The Italian composer who was a lawyer

Dear Friends,

For this weekend’s prelude, I will play The Heavens Declare the Glory of God by Italian composer Benedetto Marcello (1686 - 1739).

Marcello was born in the city of Venice, to a family of noble ancestry.  As a child, he studied music with Antonio Lotti, one of the most notable musicians in Italian history.  His family acknowledged his musical prodigy and encouraged his training, but ultimately Marcello was both urged and expected to pursue a career in law.

Marcello studied law as expected, and would go on to become an advocate, magistrate, and eventually a member of Venice’s central government.  Throughout his entire career in law, however, he worked with equal prestige as a musician. He was widely admired as a composer of sacred music, instrumental sonatas and concertos. Marcello often signed his compositions anonymously, with a simple “Patrizio Veneto” (A Noble of Venice).

Marcello’s music is imaginative (and frequently illustrative) in character, as we will hear this weekend.  The Heavens Declare the Glory of God is an example of a musical paraphrase (a composition inspired by the written word).  Here, Marcello was inspired by Psalm 19.

Enjoy the music - and until we meet again, take care and stay well!


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