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Composer: Ivan Mane Jarnović (1747-1804)
Work: Premier concerto à violon principal (1773)
Performers: Tonko Ninić (violin); Zagreb soloists;
Drawing: John Soane RA (1753-1837) - Design for a New House of Lords plan (insert) and perspective (1794)
Image in high resolution: https://flic.kr/p/2k8a7gx
Further info: https://www.discogs.com/es/I-M-Jarnovi%C4%87-A-Sorko%C4%8Devi%C4%87-L-Sorko%C4%8Devi%C4%87-Dubrovnik-Gala/release/3861569
Listen free: https://open.spotify.com/album/0v5p6aziNhjsR6rOsuHgGg
Ivan (Giovanni) Mane Jarnović [Giornovichi, Jarnovicki, Jarnowick]
(Palermo, 26 October 1747 - St Petersburg, 23 November 1804)
Italian violinist and composer, possibly of Croatian descent. An early but unsupported tradition holds that he was a pupil of Lolli. The first certain fact of his career is his arrival in Paris in 1770. His public début three years later (25 March 1773) at the Concert Spirituel was so successful that he quickly became the city’s favourite violinist, and the publication of his concertos began shortly thereafter. This success was soon followed by stories about his scandalous and quarrelsome behaviour. He gave frequent public performances until 1777, when he probably became leader of the orchestra for Prince Rohan-Guémémee. In 1779 he suddenly left Paris, reportedly under questionable circumstances. After appearing in Frankfurt he went to Berlin where he was appointed leader of the orchestra to the Crown Prince of Prussia late in 1779. Less than three years later he left because of quarrels with the cellist Duport. He played in Warsaw in September 1782 and early the next year went to St Petersburg where he entered the service of Catherine II. His departure from St Petersburg after some four years seems to have been amicable. In 1786 he went to Vienna and made an excellent impression on such discerning artists as Dittersdorf, Leopold Mozart and Gyrowetz. He was in Moscow in April 1789. Early in 1791 he began to play regularly in London. He was repeatedly successful at Salomon’s Hanover Square series and took part in Haydn’s first benefit concert (16 May). He also played in Ireland and Edinburgh, and most of the 1792 season he spent in Bath. In 1793 Viotti displaced him as the featured violinist at Hanover Square, but Giornovichi continued to play in the rival Professional Concert. Once again his personality created difficulties. Parke reported that he behaved arrogantly to royalty at the Duke of York’s house, and Gerber that he nearly provoked a duel with J.B. Cramer. Towards the end of 1796 he left London. For the next six years he reportedly lived in Hamburg, more active as a billiard player than as a violinist. His musical powers evidently did not decline, however, for in March 1802 he gave a successful concert in Berlin. The following autumn he played in St Petersburg, where he was once again given a place in the court orchestra, probably as leader. He held the position until he died of a stroke apparently suffered during a game of billiards. He was honoured with an elaborate funeral.
Giornovichi’s most important compositions are his violin concertos, which evidently reflect his performing style. Simple in texture and harmony, clear in structure, and charming but limited in expression, they epitomize the later stages of the galant style. None is in a minor key. They contain none of the drama, none of the breadth of passage-work, and little of the symphonic character that Viotti brought to the violin concerto. Giornovichi’s later concertos, although probably written in the 1780s or early 90s, show only slight advance over the early examples. Within the limitations of his style, however, he had skill, taste and a degree of imagination. He did much to stabilize certain typical aspects of the French violin concerto in the 1770s: he was a pioneer in the use of the romance, which quickly became the most characteristic type of slow movement, and he was influential in establishing the rondo as a finale. His first movements reflect the conventions of Classical sonata form more firmly and consistently than those of his contemporaries in the 1770s, excepting only Mozart. His concertos did not demand extraordinary technique for their time; despite brilliance, they emphasized elegance, sentiment and order. Giornovichi’s concertos achieved considerable popularity, some appearing in as many as six editions. They continued to be issued even after Viotti had replaced him in the 1780s as the most popular violin composer. By the time of his death, however, Giornovichi’s works were distinctly old-fashioned. Later Romantics, from E.T.A. Hoffmann onwards, centred their interest on his eccentric personality, which has served several times as the basis for fiction.