Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/735

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STRADELLA.

ney l states he was a Neapolitan, apparently for no other reason than that he sends Stradella and Ortensia, en route for Rome, to Naples, which, he adds, was ' the place of Stradella's nativity.' Fetis, 2 evidently on Burney's statement, but with- out quoting his authority, describes him as born at Naples about 1645, and the assertion is now an accepted statement. 3 The dates both of his birth and death are in fact unknown. But though we reject the story of his murder at Genoa, it is not impossible that he ended his life there, since the composition, which we may presume to have been his last, is dated from thence.

The date of his death was probably about 1681, since there exists in the Biblioteca Palatina of Modena, a cantata, ' II Barcheggio,' * written for the wedding of Carlo Spinola and Paola Brignole, at Genoa, July 6, 1681. The poem contains nu- merous allusions to it, and the names of both bride and bridegroom ; . no mistake is possible as to the real date of the composition, and thus the dates 1670 and 1678, given by Bourdelot and Burney for his death, are evidently wrong. 5

The statements that besides being a composer Stradella was a singer,' ' an exquisite performer on the harp,' 7 'a great performer on the violin,' 8 'excelled in an extraordinary hand, so as to have been accounted the best organist in Italy,' 9 ' was a Latin and perhaps also an Italian poet,' 10 are all more or less gratuitous, and except composing, it cannot be proved that he possessed any of these qualifications. His name is never met with in any of the best treatises of Italian literature, either as a Latin or an Italian poet, 11 and with respect to his skill on the organ, we have been unable to find anything to justify Wanley's

1 A General History of Music, lv.100, 101.

2 Biographic universelle des musiciens.

3 See ' Dictionnaire general de Biographic et d'HIstoIre' (Paris lsV7 i ; ' Dictionnaire de la Conversation et de la lecture ' (Paris 1858) ; Mendel, 'Mas. Conversations-Lexikou ' (1877); Biemann, Musik- Lexikon (1882).

i on the first page of the score la written : ' II Barchegglo. del Slg. Alessandro Stradella 1681. L'ultlma delle sue sinfonle.' After the overture, and before the duet with which the scene opens, at the top of the page is written 'Inuentione per un Barcheglo 1681. 16 <;iugno. L'ultima composlzlone del Sig. Alessandro Stradella ' This is a cantata for soprano, tenor and bass. In two parts. Each part is preceded by an overture. The score Is for two violins, cornet or trumpet, and bass : a trombone dl rlnforzo at times with the bass.

s Burney's mistake Is easily explainable, because, when he wrote,

  • 11 Barcheggio ' had not yet been discovered, and he was in possession

of a libretto ' La forza dell' amor patenio,' Genoa 1678, dedicated to Bignora Teresa Raggl Saoll. by Alessandro Stradella, the dedication apparently written by Stradella himself. The facts that the oratorio 8. Giovanni Battista' supposed to be that which saved Its author's life In Rome-bears the date ' Rome 1676.' and the fact that Bour- delofs account Implies a period of two years between Stradella's singing in Rome and his murder in Genoa, induced Burney to believe that Stradella might have met bis death in Genoa while attending the rehearsals of his new opera. However, that libretto was teen by Burney only, and has since disappeared.

> Bourdplot and all biographers.

7 Hawkins's History, vol. iv. bk. 2. chap. 10.

Burney, ' A General History of Music,' Iv. 100.

a A Catalogue of the Harlelan MSS. 10 Catelani. ' Delle opere di A. Stradella esistent. etc.* n ' Delia Storia e della Ragtone di ognl Poesia,' dl F. 8. Quadrlo. Bologna-Milano, 1739-1742. Tiraboschi, ' Storia della letteratura ita- lianas.' Glnguene, ' Histolre litteraire d'ltalle.' Glovan Mario Cres- cimbeni, 'Dall' Istoria della volgar Poesia.' In this last work, Stra- della is spoken of only where the author, dealing with the Cantata*. thus expresses himself: 'they are pretty things and the best and most pleasant diversion that one can enjoy in any honourable and noble conversation ; especially when set to music by eminent maettri. as. amongst the old ones, are those by the famous Alessandro Stra- della. one of which was sang not long since in the Academy of the Cardinal Ottoboni by Andrea Adami detto II Bolsena.' Vol. 1. lib. iv. chap. xii. p. 330. This passage is quoted from Edn. 3, 1731.

