Antonio Caldara, classical music composer

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Antonio Caldara


A lesser contemporary of the Baroque period's great masters, Antonio Caldara was a prolific composer of opera and vocal music, for which he is predominantly known today. Born around 1670 in Venice, his father was a local violinist. He served as a choirboy at St. Mark's Cathedral where he learned to play the viol, cello, and keyboard, possibly under the tutelage of Giovanni Legrenzi, the Cathedral's maestro di cappella. Little is known of Caldara's musical activities during this time. Few of his work from this period survive, and among them are his only instrumental pieces.

In 1699, Caldara left Venice for Mantua where he entered the service of Charles IV, Duke of Mantua, a pensionary of France and prone to lavish operatic productions. None of his music during the eight years he spent in the Duke's service has survived. He left Mantua in 1707, after the Duke paid heavily for backing the French in the War of the Spanish Succession. The following year, Caldara was in Rome where he settled comfortably into the city's musical life. He became acquainted with other composers present in Rome at the time, such as Handel and Corelli, and eventually was employed by Prince Ruspoli as maestro di cappella. In Rome, he composed a significant amount of music, including operas, oratorios, solo cantatas and two- and three-voice motets.

Following his marriage to Caterina Petrolli, Caldara travelled to Vienna and Milan. In 1715, he secured a post in the former city as vice-Kapellmeister under the Johann Joseph Fux. Settling in the Austrian capital the following year, his new position was particularly demanding, requiring him to compose a significant amount of music each year. He kept up with the pace required, and even accepted outside commissions, but there was a noticeable change in his compositional style. Prior to his appointment in Vienna, his music displayed a keen sense of detail and craftsmanship to be expected of the late Baroque. However, with his new demanding schedule, Caldara's became texturally thinner and less meticulous in detail. Nonetheless, he remained an active composer until his death on December 28, 1736.

Composer Title Date Action
Antonio Caldara Come raggio di sol 11/14/2010 Play Add to playlist
Antonio Caldara Sebben crudele 01/25/2011 Play Add to playlist
Antonio Caldara Sebben, crudele 02/16/2015 Play Add to playlist
Antonio Caldara Ahi quanto cieca... Come foco allo splendore, from Il Martirio di Santa Caterina 07/19/2015 Play Add to playlist