Tomaso Antonio Vitali

Tomaso Antonio Vitali

1663 - 1745



Tomaso Antonio Vitali (March 7, 1663-May 9, 1745) was an Italian composer and violinist from Bologna, son of Giovanni Battista Vitali. He is well-known for a chaconne in G minor for violin and continuo, which is generally thought to be a musical hoax (it is presumed that the composition was either heavily altered, recomposed, or originally composed by German violinist Ferdinand David.)

One striking feature of the "Vitali" Chaconne style is the way it wildly changes key, reaching the far-flung territories of B flat and D sharp minors, uncharacteristic of the Baroque era, and key signature changed typical only in Romanticism. Despite its dubious provenance, the piece has been ever popular amongst violinists. For example, Jascha Heifetz chose it to open his New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1917.