The Ljubljana Period of Francesco Pollini and His Family Background


  • Ivan Klemenčič



The paper discusses the family background of the composer Francesco Pollini from the 16th century onwards, his life from his birth in Ljubljana in 1762 up to approximately his father's death in 1786, and the people he associated with until 1802 while living in Vienna, Milan and Paris. It is suggested that the Pollinis also had some Slovenian blood in their veins. The influence of his Italian ancestors, of German monarchical criteria and of the culture of the Slovenian majority population on the young Pollini is examined. In Ljubljana he received his musical education, particularly in harpsicord and violin, and as a singer. He was presumably acquainted with guest performances by Italian and German opera companies, and he may have had contacts with his cousin's son Baron Žiga Zois, a major figure of Slovene Enlightenment and an opera enthusiast. Pollini apeared as the lead singer of amateur groups in Slovene and German performances. There is no direct evidence as to his activity as a composer at that time. But a previously expressed claim that he was acquainted with Mozart can be supported. They were very likely close friends, as in 1786 Mozart dedicated two parts of his opera Idomeneo to him. In that year Pollini participated in an amateur performance of this opera in the palace of Karl Auersperg in Vienna. Mozart must also have exerted some influence on Pollini's work, which is indicated by his use of two of Mozart's motifs in Pollini's later variations for piano and in his canzonetta. Mozart's illness and subsequent death may have made him leave for Milan, where he enjoyed better prospects and later settled. He probably lost contact with his birthplace Ljubljana when the aristocratic house he had inherited from his father was sold up because it was totally encumbered with debts. Yet his youthful impressions must have stayed with him along with the influence of the three different cultures which formed his personality, leaving indelible markes on his life and work.


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How to Cite

Klemenčič, I. (1992). The Ljubljana Period of Francesco Pollini and His Family Background. Musicological Annual, 28(1), 73–91.