Marcello Psalms

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The Psalms of David that were published in Venice in eight folio volumes (1724-1726) bring into convergence an array of approaches to composition. Yet all of them pursue a single goal: to suit the antiquity of the subject to allusions to antiquity in the music. Peter Gay's term "pagan Christianity" sums up Marcello's methods of appealing of the sensibilities of other enthusiasts of "classical culture." Among other composers, Marcello was precocious in adopting this aim. Among Venetian noblemen, he was a leader in the breadth of intellect and the depth of his commitment.

Marcello was a master of networking in the Arcadian Academy (a chain of groups of nobles committed to pursuing the ideals of bucolic enclaves in ancient Greece. Much of pastoral imagery in art and music reflected this stance. The primary instance of Arcadia issued from the hills of the Janiculum in seventeenth-century Rome and enjoyed the extensive patronage of the exiled Queen, Cristina of Sweden, until her death in 1690. It was immediately after her passing that the larger cities of the Italian peninsula established their own groups to explore poetry and music aligned with the cultural values of the time.

Independent of the Arcadian network, Marcello rapidly won converts to his evocations of musical antiquity by sending drafts of each volume of the Psalms of David to composers and intellectuals viewed as leaders at the time. Those who responded to his gifts won the privilege of having their testimonials included in a publication. The best remembered today are Johann Mattheson (1681-1764), the Hamburg Kapellmeister who was also a prolific writer on music, and [ Georg Philip Telemann (1681-1767), Hamburg's most prolific composer. Eminent Italian composers included Francesco Gasparini (1661-1727), the maestro di cappella of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, [ Geminiano Giacomelli (1692-1740) (Piacenza), []Domenico Sarri (Naples), Antonio (1677-1726, Modena) and [ Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747, London), and the emigrant composers Francesco Antonio Conti (Vienna) and Stefano Andrea Fiorè (Turin). The rest (including Domenico Lazzarini and Girolamo Ascanio Giustiniani) were poets and dramatists allied with Marcello's ideals.