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Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello

born: c1690
died: 4 October 1758
country: Italy

Relatively little is known about Brescianello’s early life. He is understood to have been born in Bologna but the earliest documentary evidence concerning his whereabouts finds him in Venice (1714) working as a valet for Therese Kunegunde Sobieska, the music-loving exiled Electress of Bavaria. Once activities at the Bavarian court resumed following the Treaty of Baden at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, the Electress wrote to her husband the Elector Maximilian II Emanuel, proposing that he should employ Vivaldi as his Kapellmeister. Although Theresa’s request was refused on grounds of cost, she did manage to return with Brescianello who, on arrival in Munich was awarded a post as a violinist in the Bavarian Hofkapelle.

It wasn’t long before Brescianello was on the move again. Following the death in 1716 of Johann Christoph Pez, Oberkapellmeister of the Württemberg court (in Stuttgart), Brescianello successfully applied for the post of Director musices. Even though his initial brief was to take charge of the court’s chamber music, Brescianello, perhaps with one eye on the post of Oberkapellmesiter, decided to dedicate his ‘opera pastorale’ Tisbe to Duke Eberhard Ludwig in January 1718; he eventually succeeded to his preferred position in 1721. Although Brescianello’s fortunes ebbed and flowed in tandem with those of the court (he lost his post completely between 1737 and 1744), he remained in nearby Ludwigsburg until his death in 1758.

He was not a prolific composer by the standards of Telemann or Vivaldi, but his surviving output is of an exceedingly high quality. It is surprising that the Opus 1 was to be his only published set of works as further collections such as this would surely have spread news of his talent far and wide.

from notes by Adrian Chandler © 2023


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