Attilio Ariosti (1666-?1729)
Attilio Ariosti was a brilliant musician, known to have been a singer as well as an organist and harpsichord player, and was particularly well known as an exponent of the viola d’amore. In his first known appearance in London, for example, he was playing the viola d’amore between the acts of Handel’s opera Amadigi in 1716. He was involved with the establishing of the Royal Academy of Music in 1719, and later was one of the composers for the Academy along with Handel and Bononcini. Ariosti composed several successful operas in the years 1722-5, and it was during this period of popularity, that he published the volume from which the present cantata is taken – Six Cantatas and Six Lessons for the Viola D’amore. This was printed in about 1724, and was dedicated to King George I and members of the royal family. Its subscription list is populated with a glittering array of aristocratic names, (but some scepticism has been expressed by historians of the period as to whether all those named were indeed subscribers). The lessons for viola d’amore proved popular and were republished several times.