pure style of playing; and as a composer who materially advanced the progress of composition. Still there can be no doubt that above all he was a great violin-player, and that all he wrote grew out of the very nature of his instrument; and as the violin is not only a solo instrument but at the same time the leading orchestral one, we owe to Corelli the typical treatment of it in two important branches of composition. In his chamber-sonatas and concerti grossi (op. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6) he must be considered the founder of the style of orchestral writing on which the future development in this direction is based, while in the sonatas (op. 5) which have merely an accompanying fundamental bass, he gives a model for the solo sonata, and thereby for all writing for the violin as a solo-instrument.
All his works are characterised by conciseness and lucidity of thought and form, and by a dignified, almost aristocratic bearing. The slow movements show genuine pathos as well as grace, bringing out in a striking manner the singing power of the violin. The quick movements are not on the whole of equal merit with the adagios,—at least in point of originality of thought and variety of character. They appear to our modern feeling somewhat dry, almost exercise-like.
Corelli's gavottes, sarabandes, and other pieces with the form and rhythm of dances, do not materially differ from similar productions of his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, although, like everything that he wrote, they are distinguished by great earnestness and dignity of style, and are especially well adapted to the instrument. He was not so much an innovator as a reformer; he did not introduce new striking effects; it cannot even be denied that his technique was a limited one—he never goes beyond the third position—but, by rigidly excluding everything that appeared to him contrary to the nature of the instrument, and by adopting and using in the best possible way everything in the existing technique which he considered conformable to the nature of the violin, he not only hindered a threatened development in the wrong direction, but also gave to this branch of the art a sound and solid basis, which his successors could and did build upon successfully.
The following are the titles of the original editions of his works:—(1) XII Sonate a tre, due violini e violoncello, col basso per l'organo, op, 1; Roma, 1683. Another edition of this work was published in 1688 at Antwerp; another at Amsterdam. (2) XII Suonate da camera a tre, due violini, violoncello e violone o cembalo, op. 2; Roma, 1685. Two later editions published at Amsterdam. (3) XII Suonate a tre, due violini e arciliuto col basso per l'organo, op. 3; Bologna, 1690; Antwerp, 1681; Amsterdam. (4) XII Suonate da camera a tre, due violini e violone o cembalo, op. 4; Bologna, 1694. Another edition of this work at Amsterdam under the title, Baletti da camera. (5) XII Suonate a violino e violone o cembalo, op. 5; Roma, 1700. The same arranged by Geminiani as Concerti grossi. (6) Concerti grossi con due violini e violoncello di concertino obligati, e due altri violini e basso di concerto grosso ad arbitrio che si potramo radoppiare, op. 6; Roma. 1712. Another edition at Amsterdam. A number of spurious works were published under Corelli's name, but none are genuine except the above six.
[ P. D. ]
CORFE, Joseph, born in 1740 at Salisbury, was one of the choristers at the cathedral there under Dr. John Stephens, organist and master of the boys. In 1782 [App. p.598 "1783"] he was appointed Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. [App. p.598 adds that "he sang in the Handel Commemmoration."] In 1792 he succeeded Robert Parry as organist and master of the choristers of Salisbury Cathedral, which offices he held until 1804. Corfe composed and published a volume of Cathedral [App. p.598 "Church"] Music, consisting of a service and eight [App. p.598 "eleven"] anthems, etc.; three sets of Glees, of twelve each; a Treatise on Singing; a Treatise on Thorough Bass, a work still held in esteem; besides editing a Selection of Sacred Music made by James Harris, and other works. He died in 1820, aged 80.
His son Arthur Thomas, was born at Salisbury, April 9, 1773. In 1783 he became a chorister of Westminster Abbey under Dr. Cooke. He subsequently studied the pianoforte under Muzio Clementi. In 1804, on the resignation of his father, he was appointed organist and master of the children of Salisbury Cathedral. A. T. Corfe produced and published a service and some anthems, several pianoforte pieces, and 'The Principles of Harmony and Thorough Bass.' [App. p.598 "he organised a successful festival at Salisbury on August 19–22, 1828."] He died, whilst kneeling in prayer, Jan. 28, 1863, in the 90th year of his age, and was buried in the cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral, where a tablet was erected to him by his thirteen surviving children, one of whom, Charles William, Mus. Doc., is organist of Christ Church, Oxford [App. p.598 "was, from 1846 to 1883; dates of birth and death, 1814, and Dec. 16, 1883.Another of his sons, John David Corfe, born 1804, was for many years organist of Bristol Cathedral, and died in Jan. 1876. (Dict. of Nat. Biog.)"]
[ W. H. H. ]
[ W. H. H. ]
[ J. M. ]