Giacomo Antonio Perti Explained

Giacomo Antonio Perti (6 June 1661  - 10 April 1756) was an Italian composer of the Baroque era. He was mainly active at Bologna, where he was Maestro di Cappella for sixty years. He was the teacher of Giuseppe Torelli and Giovanni Battista Martini.

Life

He was born in Bologna, and began studying music early, learning harpsichord and violin there; later he studied counterpoint. By the age of 17 he had already written a mass, a motet, and a setting of the Magnificat; and in 1678 he wrote his first opera and oratorio. During a stay in Parma, where he studied with Giuseppe Corso detto Celano, he formed his sacred music style; most of his psalm settings of the 1680s and 1690s show the influence of Corso. Later he went to Venice, most likely for a production of one of his operas.

In 1690 he was appointed the post of Maestro di Cappella at S Pietro, replacing his uncle Lorenzo Perti. In 1696 he became Maestro di Cappella in another Bolognese church, S.Petronio, after the death of Giovanni Paolo Colonna the year before. He remained in charge for exactly sixty years, until his death at age 95.

Perti was a prolific composer of operas and sacred music, and was recognized as a distinguished musician not only by other composers, but by aristocrats and emperors, including Ferdinando de' Medici (one of the last of the Medici) and Emperors Leopold I and Charles VI.

Works

Perti was highly regarded for his sacred music and his operas. Of the operas, few remain of the original 26. Perti maintained in his Op.1 that he was influenced by the melodic style of Francesco Cavalli, Antonio Cesti, and Luigi Rossi ; however he shows considerable originality in instrumentation, use of dialogue and countermelody. His output of sacred music was even more remarkable: he wrote 120 psalm settings, for one voice, chorus, basso continuo, and various other instruments; 54 motets, for similar forces; 28 masses; 83 versetti and other liturgical works.

He also wrote secular music, including 142 solo cantatas (one of the commonest secular vocal forms in late 17th century Italy), and some instrumental music including sonatas and sinfonias for a variety of instruments.

Operas

Oratorios

References and further reading