Alessandro Scarlatti, classical music composer

Alessandro Scarlatti image

Alessandro Scarlatti

Biography

A prominent late Baroque composer in Italy, producing in excess of 600 cantatas, 100 operas, as well as many oratorios, serenatas and instrumental pieces, Alessandro Scarlatti also partially owes his fame to being the father of Domenico Scarlatti, one of the most influential and creative composers of keyboard music during the 18th century. Recognition of Alessandro's music waned after his death and was resigned to wait until the 20th century to be revived. He was born in Palermo on May 2, 1660 but little is known of his early life and musical education. At the age of twelve, he was sent to Rome and may have studied with Giacomo Carissimi. There is also a possibility that he was connected in some way during this time with northern Italy as his early music shows the influence of Alessandro Stradella and Giovanni Legrenzi.

A production of Gli Equivoci nell sembiante (1679) in Rome drew the interest of Queen Christina of Sweden, who at the time was residing in the city, and Scarlatti became her maestro di capella, holding the post until 1684. Following his leave from the Queen's service, he departed for Naples where he served in the same position to the Viceroy of Naples, Marquis del Carpio, and produced a large number of operas.

Scarlatti left Naples in 1702 and travelled to Florence with his son, Domenico. He had hoped to secure a post with Ferdinando de' Medici, but was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, he did produce a fair amount of music for the Prince's private theater. The following year, he returned to Rome as the music director of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Yet, the Pope's ban on theatrical performances was vexing, to say the least, to such a prolific composer of opera. Despite being promoted to maestro di capella in 1707, Scarlatti left Rome once again for Naples, this time because of financial reasons, and returned to serve in his former post. However, the move was not entirely beneficial. Though Scarlatti continued to compose at a prolific rate, the Neapolitan public had grown cold to his music. Ironically, the Pope's ban on theatrical music was lifted and Scarlatti's operas were much more favorably received in Rome, where he spent much of the years of 1718-22. Despite all this, Scarlatti's financial situation worsened. He returned to Naples in 1722 and his creative output began to decrease. On October 24, 1725, he died in Naples.


Composer Title Date Action
Alessandro Scarlatti Con voce festiva, from 7 arie con tromba sola 03/01/2009 Play Add to playlist
Alessandro Scarlatti Rompe sprezza, from 7 arie con tromba sola 03/01/2009 Play Add to playlist
Alessandro Scarlatti Mio tesoro, from 7 arie con tromba sola 03/01/2009 Play Add to playlist
Alessandro Scarlatti Concerto Grosso No. 1 10/14/2010 Play Add to playlist
Alessandro Scarlatti Già il sole dal Gange, from L'honestà negli amori 04/28/2013 Play Add to playlist
Alessandro Scarlatti O cessate di piagarmi, from Il Pompeo 04/28/2013 Play Add to playlist
Alessandro Scarlatti Cara tomba, from Il Mitridate Eupatore 04/28/2013 Play Add to playlist