9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Nicola Haym (1678-1729), Composer and Editor of Instrumental Works

Lowell Lindgren

Nicola Haym, who ‘wore many hats’ during his career, was born at Rome, moved to London at the age of 23, and died there at 51. From 1706 onwards, he was acclaimed in London for accomplishments in four realms: adaptations of operas (most notably Bononcini’s Camilla and Scarlatti’s Pirro e Demetrio), arrangements of librettos (e.g., for Handel Teseo, Ottone and Giulio Cesare), drawings and descriptions of medals from eighteen private collections in The British Treasury, and a bibliography of Italian books. The History of Music that he completed just before his death is apparently lost.

Before he began any of the above-named endeavours, he published two volumes of Sonate a tre (1703-4), each of which contains twelve works. Pre-dating them are his two sonatas for violoncello, the instrument that he played professionally. Perhaps post-dating the trios are his four sonatas for violin and continuo. While composing his trios, he edited Corelli’s trio sonatas (Opp. 1-4), then brashly sold them to two publishers, according to the fiery claims and counter-claims printed in London newspapers.

The author will report upon his discovery of the two sonatas for violoncello, describe Haym’s style in all of his instrumental works, then compare it with that of his contemporaries. This comparison will focus upon Corelli, with whom Haym must have played in Rome and whose works he obviously treasured.

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Last updated on 22 March 2000 by Yo Tomita