Benedetto Pamphili, 2023
This Week in Classical Music: April 24, 2023. Benedetto Pamphili. Sometimes we write about historic figures that, whereas indirectly concerned in composing or making music, significantly affected musical tradition, for instance, by means of their patronage, as librettists, or as music producers. Queen Christina might be probably the most well-known instance of a patron. In a really completely different means, Pietro Metastasio, who wrote libretti to operas by Vinci, Caldara, Hasse, and plenty of different opera seria composers, was additionally very influential. After which there was Lorenzo da Ponte: we all know him because the librettist to Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, and The Marriage of Figaro, however he additionally wrote libretti for 25 different operas by 11 composers, Antonio Salieri amongst them. The well-known impresario Sol Hurok is an instance of a robust producer who formed a number of musical careers.
Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili, whom we’re celebrating at present, was outstanding in all three areas: he was an vital benefactor, he wrote a number of libretti, and he staged many productions, a few of which had been premiers. Benedetto Pamphili was born in Rome on April 25th of 1653 right into a outstanding household whose identify in Italian is usually spelled Pamphilj, the ending “j” indicating an extended “e” sound. Benedetto’s great-grandfather was Pope Harmless X, whose portrait you’ll be able to see under. (The portrait, one of many biggest ever created, was painted by Diego Velázquez. It now hangs in a separate room in Galleria Doria Pamphilj; it alone is well worth the worth of the ticket. Learn extra about it right here). Benedetto’s mother and father had been Cardinal Camillo Pamphilj and Olimpia Aldobrandini, from a no much less highly effective Aldobrandini household. With the intention to marry Olimpia, Camillo needed to surrender his cardinalship. The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, which homes the gallery, was a part of Olimpia’s dowry; previous to her marriage, it was referred to as Palazzo Aldobrandini (the unique Palazzo Pamphilj is on Piazza Navona and is now owned by the Brazilian embassy).
Benedetto, who inherited a fortune, additionally had a substantial revenue from quite a few ecclesiastical positions he was granted by Pope Harmless XI. He spent a lot of it on artwork and patronage. Benedetto was a gifted author and was admitted into two prestigious Academies: Accademia degli Umoristi, a literary society whose members had been a few of the greatest writers of the time (regardless of its identify the Academy wasn’t essentially devoted to humoristic arts), and Accademia dell’Arcadia, about which we wrote an entry a while in the past. As music was Benedetto’s favourite artwork, he utilized his literary skills to writing libretti. Operas had been prohibited in Rome by Pope Clement XI in 1703, so most of those libretti had been for oratorios and cantatas, which quickly changed operas as accepted genres (texts for 88 cantatas are extant). A number of of Benedetto’s operas had been staged earlier than the prohibition went into impact, for instance, Alessandro Scarlatti’s La santa Dimna, offered in Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in 1687.
Benedetto employed a number of maestro di musica, amongst them Lulier and Cesarini. Arcangelo Corelli performed in his orchestra and was handsomely rewarded for it. Bernardo Pasquini, a composer of operas and oratorios, was additionally supported by Benedetto, as was Giovanni Bononcini. His most well-known cost was Handel through the younger composer’s keep in Rome. They turned associates and Handel devoted a number of cantatas and oratorios to his patron.
Benedetto held weekly musical occasions in his palace, as did another powererful cardinals, like Pietro Ottoboni and Carlo Colonna; he additionally sponsored productions in different theaters. What’s fascinating about these productions is the scale of the orchestras they employed. We’re used to the staging of Baroque operas supported by scaled-down teams, typically consisting of simply a number of gamers: a few violins, a viola da gamba, a theorbo, and a harpsichord. In keeping with Lowell Lindgren, Benedetto employed 32 musicians in Scarlatti’s Il trionfo della gratia and 60 for Lulier’s S Maria Maddalena de’ pazzi. Perhaps the musical accompaniment of Baroque operas doesn’t need to sound so skinny in spite of everything.