Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/698

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Indie,' in which a corps of cavalry, and a Macedonian phalanx, as described by Quintus Curtius, appeared on the stage. Perez procured the best Italian singers for the opera during his managership. In 1755 he came to London, and produced 'Ezio' with great success. Here also was published in 1774 a fine edition, with portrait, of his 'Mattutini de' Morti,' his best sacred work, though he also composed when in Lisbon, a 'Credo' for two choirs, and other church music. His compositions can scarcely be called remarkable, and Fétis ranks him below Jomelli. In person he resembled Handel, and like him lost his sight in old age, but worked on up to his death, which took place in Lisbon in 1778. Specimens of Perez will be found in Vincent Novello's various publications.

[ F. G. ]

PERFECT. Of Cadences the word 'perfect' is used to indicate such as give the most absolute effect of a conclusion, by passing through a chord or chords which are highly characteristic of a key to the tonic chord of that key in its first position. [See Cadence.] Of Intervals the word is chiefly used in modern times to describe certain of the purest and simplest kinds, as fifths and fourths, when in their most consonant forms; in the early days of modern music it was used in contrast to the terms 'imperfect' and 'middle' to classify the consonances in the order of their theoretical excellence. [See Harmony, Interval, Temperament].

PERGETTI. Probably the last castrato who ever sang in England. He made his first appearance at the Societa Armonica, May 6, 1844, in an aria from 'Ciglio,' an opera of his own, and is described as 'a brilliant and expressive singer, who won a deserved encore' (Mus. Examiner).

[ G. ]

PERGOLA, LA. La Pergola is the principal theatre of Florence, and takes its name from that of the street in which it is situated. It is under the management of thirty proprietors, who form the society—or, to use the English term, the company—of the Immobili. Operatic music and ballets are the only kind of performances given in this theatre, which is the 'Grand Opera' of Florence. The interior of the house is handsomely fitted and decorated, and is capable of accomodating about 2500 spectators.

The original theatre was erected in 1650 upon the designs of the celebrated architect Tacca. It was a wooden structure, and lasted until 1738, when it was replaced by the present solid building. It was inaugurated with the opera 'Dame' by Peri and Caccini, which had been written in 1594, and was the first opera ever written.

[ L. R. ]

PERGOLESI, Giovanni Battista, though born at Jesi in the Roman States, Jan. 3, 1710, was domiciled and educated at Naples, and ranks, by his style and his sympathies, among Neapolitan composers. Various dates between 1703 and 1707, and various places, have been given for his birth. Quadrio alone, in his 'Istoria della volgar poesia,' has stated the real truth, but all doubt on the subject was removed by the Marquis de Villarosa, who in 1831 obtained a copy of Pergolesi's baptismal certificate, signed by the priest of the Duomo where the original exists, and attested by the Confaloniere of Jesi, establishing beyond dispute that the composer was born there, in 1710.[1]

It is not known how he came to be taken to Naples, but he was at an early age admitted to the Conservatorio dei Poveri in Gesu Cristo, to study violin-playing under Domenico de Matteis. He first attracted notice by the original passages he invented for his instrument, not only fanciful gruppetti and ornaments, but strange chromatic progressions, based on new harmonies, and quite unlike anything known then and there in that style of music. When an account of this reached the ears of Matteis he desired to hear these things, and having heard them, asked the youth who had taught him these new modulations and harmonies. On being assured that he had learnt them from no one, his next question was, 'Could he write them down?' The result of which was that on the following day the boy brought him a specimen of his powers, thrown into the form of a little sonata. Matteis then placed him under Gaetano Greco, professor of counterpoint at the Conservatorio, and after his death he was taught for a short time by Durante, and then by Francesco Feo. His progress was rapid, but he speedily shook off to a great extent the contrapuntal yoke of his masters, and wrote in a style of his own, more melodious and more directly expressive than theirs, while of their science he retained just so much as could be made strictly subordinate to these objects and no more. The first composition of his that we know was a 'sacred drama,' 'La Conversione di S. Guglielmo,' written while still a student. It was performed, with comic intermezzi, in the summer of 1731, at the Cloister of S. Agnello, for the 'honest recreation' of the younger members of the congregation at the church of the PP. Filippini, where Pergolesi during his school years was wont to go every day to play an organ sonata, or 'voluntary,' between two sermons. Fétis says that this composition shows no indication of genius. This may be so, but it is still remarkable. A sense of dramatic contrast is evinced in the music given to the Angel and the Demon, who represent the good and evil principles respectively; the former of whom sings in the florid style of Porpora, while the Demon's airs are bold and broad. One especially energetic song he has, expressive of defiance, in which his admissions of temporary defeat and his intentions of ultimate triumph, are illustrated by flights of scales on the violins, upwards or downwards, according to circumstances; an attempt at note-painting, boyish perhaps, but still daring at that time.

After leaving the Conservatorio he received lessons in vocal composition from Vinci, whose style was more akin to his own than that of his former teachers, and, it is said, from Hasse, who, if this is true, must have learnt more from his

  1. Memorie dei compositore di musica del Regno di Napoll, racolte dal Marchese di Villarosa, Napoli. 1840, p. 141.