A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Cavalli, Pietro

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CAVALLI, Pietro Francesco, eminent composer of the 17th century, born at Crema, Venice, in 1599 or 1600. His real name was Caletti-Bruni, and he took that of Cavalli from his patron. In 1617 he became singer in the choir of St. Mark's under Monteverde; in 1640 organist of the second organ, in 65 organist of the first organ in that church; in 68 chapel-master, and on Jan. 14, 76, he died. Of his church-music nothing has been published beyond a Mass, Psalms, and Antiphons, for 2 to 12 voices (Venice, 1656), and Vespers for 8 voices (ib. 1675). Santini possessed a Requiem of his (sung at Cavalli's funeral) for 8 voices in MS. His operas were very numerous. He began to write for the theatre in 1637 [App. p.583 "1639"], and continued so to do for 32 years. There were then five theatres in Venice, and Cavalli was fully employed. Fétis gives a list—evidently incomplete—of 39 pieces. In 1660 he was called to Paris for the marriage of Louis XIV, and produced his opera of 'Xerse' [App. p.583 'Serse'] in the Grand Gallery of the Louvre; to Paris again in 1662 [App. p.583 adds "Feb. 7"] for the Peace of the Pyrenees, when he brought out 'Ercole amante'; and to Innspruck for the fête on the reception of Queen Christina. His wife belonged to the Sozomeni family; he grew rich and enjoyed the esteem and affection of his fellow-citizens. He took the opera from the hands of Monteverde, and maintained it with much dramatic power and with a force of rhythm before unknown. An air by Cavalli and some fragments will be found in Burney's 'History,' vol. iv.

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