Sunday, September 20, 2015


During the Baroque, several families made their mark in the world of music. In Italy there were few families more influential than the Scarlattis.
This story begins with the birth of Alessandro Scarlatti in Palermo, Italy in 1660. In 1679, Alessandro bet everything he had on his first opera which was huge success and cemented his reputation as a composer, especially of vocal music. His catalogue of work is dominated by vocal music, secular and sacred, in what is called the Neapolitan style. He remained in Rome until 1684 when he accepted an appointment as the maestro di cappella to the Viceroy of Naples. 
Alessandro’s sixth child, Guiseppe Domenico Scarlatti, was born the next year in Naples.  Undoubtedly Domenico learned his craft from his father and other relatives. At the age of 16 he was appointed the organist of the Naples Royal Chapel with his own father as his boss. Alessandro was very demanding of Domenico and influenced his career for the better part of 20 years.
Finally, in 1719, Domenico left for Lisbon, Portugal. Domenico was now free, free from his father’s influence and his father’s music.  Domenico began to explore music of his own, improvising and composing at the keyboard in the styles that surrounded him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


After studying sediment cores from a previous drilling project in Pozzuoli, researchers found a layer of carbon-rich rocks sitting 2.9 kilometers below the city.
When seawater infiltrates the carbon-rich rocks, they emit CO2, which reacts with calcium and hydrogen-rich rocks to form calcium hydroxide, or hydrated lime, one of the key ingredients in cement. Geothermal fluids push the natural lime up toward a top layer of ash deposited by previous eruptions, forming natural high-strength, fibrous concrete.
The material may have served as the inspiration for the creation of Roman concrete which led to the building of Rome’s architectural wonders such as the Pantheon and the aqueducts that still stand today, the researchers say.