Pietro Nardini received his first musical instruction at Leghorn, and later studied for several years under Tartini at Padua.
About the year 1753 he was appointed solo violinist at the Ducal court at Stuttgart, where he remained for 15 years.
In 1767 he returned to Italy, settled at Leghorn, and stayed with his old master Tartini during his last illness.
In 1770 he accepted an appointment as director of the music at the court of the Duke of Tuscany, and he died May 7, 1793 at Florence.
Nardini was the most eminent of Tartini’s disciples.
Leopold Mozart writes about him, ‘The beauty, purity, and equality of his tone, and the tastefulness of his cantabile playing, cannot be surpassed; but he does not execute great difficulties.’
The well know poet musician Schubart relates in his flowery style, ‘His playing brings tears into the eyes of stony hearted courtiers – nay, his own tears run down on his violin!’
That Nardini was not a mere executant, but a thorough musician, is evident from the character of his compositions for the violin. Vivacity, grace, a sweet sentimentality, are the main characteristics of his style, which was altogether more modern in form and feeling than Tartini’s.
His allegros were often largely developed, and displayed the full sonata form, while his slow movements were not unlike Viotti’s.
Some of his works include:
- Six concertos, op 1
- Six sonatas for violin and bass, op. 2
- Six sonatas for two violins (also numbered op. 2)
- Six Trios pour flute
- Six solos pour violin, op. 5
- A solo for violin with thorough bass
- Six quartets
- Six duos pour deux violons