Thursday 7 November 2013

The Little-Known Life of Carlo Cecere

Carlo Cecere (Grottole, Italy, 7th November 1706 – Naples, Italy, 15th February 1761)

A mysterious musical guest today as we meet a composer who lives on through his music, much of his life shrouded in mystery. A multi-instrumentalist who played mandolin, flute and violin, these instruments can be heard across Carlo Cecere's work and whether writing opera, duet or concerto, he demonstrated a mastery of the Baroque style.

Carlo Cecere was a Baroque composer born in Italy who wrote extensively for flute, as well as composing operas and concertos. One of the few things we know of Cecere's life is that he was a violinist at the Santa Marie del Carmine Monastery in Naples, though whether he took holy orders is open to debate. Perhaps it was his experience of the monastic life that inspired him to compose a score to accompany Pietro Trinchera's La Tavernola Abentorosa, a satire on the manasteries . In fact, the comic opera received its premiere in a monastery and though popular with audiences, the Catholic Church deemed it blasphemous for its depictions of indolence, bawdiness and not always pious clergy.

Not for the last time in his life, librettist Trinchera was imprisoned and Cecere withdrew from comic opera to concentrate on instrumental pieces. He demonstrated a mastery of the duet, composing both light pastoral pieces and dramatic concertos. At his death, he was buried in the church of Santa Maria La Nova in Naples. Though we know little of his life, Cecere's music is still performed today and is well worth a listen!

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