Biography of Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1750)

Italian composer born in Venice from June 14, 1671, and died in the same city January 17, 1751.


Son of a wealthy merchant of paper, Albinoni was introduced in music at an early age through the lessons of violin and singing which, it is believed, received of Legrenzi. In 1705 he/she married the soprano Margherita Rimondi, "La Salarina", with whom he/she had six children. Until 1709 - date that died its father - Tomaso Albinoni was devoted to music as a mere amateur or, in his own words, "dilettante", a term filled with negative connotations in the Italy of the 18th century. From the mentioned year, Albinoni was devoted entirely to music, while the tradition of the time forced the eldest son to devote himself to the family business after the death of the father.

In 1722 he/she made a trip to Munich invited by the Elector Maximiliano Emanuel II to supervise trials of its operas I veri amici and Il win dell´amore, both represented on the occasion of the wedding of the Prince elector Karl Albert with the Princess María Amalia.

He composed his first opera, Zenobia, regina de Palmireni, in 1694, and saw her first performed that same year in the Teatro San Giovanni e San Paolo in his hometown. From 1702 he/she managed to release his works in various Italian cities besides Venice. Thus, his opera Rodrigo in Algeri is represented in Naples in 1702 and his two works Griselda and Aminta in Florence in 1703.

His name was related to figures of the nobility as the cardinal Pietro Oltoboni, who dedicated his Op. 1, and Fernando III, Grand Prince of Tuscany, recipient of the Op. 3, among others. In 1741 he/she stopped composing, and his health deteriorated until he/she died ten years later.


Albinoni was a prolific composer: wrote 50 operas, 40 cantatas for voice solo and 79 sonatas for various instruments, as well as 59 concerts for instrument soloist and Orchestra and 8 symphonies.In his time it enjoyed as much popularity as Vivaldi and Corelli and up to j. S. Bach used themes of his Op. 1 for four of their leakage to keyboard.

His works include the first concertos for oboe op. 7, published in 1715 in Amsterdam. They are the first concertos for this instrument written by an Italian composer. The numbers 3, 6, 9, 12 are for an oboe and Orchestra and the numbers 2, 5, 8 and 11 are for two oboes. They are written in three movements quick-Rapido-lento, near the ritornello form and therein Albinoni has in mind the characteristics of the instrument solo, unlike Vivaldi, who wrote for oboe, using language similar to that developed in his works for violin.

But without doubt the most famous work of Albinoni is its Adagio, which paradoxically only composed bass line and six measures of melody. The manuscript containing this fragment was found by Giazotto Reno in the State Library in Dresden (Germany) in the year 1945. Giazotto was a specialist in Albinoni and it was he/she who completed the work with the accompaniment of organ, considering that Albinoni had conceived it to interpret it in the Church.

Albinoni. Adagio, fragment.

Selected discography

12 Concerti op. 10. Performers: I Solisti Veneti. Director: Claudio Scimone. Elektra/Asylum 18943. Adagio (+ Pachelbel's canon). Performers: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4293902. Oboe concertos. Cast: Heinz Holliger/Hans Elhorst. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4395092.


BUKOFZER, M. music in the Baroque era. From Monteverdi to Bach, Madrid: Alianza, 1991.

TALBOT, Michael. Tomaso Albinoni: the Venetian composer and his world. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1995.