This Sunday, we will be performing music by Italian composer, Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739). He was like many church musicians today — he had two jobs. He had dual careers in law (as a magistrate and district governor) and music. As a member of a noble family, he was expected to “marry well,” but secretly wed his singing student, Rosanna Scalfi, a commoner. After Marcello’s death, the marriage was deemed unlawful and therefore Rosanna was not entitled to his estate. She appealed to his brother, Alessandro Marcello, who was also a musician and composer. I’m afraid I don’t know the outcome of the story. Apparently an opera was written about Benedetto and Rosanna by composer Joachim Raff (1822-1882).
Marcello was an extremely prolific composer, and composed almost 400 cantatas, in addition to keyboard works, choral works, oratorios and operas. He also wrote settings of the first 50 psalms, translated into Italian.
Traditionally when the choir has been on vacation during the summer, we have had solos, duets or small ensembles perform for the special music. This Sunday, sopranos Georgine Stark and Mary Kubota will be singing Marcello’s “Give ear unto me,” in addition to “O come hither” by Maurice Greene (1696-1755). I will be playing Marcello’s Psalm XX for the prelude and Psalm XIX for the postlude. We’ll be using the Hymn Mass for the liturgical parts of the service.
True Confessions: The last organ service I played was nearly a month ago and I’m feeling a little bit rusty!