Pergolese, Giovanni Battista

Pergolese, Giovanni Battista was an eminent musician of the Neapolitan school. Evidence regarding the date and place of his birth is conflicting; probably the correct account is that of the Marchese di Villarosa, his latest biographer, who states that he was born at Jesi, near Ancona, on Jan. 3, 1710. In 1717 he was admitted into the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesu Cristo at Naples, where he studied the violin under Domenico di Matteis, and musical composition under Gaetano Greco and Durante. Under the conviction that melody and taste were sacrificed to learning by most of the masters of his time, he abandoned the style of Scurlatti and Greco for that of Vinci and Hasse. His first great work was the oratorio of San Cug'ielo d'Aquitania, composed in 1731. In that and the following year appeared his operas of La Serva Padrona, II Prigionicr Superbo, and Lo Frate Innamorato; in 1734, Ad)iano in Siria; in 1735, II Flaminio and L'Olimpiade. In 1734 lhe received the appointment of maestro di capella of the church of Loretto. In consequence of delicate health he removed to Pozzuoli, where he composed the cantata of Orfeo, and his pathetic Stubat Mater. He died there of consumption in 1736. Besides the above-mentioned works, Pergolese composed a number of pieces for the Church, which were better appreciated during his lifetime than his secular compositions, also a violin concerto, and thirty trios for violin, violoncello, and harpsichord. His works are all characterized by sweetness and freedom of style. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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