Niccolò Jommelli

(Aversa, 1714 – Naples, 1774)

Another famous student of the Conservatorio di Sant’Onofrio in Porta Capuana, where he studied with Francesco Durante, Jommelli moved on to the famous Neapolitan Conservatory, the  Pietà dei Turchini, where he studied with Leonardo Leo, among others. Leo was also a happy prophet if, as is reported, upon hearing a piece by Jommelli he exclaimed, “questo giovane sarà lo stupore e l’ammirazione di tutta l’Europa”[this youth will be the amazement and admiration of all Europe].

His first opera, L’errore amoroso, was the first in an almost uninterrupted series of triumphs which lead Jommelli to debut throughout Italy: Rome, Bologna where he met Padre Martini, again in Naples (where he triumphed again with Eumene) and Venice. There he composed his first pieces of church music, among them, a Laudate with two choirs and eight voices which is believed to be one of his best pieces of sacred music.

His success carried him over the Alps to Stuttgart where he was named the court’s Choirmaster, Music Director and composer. The influence of German music, which can be felt in the thirty works he wrote during his long sojourn there – Jommelli lived in Stuttgart almost twenty years – guaranteed him success in Germany but was damaging to him upon his return to Italy. Although captivated by the melody, the public could not understand any more slightly complex scripture.

Jommelli died in Naples in 1774.  An absolutely central figure in the opera scene of the 1700’s, he was the first to pay particular attention to what was recited.

He also wrote much sacred music very worthy sacred music, in addition to the previous mentioned Laudate, the Messa da Requiem, the Miserere and Oratorio, La passione  merit being remembered and heard.

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