Padova 1657 ca. – Bergamo 1716

Giovanni Battista Bassani

Composer, violinist and organist, Giovanni Battista Bassani had the chance to study with some of the most celebrated musicians of his own time: under Daniele Castrovillari in Venice (Opera), under Giovanni Legrenzi (composition) in Ferrara and under Giovanni Battista Vitali (violin). He became organist and Maestro di Cappella at the Accademia della Morte (Academy of Death), in Ferrara where Bassani, who was born in Padua, resided from at least 1667 on and where he published his first music ten years later. This organization was part of the brotherhood of the same name, one of the city’s most prominent religious institutions. The mission of the Brotherhood of Death was compassion for society’s lowest members, for example by comforting those condemned to death, and taking care of burial rites for them and for abandoned corpses. In 1712 he went to Bergamo, where he taught music and became director of music at S. Maria Maggiore since his death in 1716. Bassani wrote various sacred works for use at Ferrara Cathedral (Johann Sebastian Bach copied Bassani’s six masses): at least 20 motets, various sacred solo vocal works and choral works, 76 services, most with four solo voices, chorus, and basso continuo and
13 Oratorios (only four survive). He also wrote various Operas which have been totally lost aside from a few arias from Gli amori alla moda (Ferarra 1688), madrigals, cantatas and instrumental works. Giovanni Battista Bassani was a celebrated violinist in his own time: his 16 trio sonatas are his best-known and most often performed pieces today.

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