��STRADELLA.

��723

��assertion, beyond a short Sonata in D for two vio- lins and basso continuo per 1'Organo. 13 As to the statements in the 'Penny Cyclopaedia,' that ' Stra- della was not handsome, but remarkable for the symmetry of his form, his wit and polished manners,' and in Wanley's catalogue, that 'he was a comely person and of an amorous nature,' I can do no more than submit them to the reader, as striking instances of the way in which mythical statements gather round a central figure.

Nothing can be positively asserted as to his having been married to Ortensia by the Royal Madame after the occurrence in Turin, because the archives of S. Giovanni di Torino, the parish of the Court, have been destroyed by fire. The Madame Royale alluded to by Bourdelot must be Jeanne Marie de Nemours (who became Regent at the death of her husband, Charles Emanuel II., June 12, 1675), and not Christine de France (who died Dec, 27, 1663"), as M. Fili- bert 1S and other writers have stated.

Where or with whom Stradella studied is en- tirely unknown. In the archives of the Royal Conservatorio di Musica in Naples, where all the documents formerly belonging to the superseded Conservator! are most carefully kept, his name does not occur : nor is it mentioned in Lichten- thal's catalogue. 1 * None of his numerous operas are known to have been performed in his life-time, 15 with the possible exception of ' II Trespolo.' 18

Stradella as a composer is known to modern audiences by the Aria di Chiesa, 'Pieta ! Signor ! ' attributed to him. Space will not allow us to enumerate the few pros and many cons respect- ing its authenticity. It is enough to say that no musician, even though but slightly acquainted with the works that are indisputably by Stra- della, will attribute it to him. The composer of that beautiful composition is generally believed to be Fe"tis, Niedermeyer, or Rossini. The words are taken from the second stanza of Arsenic's aria in Alessandro Scarlatti's oratorio ' Santa Teodosia,' two copies of which are in the Biblioteca Palatina of Modena, and bear the signature ' A. S.'

Stradella's name has lately been invested with fresh interest on account of a Serenata attributed to him, in which the subjects of many of the pieces in 'Israel in Egypt' exist in a more or less crude form. [See vol. i. p. 94 ; ii. 25.] A copy of this, formerly belonging to Dr. Gauntlett, is in the Library of the Royal College of Music, London, and another (older) in that of the Con- servatoire, Paris : the original is not known. For

n -Sclelta delle stionate a due vloHnl con II Basso continuo per 1'Organo, raccolte da diversl eccellenti autori." In Bologna per Gtacomo Monti 1680. With the exception of this Sonata, no other of Stradella's compositions was printed In the 17th century.

" Supplement a la Biographic universelle.' Paris 1853.

u Dizlonarlo e Bibliografia della Musica del D. Fietro Lichtenthal. Milano, 1826.

is The following Is the list of books In which the names of Stradella's operas should have been mentioned. If any of them had been per- formed. Leone Allaccl, ' Dramraaturgia.' Groppo, ' Catalogo dl tuttl i dramml per muslca.' Bonlinl. ' Le glorle della Poesia e della Musica.' C. F. Menestrier, ' Des representations en muslque ancienne et moderne'; Paris, 1681. Pietro Napoli Slgnorelli, ' Storia critica de teatrl antichi e modern!.' Ditto, 'Discorso storico critico da servire di hime alia storia dei teatri.'

is Performed at Modeiia 1686, and possibly at Bologna 1C82.

3 A2

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