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Benedetto Marcello

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Biography

Like his brother Alessandro, Benedetto learned the violin from his father and also studied singing and counterpoint with Gasparini. Though he wanted to pursue music his father would not allow this distraction. Accordingly, Benedetto was sent to the country to pursue his studies in law. Following this he spent many years in public service holding various positions. In his twenty first year, however, he was able to join the Arcadian Academy of Rome under a pseudonym. His first operatic libretto was set in 1707 but the first publication came out in 1708. It was a set of twelve concertos. The major bulk of Benedetto's works were vocal scores including operas, oratorios, numerous cantatas, masses and motets. The arrangement he scored for the first fifty psalms in cantata form were published in eight volumes. Marcello was invited to compose for the emperor Charles VI. This success brought him students and he was quite adept as a teacher. His students included Galuppi and Bordoni. Marcello's music was characteristically varied and contained qualitative excerpts of imagination, brilliant methodology and uniqueness. In some works his galant sensitivity was demonstrated while in other works his traditional counterpoint techniques were emphasized. Emotional expressions within the content and textures of his works ranged from the pathetic to the humorous. ~ Keith Johnson