Sunday, July 29, 2012

L'OLIMPIADE

There are plenty of great composers whose short lives make us wonder, wistfully, about the great music that might have resulted had they lived even a few months longer. Mozart, who died at 35, is one obvious example. Another is Schubert, whose life ended just short of his 32nd birthday.
Both of those men began composing in childhood, and were stunningly prolific, leaving behind large bodies of music despite their early deaths. There were others who started later and died earlier, and whose music, though remarkable, has been far less prominent. One of those is Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.
Pergolesi was born in 1710 and was sent to study music at a Naples conservatory sometime in his early to mid teens. Aside from a few student compositions his earliest surviving score — a cantata — dates from 1731.
Five years later, he was dead, at age 26.
L'Olimpiade premiered in Rome early in 1735. Its libretto is by Pietro Metastasio, one of the most prolific librettists in history. L'Olimpiade was among his most popular stories — eventually, more than 50 composers made settings of it. Pergolesi's version was among the earliest, and for a time at least, it was the most famous of them all.

1 comment:

  1. http://www.npr.org/2011/08/05/138994854/fruit-from-a-brief-life-pergolesis-lolimpiade

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