The Life and Work of Antonio Tarsia


  • Janez Höfler



The contribution speaks about the life and work of Antonio Tarsia (1643-1722) as it can be reconstructed from archival documents and from his compositional legacy. The composer was born in an outstanding Koper (Capodistria) family; his father's name was Fabrizio and his mother Biancha stemmed from the Pola family. As regards his schooling and his musical education nothing tangible is known. Already as a boy he sang in the local cathedral, in 1662 he was there appointed organ-player, which post he retained all the time to the year 1710, when he received his last payment, but probably remained there for another few years. It does not seem that he travelled abroad, at least not with the purpose to win for himself the name of a musician. His concern for the qualitative rise of music in the Koper cathedral is evident from a sizeable fund of musical material copied with his own hand; among this one can find also works of his own written over a considerable time span, from the year 1674 to the year 1718. In form and by function these are to a large extent lithurgic music (movements of masses, psalms, antiphones, motets), specifically for soloists, chorus, strings, and organ, moving within the stylistic frames of the high baroque, with slight announcements of the late baroque. Although Tarsia never reached the highest level, an analysis of his works indicates that he was faithful to a certain noble utilitarianism, which with its quality does not lag behind this kind of creativity in the nearby musical centres of Northern Italy or in the Venetian cultural sphere respectively. In any case they have to this day remained worthy of full attention as well as of artistic reproduction.


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1. 12. 1994




How to Cite

Höfler, J. (1994). The Life and Work of Antonio Tarsia. Musicological Annual, 30(1), 17-21.