1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Guglielmi, Pietro

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GUGLIELMI, PIETRO (1727–1804), Italian composer, was born at Massa Carrara in May 1727, and died in Rome on the 19th of November 1804. He received his first musical education from his father, and afterwards studied under Durante at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto at Naples. His first operatic work, produced at Turin in 1755, established his reputation, and soon his fame spread beyond the limits of his own country, so that in 1762 he was called to Dresden to conduct the opera there. He remained for some years in Germany, where his works met with much success, but the greatest triumphs were reserved for him in England. He went to London, according to Burney, in 1768, but according to Florimo in 1772, returning to Naples in 1777. He still continued to produce operas at an astounding rate, but was unable to compete successfully with the younger masters of the day. In 1793 he became maestro di cappella at St Peter’s, Rome. He was a very prolific composer of Italian comic opera, and there is in most of his scores a vein of humour and natural gaiety not surpassed by Cimarosa himself. In serious opera he was less successful. But here also he shows at least the qualities of a competent musician. Considering the enormous number of his works, his unequal workmanship and the frequent instances of mechanical and slip-shod writing in his music need not surprise us. The following are among the most celebrated of his operas: I Due Gemelli, La Serva inamorata, La Pastorella nobile, La Bella Peccatrice, Rinaldo, Artaserse, Didone and Enea e Lavinia. He also wrote oratorios and miscellaneous pieces of orchestral and chamber music. Of his eight sons two at least acquired fame as musicians—Pietro Carlo (1763–1827), a successful imitator of his father’s operatic style, and Giacomo, an excellent singer.