Viotti and the Chinnerys: A Relationship Charted through Letters

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Overview

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 à 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 Staël and the Philharmonic Society.

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.

Author Biography: 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.

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