The history behind the name
Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi is one of those special figures in music history. Until recently almost nothing was known about his life. But his music has received much attention, as it belongs to the very best of what was written for the violin in the 17th century. It is only recently that research by the historian Fabrizio Longo has brought to light facts about his life and his acts.
Giovanni was born in 1629 in Montepulciano in Tuscany. Soon the family moved to Venice, where his stepbrother sang as castrato. In the 1650s Pandolfi Mealli, the latter name he took from his stepfather, entered the service of the Princess de’ Medici in Innsbruck. He gave up in 1660, and after that we meet him again in 1669 in which a publication of instrumental pieces was printed in Rome, where mentioned as violinist in the chapel of the cathedral of Messina on Sicily.
He left Messina after an incident in which he killed a castrato singer and fled to Spain. Here he started working as a violinist in the Capilla Real of Madrid.
Historically only three collections of music from his pen are known. The most famous are the twelve sonatas which were published as his opp. 3 and 4 respectively. Nothing is known about an opus 1 or 2. These could have been lost or they have never existed by his choice. He was a musician with a special talent, way of thinking and character.
He died not long after 1679.