Personalities | Niccolò Jommelli | Classical Era | Classical

(Nik’-ko-lo Zho-me’-le) 1714–74
Italian composer

Among the many opera composers of this period hailing from Naples, Jommelli was the greatest. His first comic opera was given in the city in 1737. It was in Rome that his first serious opera was performed, in 1740, and he then moved first to Bologna and after that to Venice, occupied as much with sacred music as with the opera house. His most important works were written for the Württemberg court at Stuttgart, where he was resident 1754–69; after that he composed mainly in Italy and, by correspondence, for Lisbon. He wrote about 100 stage works, 60 of them serious operas, mainly to librettos by Metastasio. He was much concerned with creating effective musical drama and reducing the primacy accorded to singers: he added accompanied recitatives, ensembles, choruses and dances, used more flexible forms, removed superfluous elements, and handled the orchestra vividly to enhance the drama. He also wrote many oratorios and cantatas as well as liturgical works.

Recommended Recording:
Il vologeso, soloists, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (dir) Frieder Bernius (Orfeo)

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