, the Priz Cini of Italy, the ffff de Telérama, and Choc de Musique. His widely acclaimed recording with Europa Galante of Vivaldi's Four Seasons was named Disc of the Year by organizations in Canada, Sweden, France, Spain, and Finland. He is an exclusive artist for Virgin Classics, with efforts including Violon X (2009) and Vivaldi: Ercole (2011). In 2005, Biondi was named the artistic director of Baroque music for the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.
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Volledige opera's - Verschenen op 1 september 2017 | Glossa
Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4 étoiles de Classica
No opera from Handel is as enigmatic as Silla. This fourth London opera was composed in 1713; and that’s as far as our knowledge goes! The written music scores are incomplete and we have no information about any contemporary performance. The first Handel experts tried to find an explanation and agreed upon the theory that Silla was written for a private show in the household of the Count of Burlington, who was at the time the composer’s patron. Then, in 1969, the discovery of a glossary from June 1713 established a possible date of the first performance. The inclusion of an extravagant work dedicated to the Duke d’Aumont, a recently appointed French ambassador, suggests the possibility of a show organized by or for the Duke. That could explain not only the absence of an English translation in the glossary, which is unique about Handel’s London operas, but also the relative brevity of the work.However, some problems remain unresolved. D’Aumont was a leading figure in the London life, and it seems rather unlikely that such an initiative would be ignored by the London press or forgotten by D’Aumont in his own writings. Was Silla played in 1713? As of yet, we can’t say for sure. There are further questions regarding the opera itself, in particular the choice of subject. This is indeed one of the rare historical operas from Handel concerned with Lucius Cornelius Silla’s end of life related by Plutarch; having seized Rome, this consul-come-tyran had his adversaries killed before retiring in a way as sudden as it was incredible in his country house to focus on his hobbies. It’s hard to imagine that this thread could fit an opera probably thought as a commemorative piece of an event of some sort: experts have been struggling to find answers and some have tried to discover an allegorical context. Apart from the theme, the quality and the meaning of the book have also been vehemently criticized. It’s significantly based on Italian cantatas from the composer’s youth and it’s interesting to notice that, as far as the style is concerned, the music goes back to a certain extent to his previous historical opera, Agrippina.Although the absurdities from its book make it an unlikely candidate to find a place in the great operatic repertoire, Silla contains enough musical beauties. Let’s also remember that Handel was holding his work in enough regard to recycle a considerable part of it into his next opera, Amadigi di Gaula. © SM/Qobuz
Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 17 mei 2019 | Glossa
In the course of his illustrious career, Fabio Biondi has nurtured a remarkable empathy with Italian music from across many centuries, but strikingly so with the early Baroque violin sonata repertory, the development of which was dramatically propelled into the future by Arcangelo Corelli with his Op 5 collection. It is this empathy possessed by Biondi which has inspired the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome (from its bowed instrument collection) to make him a loan of the precious 1690 “Tuscan” violin made by Antonio Stradivari, for this Glossa recording. Another skill possessed by Biondi is his deft assemblage of programmes, whether for concert or for recordings, and this new release of early eighteenthcentury violin works touches on the impact that Corelli’s music had on music-making in Dresden, Venice, Padua, London and Amsterdam, to name just a few of the destinations affected as the fame of “Arcangelo Bolognese” fanned out from Rome across Europe. With a continuo team from his Europa Galante ensemble (Antonio Fantinuoli, cello, Giangiacomo Pinardi, theorbo and Paola Poncet, harpsichord), Biondi plays sonatas by Vivaldi, Corelli, Geminiani, Tartini and Locatelli, and a Ciaccona by Veracini. Recorded in Rome, on an instrument which was originally made for the Florentine court of Ferdinando de’ Medici (and which, over time, has survived all manner of vicissitudes on its journey to Rome!), Fabio Biondi expertly captures the flavour of the eighteenth-century violin sonata. © Glossa
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 januari 2009 | Arcana
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