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Musical Composer Research - Essay Example

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Alessandro Scarlatti took his place among opera composers during the late 1600's to the early 1700's. Some of his operas have been brought back to life by modern opera singers such as Cecilia Bartoli (Page, Section C4). Bartoli presented Alessandro Scarlatti's work as part of her recital called 'Musica Proibita' (Prohibited Music) presented at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in January of 2005…
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Musical Composer Research
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Download file to see previous pages This type of opera is called oratorio and tells biblical tales. Other great composers of that time include Handel (Messiah) and Mendelssohn (Elijah).
It is believed that Alessandro Scarlatti was born in Palermo, Italy on May 2nd of 1660. He arrived in Rome when he was twelve years old and studied with Giacomo Carissimi (another great composer of oratorios and secular cantatas). Like other young artisans of his time he was most probably sent to Rome to learn, and work, for the Catholic Church. Musicians at that time were considered in the same social class as tailors and carpenters.
Scarlatti's first opera written was called "Gli Equivoci nel Sembiante" and was performed at the palace home of Queen Christina of Sweden (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913). He was employed to the Viceroy as Maestro di Capella for eighteen years and then moved to Rome to be employed as assistant maesto (and then maestro) of S. Maria Maggiore (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913). From there he moved to Naples, spent a short time again in Rome, and returned to Naples where he died.
Scarlatti is credited with establishing Naples, Italy as the center of operatic activity (Concise Dictionary of Opera). Scarlatti was educated and held postings in Rome but always returned to Naples as his chosen home. ...
Scarlatti's brother, Francesco, was a violinist and composer who penned the oratorio called "Agnus Occisus ab Origine Mundi". His other brother, Tomasso, sang in Naples. Alessandro had two sisters, Anna Maria (1661-1703) and Melchiorra Brigida (1663-1736), who were both singers that worked in Rome and Naples. It is believed that Giuseppe Scarlatti was Alessandro's grandson. Giuseppe was also a composer who wrote several operas (Catholic Encyclopedia).
Musical Style
Scarlatti is considered the founder of what is called the 'Neapolitan'style of composing. His works transitioned operatic composing from Baroque to pre-classical Neapolitan style. He is considered by many a Baroque composer. "Scarlatti is noted for his thematic development and chromatic harmony which he used with great mastery and in a way anticipates the work of much later composers, among them W.A. Mozart and Franz Schubert" (Dent, p2). Scarlatti is considered the liberator of dramatic expression in opera. Although limited by the Pope's legislation that outlawed secular operas Scarlatti embraced the limitations and created notable oratorios and masses. Many of Scarlatti's works have survived the ages and are performed to this day (Cecelia Bartoli's performance).
Scarlatti made good use of the orchestra and performer for operatic expression. Scarlatti is credited with establishing the form of Italian operatic overture with three sections: allegro-adagio-allegro. Many consider this as the forerunner of classical symphony (Dent, p2). He changed how the operatic orchestra contributes to the opera by composing orchestral accompaniment to operatic voice. Instruments were given parts to accompany the opera singers and the orchestra was considered very much a part of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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