Marcello, Benedetto

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Marcello, Benedetto

Marcello, Benedetto, famous Italian composer and teacher, brother of Alessandro Marcello; b. Venice, July 24 or Aug. 1,1686; d. Brescia, July 24 or 25,1739. He studied violin with his father; later took courses in singing and counterpoint with E Gasparini. Having prepared for a legal career, he accepted a number of distinguished positions in public life: was made a member of the Grand Council of the Republic (1707); served on the Council of Forty for 14 years; was governor of Pola (1730–37); subsequently camarlingo (chamberlain) of Brescia (1738–39); was also active as an advocate and magistrate. Adopting the pseudonym Driante Sacreo, he became a member of Rome’s Arcadian Academy; was also elected a member of Bologna’s Accademia Filarmonica (1712). His distinguished students included the singer Faustina Bordoni and the composer Baldassare Galuppi. He most likely was the author of Lettera famigliare d’un accademico filarmonico ed arcade discorsiva sopra un libro di duetti, terzetti e madrigali a più voci (Venice, 1705), an anonymous and rather captious critique of Lotti. He publ, a famous satire on Vivaldi and his contemporaries as II teatro alla moda, o sia Metodo sicuro e facile per il ben comporre ed eseguire l’opere italiane in musica all’usu moderno (Venice, c. 1720; Eng. tr. by R. Paul, Musical Quarterly, July 1948 and Jan. 1949). Marcello was one of the most gifted Italian composers of his time, his mastery ranging from sacred and secular vocal works to instrumental works.

Works

dramatic: oratorios: II sepolcro (Venice?, 1705); Giuditta (Rome, 1709); Gioaz (Vienna, 1726); II pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni (Venice?, 1731); II trionfo della poesia e della musica (Venice?, 1733); other sacred vocal works include Estro poetico-armonico, parafrasi sopra li primi [secondi] 25 salmi (Venice, 1724–26; reprint, 1967); 10 masses; 15 motets; etc. o t h e r : 2 serenatas: Serenata da cantarsi ad uso di scena (Vienna, 1725) and La morte di Adone (Rome, 1729); the intreccio scenico musicale Arianna (Florence, 1727); a cantata; etc. secular vocal:(12) Canzoni madrigalesche e [6] arie per camera for 2 to 4 Voices, op.4 (Bologna, 1717); over 500 cantatas; about 85 duets; etc. instrumental:(12) Concerti a cinque, with Violin and Cello obbligato, op.l (Venice, 1708); (12) Suonate for Recorder and Basso Continuo, op.2 (Amsterdam, before 1717; as op.l for Flute or Violin and Basso Continuo, London, 1732); 6 sonatas for Cello and Basso Continuo, op.l (Amsterdam, c. 1732; as op.2, London, 1732; as op.l, Paris, c. 1735); 6 sonatas for 2 Cellos or 2 Bass Viols and Basso Continuo or Cello, as op.2 (Amsterdam, c. 1734); Concerto for Violin and Strings; Concerto for 2 Violins and Strings; 7 sinfonias for Strings; various harpsichord sonatas (12 ed. in Le Pupitre, XXVIII, Paris, 1971); etc.

Bibliography

F. Fontana, Vita di B. M., patrizio Veneto (Venice, 1788); F. Caffi, Della vita e del comporre di B. M.(Venice, 1830); L. Busi, B. M.(Bologna, 1884); O. Chilesotti, Sulla lettera critica di B. M. contro A. Lotti (Bassano, 1885); E. Fondi, La vita e l’opera letteraria del musicista B. M.(Rome, 1909); A. d’Angeli, B. M.: Vita e opere (Milan, 1940); G. Tinctori, L’Arianna di B. M.(Milan, 1951); C. Sites, B. M.’s Chamber Cantatas (diss., Univ. of N.C., 1959); E. Selfridge-Field, The Works of B. and Alessandro M.: A Thematic Catalogue (Oxford, 1990); The Music ofB. and Alessandro M.: A Thematic Catalogue with Commentary on the Composers, Repertory, and Sources (Oxford, 1990).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire