Arcangelo Corelli was a violinist and composer of the Baroque era, born in 1653. He was active in Italy from an early age, and did much to enhance the prominence of the violin. Wikipedia also reports that his work was instrumental in formalizing the sonata form, and in bringing harmony to violin music.
It seems likely that one reason he achieved such prominence was his presence in aristocratic circles for much of his life. That’s not to say his musical genius is in question – he was admitted into the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna at the age of 17. Corelli’s legacy in composition for the violin is indeed rich, including direct influence on the music of Bach. Interestingly, he generally refused to write music reaching into the upper registers for which the violin is most famous; he rarely included notes that require shifting beyond the first position on the E string.
Suzuki Book Six opens with a piece by Corelli called La Folia. It’s truly beautiful, and somewhat melancholy. La Folia is a theme and variations style composition included in Opus 5, a set of 12 sonatas composed in 1700 – the passage comes from the final sonata of the set. I’m well over a year away from even thinking about playing this piece, but it’s fun to imagine trying! The version I’ve linked to here is 20th century violin legend Nathan Milstein’s. Milstein takes it a bit more slowly than others I’ve heard.
Thanks for reading.