Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/83

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HIS LIFE

Giovanni Bononcini, whose premature death cut short a career rich with promise.[1] Brought up with an almost paternal affection by one of the first masters of that epoch, one of the few who had preserved the cult and the science of the past, Giampaolo Colonna, organist of St. Pietronio at Bologna, he had benefited early in life by a high princely, even Imperial,[2] protection. More precocious even than Handel, he published his first works at the age of thirteen, was member of the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna at fourteen, and master of the Chapel at fifteen. His first works were instrumental. This was his speciality, having inherited his gift from his father.[3] He only reached the Opera after having tried all the other styles. It was not with him a natural calling. He was a born

  1. Gianmaria Bononcini was Chapel-Master of the Cathedral of Modena, and attached to the service of Duke Francis II. A fine violinist, author of instrumental sonatas in suites, to which Mr. Torchi and Sir Hubert Parry attribute great historical importance. He had a reflective spirit, and dedicated in 1673 to the Emperor Leopold I a treatise on Harmony and Counterpoint, entitled Musico Practico, which was afterwards reprinted. He died in 1678, less than forty years old.
  2. Several of his early works are dedicated to Francis II of Modena, and his 8th opus, Duetti da Camera, 1691, is dedicated to the Emperor Leopold I, who caused him to be engaged for the Court Chapel.
  3. He was a celebrated violoncellist.