Speaking of Baroque, today we celebrate the life and works of Francesco Manelli (Mannelli), born this day in 1595.
Manelli was a Roman Baroque composer, particularly of opera, and theorbo player. He is most well known for his collaboration with fellow Roman composer Benedetto Ferrari in bringing commercial opera to Venice. The first two works, in 1637 and 1638, to be put on commercially in the Teatro San Cassiano were both by Manelli – his L’Andromeda and La Maga Fulminata.
For those of you unfamiliar with the theorbo, it is a plucked string instrument of the lute family, with an extended neck and a second pegbox. Like a lute, the theorbo has a curved-back and a wooden top, typically with a sound hole, with a neck extending out from the soundbox. As with the lute, the player plucks or strums the strings with one hand while “fretting” the strings with the other hand (much like you would with a modern guitar).
Sadly we could not find a verifiable picture of Manelli but we did find one of a theorbo being demonstrated.
Today we thought we’d do a birthday tribute to a composer. Naturally, we wanted to avoid the obvious… Antonio Salieri, but then we were left with a dilemma; which of the eleven others to select?
There is an argument, put forward by some, that song-writers are not composers. We, however, do not separate writers and composers. So… who to choose? Why choose when we can simply list them all.
Francesco Canova da Milano, born 1497 – composer and lutenist
Antonio Salieri, born 1750 – composer
Ernest MacMillan, born 1983 – composer, pianist, and conductor
Herman Berlinski, born 1910 – composer and pianist
Cisco Houston, born 1918 – songwriter and singer
Hugues Aufray, born 1929 – songwriter and guitarist
Adam Makowicz, born 1940 – composer and pianist
John Debney, born 1956 – composer and conductor
Ron Strykert, born 1957 – songwriter and guitarist
Andi Deris, born 1964 – songwriter and singer
Andreas Weise, born 1986 – songwriter and singer
Jung Eun-ji 정은지 (A Pink 에이핑크), born 1993 – songwriter and singer
Happy birthday to all the living composers/songwriters
Today we’re helping you with a favourite question amongst quizzers; name seven famous Belgians (excluding fictional characters) as we’re paying tribute to Joseph-Hector Fiocco, born this day in 1703.
Born in Brussels, Fiocco was a composer and violinist of the late Baroque period. His father was the Italian composer Pietro Antonio Fiocco, and one of his older brothers gave him the majority of his music education (he had no fewer than 15 siblings!, including the composer and choirmaster Jean-Joseph). He also learned Greek and Latin well enough to be able to become a schoolteacher in both those subjects.
At the cathedral of Antwerp (1732–37) he was in charge of the music. In 1737 he returned to his birthplace and worked in the cathedral of that city. He died in Brussels when only 38 years old.
In connection with his cathedral employment, Fiocco wrote many choral works, including motets and Mass settings. Some of his most significant compositions are Lamentations Du Jeudi Saint, a Missa solemnis and Pièces de Clavecin. His two suites for harpsichord were dedicated to the Duke of Arenberg, and they incorporate French and Italian styles. The first suite begins in the style of Couperin and ends with four Italian-style movements: Adagio, Allegro, Andante, and Vivace. He is also known to Suzuki violin students for his Allegro, which is part of the Book Six Suzuki violin repertoire (and has been recorded by Itzhak Perlman, among other great modern players). This piece has also been arranged for string quartet, and is sometimes heard at weddings.