VIIIB: The Neapolitan Group


In Naples in the 18th century the many roads opened up by the preceding hundred years of experimentation came together in a glorious marriage. After the return in 1708 from Rome of the Sicilian composer Alessandro Scarlatti, the 17th century maestri were followed by the great Neapolitan composers of the 18th century: notably, Leo, Durante, Vinci, Latilla, Porpora, Jommelli, Sabatino, Traetta, Piccinini, Paisiello, and Cimarosa. In sacred music, the key work is the Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1736), a work that marks the end of one centuryÕs journey and the beginning of new, more international, travels. For example melodrama—which having been imported from Venice in 1650 had reached Naples late—was immediately adapted to the taste of Neapolitan audiences with scenes added in the 'language' of the city (this even occurred in some oratorios, notably Provenzale's masterpiece La Colomba Ferita, and these scenes were in the first years of the 18th century soon to take on a life of their own, becoming on the one hand opera buffa, musical comedy in Neapolitan, and on the other intermezzi. The great Neapolitan singers were to become scattered throughout Europe and they took with them the music of the maestri. And the "sound of the city" was also to be transmitted through the virtuosity of its players, whether of the violin, the cello, the flute or many other instruments. One name is the epitome of this: Domenico Scarlatti. With the return of the Bourbon monarchy, after 1734, the theatre of San Carlo and the other Neapolitan theatres also became known Europe-wide (one has only to think of the city's great librettists such as Stampiglia, Zeno, Metastasio, the great theatre directors, and the great dancers, etc.). Nor did religious music decline. There were still compositions for the great religious festivals, not to mention cantatas, celebratory serenatas, and the great popular festivals in the piazzas.



The Composers, and some others
Supplemental Materials Poetry and Prose Articles



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