Leo, Leonardo (actually, Lionardo Ortensio Salvatore de)
Leo, Leonardo (actually, Lionardo Ortensio Salvatore de)
Leo, Leonardo (actually, Lionardo Ortensio Salvatore de), important Italian composer; b. San Vito degli Schiavi, near Brindisi, Aug. 5, 1694; d. Naples, Oct. 31, 1744. In 1709 he went to Naples, where he studied with Fago at the Cons. S. Maria della Pietà dei Turchini; his sacred drama S. Chiara, o L’infedeltà abbattuta was given there in 1712. In 1713 he was made supernumerary organist in the Viceroy’s Chapel; also served as maestro di cappella to the Marchese Stella. His first opera, II Pisistrato, was performed in Naples on May 13, 1714. His first comic opera, La ’mpeca scoperta, in the Neapolitan dialect, was given in Naples on Dec. 13, 1723. In all, he wrote some 50 operas, most of them for Naples. Following A. Scarlatti’s death in 1725, he was elevated to the position of first organist at the viceregal chapel. In 1730 he became provicemaestro of the Royal Chapel; in 1737 vicemaestro. He taught as vicemaestro at the Cons. S. Maria della Pietà dei Turchini from 1734 to 1737; from 1741 was primo maestro in succession to his teacher, Fago; also was primo maestro at the Cons. S. Onofrio from 1739. In Jan. 1744 he became maestro di cappella of the Royal Chapel, but died that same year. Among his famous pupils were Piccinni and Jommelli. Leo’s music for the theater (especially his comic operas) is noteworthy; of no less significance were his theoretical works, Istituzioni o regole del contrappunto and Lezione di canto fermo.
dramatic: opera(all first perf. in Naples unless otherwise given): II Pisistrato (May 13, 1714); Sofonisba (Jan. 22, 1718); Caio Gracco (April 19, 1720); Arianna e Teseo (Nov. 26, 1721); Baiazete, imperator dei Turchi (Aug. 28, 1722); Timocrate (Venice, 1723); La ’mpeca scoperta, comic opera (Dec. 13, 1723); II Turno Ariano (with L. Vinci; 1724); L’amore fedele, comic opera (April 25, 1724); Lo pazzo apposta, comic opera (Aug. 26, 1724); Zenobia in Palmira (May 13, 1725); // trionfo di Camilla, regina dei Volsci (Rome, Jan. 8, 1726); Orismene, ovvero Dalli sdegni l’amore, comic opera (Jan. 19, 1726); La semmeglianza de chi l’ha fatta, comic opera (Fall 1726); Lo matrimonio annascuso, comic opera (1727); II Cid (Rome, Feb. 10, 1727); La pastorella commattuta, comic opera (Fall 1727); Argene (Venice, Jan. 17, 1728); Catone in Utica (Venice, 1729); La schiava per amore, comic opera (1729); Semiramide (Feb. 2, 1730); Ros-mene, comic opera (Summer 1730); Evergete (Rome, 1731); Demetrio (Oct. 1, 1732); Amor da’ senno, comic opera (1733); Nitocri, regina d’Egitto (Nov. 4, 1733);II castello d’Atlante (July 4, 1734); Demofoonte (Jan. 20, 1735; Act I by D. Sarro, Act 2 by F. Mancini, Act 3 by Leo, and intermezzos by G. Sellitti); La clemenza di Tito (Venice, 1735); Emira (July 12, 1735; intermezzos by I. Prota); Demetrio (Dec. 10, 1735; different setting from earlier opera of 1732); Onore vince amore, comic opera (1736); Farnace (Dec. 19, 1736); L’amico traditore, comic opera (1737); Siface (Bologna, May 11, 1737; rev. version as Viriate, Pistoia, 1740); La simpatia del sangue, comic opera (Fall 1737); Olimpiade (Dec. 19, 1737); II conte, comic opera (1738); II Ciro riconosciuto (Turin, 1739); Amor vuoi sofferenze, comic opera (Fall 1739; rev. version as La finta frascatana, Nov. 1744); Achille in Sciro (Turin, 1740); Scipione nelle Spagne (Milan, 1740); L’Alidoro, comic opera (Summer 1740); Demetrio (Dec. 19, 1741; different setting from the earlier operas of 1732 and 1735); L’ambizione delusa, comic opera (1742); Andromaca (Nov. 4, 1742); II fantastico, od II nuovo Chisciotte, comic opera (1743; rev. version, Fall 1748); Vologeso, re dei Parti (Turin, 1744); La fedeltà odiata, comic opera (1744); he also contributed to a pasticcio setting of Demetrio (June 30, 1738); he likewise composed prologues, arias, etc., to operas by other composers. A number of operas long attributed to Leo are now considered doubtful. Leo also composed serenatas, feste teatrali, chamber cantatas, etc. He wrote the following sacred dramas and oratorios: S. Chiara, o L’infedeltà abbattuta (Naples, 1712); II trionfo della castità di S. Alessio (Naples, Jan. 4, 1713); Dalla morte alla vita di S. Maria Maddalena (Atrani, July 22, 1722); Oratorio per la Ss. vergine del rosario (Naples, Oct. I, 1730); S. Elena al Calvario (Bologna, 1734); La morte di Abele (Bologna, 1738); S. Francesco di Paola nel deserto (Lecce, 1738); II verbo eterno e la religione (Florence, 1741); he also composed 6 Neapolitan masses, various Mass movements, 2 Magnificats, offertories, antiphons, motets, etc.; most notable is his Miserere for Double Choir and Organ (1739), publ. in a modern ed. by H. Wiley Hitchcock (St. Louis, 1961). His instrumental works include 6 concerti for Cello, String Orch., and Basso Continuo (1737–38); of these, 1 in D major has been ed. by F. Cilea (Milan, 1934), 1 in A major by E. Rapp (Mainz, 1938), and 3 in the Series of Early Music, VII (1973); he also wrote Concerto in D major for 4 Violins and Basso Continuo (publ. in Musikschatze der Vergangenheit, XXIV, Berlin, 1952); works for harpsichord; etc.
C. Leo, L. L. e sua epoca musicale (Brindisi, 1894); G. Leo, L. L: Musicista del secola XVIII e le sue opere musicali (Naples, 1905); F. Schlitzer, ed., Tommaso Traetta, L. L, Vincenzo Bellini: Noti e documenti raccolti da F. Schlitzer (Siena, 1952); G. Pastore, L. L. (Galatina, 1957); R. Krause, Die Kirchenmusik vom L. L. (1694–1744): Ein Beitrag zur Musikgeshichte Neapels im 18. Jahrhundert (Regensburg, 1987); M. Summa, Amor vuoi sofferenza: II teatro giocoso di L. L. (Fasano, 1994).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire