The Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli was the first European composer who was recognized for his instrumental works, and was also the one who established genres such as the sonata and the concerto grosso. His works were of major importance for the development of chamber music and orchestral music. Composers such as Vivaldi, Geminiani and Telemann revised Corelli’s works or imitated his style. The virtuosic style of playing that Corelli taught to his pupils was of vital importance for the development of violin playing, and formed the foundation of the violin technique until the 19th century.
Although Corelli was famous during his lifetime, only little is known about his life. The available information consists primarily of a wealth of legends and anecdotes for which no reliable evidence can be found. It is known that Corelli studied in Bologna, and worked in Rome around 1675, where he played in various ensembles, led the orchestras of his patrons and performed as a soloist at the house concerts of the aristocracy.
Corelli’s oeuvre comprises solely of instrumental works, amongst them concerti grossi, chamber sonatas and church sonatas, published in sets of twelve. Currently his compositions are not as popular as during his lifetime, but there are still some works that are loved by the audience, like the so-called Christmas Concerto from his 12 Concerti Grossi op.6.