Pietro Domenico Paradies [Paradisi] was born in Naples in 1707 and died in Venice on the 25th of August 1791. Little is known about his youth or his musical education. He probably studied with Nicola Porpora who taught at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria in Loreto from 1739 to 1752. He began composing in the early 1740’s, and as was the habit of the time, he tried his hand at opera, but with no success. In 1746, he moved to London where he became a well-known and important teacher of singing and harpsichord. Charles Burney called him a master of the keyboard, both as a performer and as a teacher; in fact, some of his students went on to become very famous, among them Thomas Linley and Gertrud Elisabeth Mara. From 1751 to 1756, he held the license for representing Italian works at the Haymarket Theatre. In 1770, following an unstable life and due to financial difficulties, he sold all his manuscripts and returned to Italy. Today, Paradies’ fame and historical importance lies in the works he wrote for harpsichord, among them the twelve Sonate di gravicembalo.
A few of this Neapolitan School composer’s theatrical works have also survived: Alessandro in Persia (Lucca 1738); Fetonte (Londra, 1747); La forza d’Amore (Londra, 1751); Antioco (??). Two serenades of his should also be mentioned, Le Muse in gara (Venezia 1740), Il decreto del Fato (Venezia, 1739/40), as well as nine symphonies and two concerts for harpsichord or fortepiano and other works for harpsichord, solfeggios, arias and cantatas.
(by Filippo E. Ravizza)