William Corbett-his violin, his prelude

Posted on July 31st, 2012 by

From 1713 William Corbett was a member of the King’s band (although Anne Queen till 1714).In 1724 William Corbett bought Lunati (il Gobbo)’s violin.

Charles Burney: ‘The favourite instrument which Corelli had played was brought hither soon after his death Corbett, and being for many years in the possession of a gentleman of Newcastles, at whose decease it was purchased by Mr Avison for Giardini, whose property it still continues.’

William Corbett, young and bewigged

On his retirement, Corbett advertised for sale: ‘his curious study of music-instruments of all sorts-Stainers, Cremona violins and basses, with the far celebrated violins of Corelli, Gobbo, Torellu and Nicola Cosimi.’

The sale clearly was not a success-at his decease, he bequeathed the instruments to Greshams College, who sold them, for lack of room, in 1751. ‘In 1704 there was a benefit concert at ‘York Buildings’ for Corbett-later leader of the Opera at Drury Lane. The singers at this concert were Mrs Lindsey, and Messrs Hudson, Hughes and Laroon.’

William Corbett had his portrait done twice-once, bewigged, by Austen, the other, wigless, but with a turban, with the following verse:

Musica turbatas animas aegrumque dolorem Sola levat:  Merito Divumque Hominumque voluptas: Qua sine nil jucundem animis, nec amabile.

William Corbett-Prelude (from ‘Select Preludes and Vollenteries’ Walsh 1705)