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Scarlatti, Alessandro (1660-1725)

Alessandro Scarlatti

born: 2 May 1660
died: 22 October 1725
country: Italy

Born in Palermo, Scarlatti’s family moved to Rome in 1672 and, whilst there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that he studied with Giacomo Carissimi, it seems certain that he would at least have come into contact with this great composer’s works, including his oratorios. By the age of eighteen Scarlatti had his first appointment in the city, as maestro di cappella at San Giacomo degli Incurabili, and before long he was in the employ of some of the most important and influential patrons in Rome, including Queen Christina of Sweden. In 1683 he made the move to Naples, and the majority of his career was divided between these two cities (with forays to the likes of Florence and Venice as part of his seemingly never-ending search for further employment), until he finally settled in Naples in 1708. Whilst Scarlatti’s reputation is traditionally based on his undoubted achievements as an opera composer, he made important contributions to all of the key musical genres of the period, writing cantatas, masses, motets, concertos, sonatas and, of course, oratorios.

from notes by Carrie Churnside © 2009

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