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Home » Italian Composers » Jommelli

Niccolò Jommelli (1714-1774) & His Rival Domènec Terradellas (1713-1751)

Jommelli is credited with the invention of crescendo and diminuendo, effects which were not employed during the baroque era. See page 513 of Music in European Capitals: The Galant Style, 1720-1780 by Daniel Heartz (NewOlde.com review), excerpted here:

[Quoting from Burney:]

. . . . Since the discovery which the genius Stamitz first made, every effect has been tried which such an aggregate of sound can produce; it was here that the Crescendo and Diminuendo had birth; and the Piano, which was before chiefly used as an echo, with which it is generally synonimous, as well as the Forte, were found to be musical colours which had their shades, as much as red or blue in painting.

. . .

    Other commentators of the time have similar things to say about the crescendo, the origins of which they attribute to Jommelli. Reichart in 1774 says he experienced the wonder of it at Mannheim. "They tell us that when Jommelli first introduced this in Rome, the auditors gradually rose from their seats during the crescendo, and only at the diminuendo noted that it had taken their breaths away. I myself have experienced the process at Mannheim." Abbé Vogler, writing at Mannheim four years later credited Jommelli as inventor: "to him belong the thanks . . . for waxing and waning of the parts and especially for the raging, fiery crescendo." Schubart, an authority on all matters musical pertaining to Mannheim and Stuttgart, confirmed the point. "Jommelli also raised himself to the level of a musical inventor. . . . The more precise specifications of musical color and especially the overpowering crescendo and decrescendo are his!" [Footnotes omitted.]

Performance

Handel. La Didone (Rome 1746). Ensemble Serse. Didone: Tom Verney, countertenor; Enea: Calvin Wells, countertenor; Jarba: Ronan Busfield, tenor; Selene: Alex Pullinger, countertenor; Araspe: Greg Pritchard, countertenor; Osmida: James Hall, countertenor. Chad Kelly, Musical Director & Harpsichord. Gavin Kibble, cello. George Clifford, leader. Lond Handel Festival, Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, London. 5 April 2014. 4-8.40 pm. Details.

Recordings

Domènec Terradellas (1713-1751). Merope (Rome 1751). RCOC. Forthcoming. Details (pdf). Juan Bautista Otero, Real Compañía Ópera de Cámara (RCOC). Merope: Verónica Cangemi or Sabina Puértolas, soprano; Epitide: Sunhae Im, soprano; Polifonte: Magnus Staveland, tenor; Trasimede: Anna Bonitatibus, mezzo-soprano; Argia: Ditte Andersen, soprano; Licisco: Mari Eriksmoen, soprano; Anassandro: Xavier Sabata, countertenor.
Jommelli. Sacred Music (Rome 1751). dhm (1 CD, July 2013). Giulio Prandi, Ghislieri Choir & Consort. Emanuela Galli, soprano; Romina Basso, contralto; Francesca Boncompagni, soprano; Karin Selva, soprano. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Domènec Terradellas (1713-1751). Sesostri (Rome, 1751). RCOC (3 CDs, July 2011). Details / Liner Notes (pdf) / Score available. Juan Bautista Otero, Real Compañía Ópera de Cámara (RCOC). Sesostri: Sunhae Im, soprano (video); Amasi: Kenneth Tarver, tenor (video); Nitocri: Alexandrina Pendatchanska, soprano (video); Artenice: Ditte Andersen, soprano (video); Orgonte: Raffaella Milanesi, soprano (video); Fanete: Tom Randle, tenor (video). (Terradellas apparently was murdered in Rome in 1751, 21 years after Vinci met the same fate.) This is an outstanding opera, performance and recording. Highly recommended! No track times or total times included! tt - CD 1: 75:52; CD 2: 70:11; CD 3: 67:57. The libretto includes an English tranlation, unlike Artaserse. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Domènec Terradellas (1713-1751). Arias and overtures from Artaserse, Merope & Sesostri. Fuga Libera (1 CD, April 2009). Details. Stefano Demicheli, Dolce & Tempesta. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano. "[Terradellas'] death in Rome in 1751 has remained a mystery to the present day. One version has it that he was murdered on the orders of his arch-rival Niccolò Jommelli." US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Domènec Terradellas (1713-1751). Artaserse (S. Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice 1744). RCOC 0800/3 (3 CDs, April 2009). Details. Juan Bautista Otero, Real Compañía Ópera de Cámara (RCOC). Artaserse: Anna Maria Panzarella, soprano; Arbace: Céline Ricci, soprano; Mandane: Marina Comparato, mezzo-soprano; Semira: Sunhae Im, soprano; Artabano: Augustin Prunell-Friend, tenor; Megabise: Mariví Blasco, soprano. Italian/Spanish/French libretto included. A poorly OCRed old English translation (1800) is online (scroll down). Burney: "Terradellas seems to have written all his songs for performers of abilities; for his airs are never made easy and trivial in order to spare the singer." A fine opera and performance, if you can tolerate the non-HIP harp continuo, which is relatively innocuous in comparison to the noisy strumming guitar and organ found on numerous opera recordings. Highly recommended. History of Artaserse -- this was the 24th setting, more or less. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. Armida Abbandonata. (Naples 1770). FNAC Music 592326 (3 CDs 1994). Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques. Armida: Ewa Malas-Godlewska, soprano; Rinaldo: Claire Brua, mezzo-soprano; Tancredi: Gilles Ragon, tenor; Erminia: Véronique Gens, soprano; Rambaldo: Laura Polverelli, mezzo-soprano; Ubaldo: Patricia Petibon, soprano; Dano: Cécile Perrin, soprano; Coro: Viviane Durand, soprano; Robert Expert, countertenor; Jean-François Novelli, tenor; Luc Coadou, bass. The best Jommelli opera recording to date. Unfortunately, the booklet designer apparently suffered from dyslexia and color blindness. The libretto is barely usable, with centered texts and bizarre color choices. US | UK | FR | CA | JP

Remastered version issued on Ambroisie AMB 9983 (2005). Ambroisie's libretto is even worse than FNAC's, as the font point size has been reduced to the Ambroisie norm, a tiny font unreadable by anyone over 40, which as Brian Robins notes "will cause some to seek out their binoculars." The notion of usability, either of websites or CD booklets, does not seem to have penetrated France. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

Niccolò Jommelli. Don Trastullo. (Comic intermezzo). Opus 111 OPS 30-280 (1 CD 2001). Antonio Florio, Cappella de'Turchini. Don Trastulo: Giuseppe Naviglio, bass; Arsenia: Roberta Invernizzi, soprano; Giambarone: Rosario Totaro, tenor. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. Veni Creator Spiritus. Opus 111 OPS 30-254 (1 CD 1999). Also works by Porpora, Barbella, Sabatino & Cafaro. (Treasures of Naples, volume 9.) Roberta Invernizzi, soprano. Antonio Florio, Cappella de' Turchini. Truly superb works, especially the motet by Sabatino. An essential recording. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. Il Vologeso (Stuttgart 1766). Orfeo C 420 983 F (3 CDs 1998). Frieder Bernius, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. Vologeso: Jörg Waschinski, sopranist; Lucilla: Helene Schneiderman, mezzo-soprano; Flavio: Mechthild Bach, soprano; Berenice: Gabriele Rossmanith, soprano; Aniceto: Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Lucio Vero: Lothar Odinius, tenor. Standout performance by sopranist Waschinski in the title role. Orfeo saved space and enhanced usability in this set and also in Didone Abbandonata by putting the notes and biographies in one booklet and the 4-language libretto in another. Each booklet fits in a separate leaf of the jewel box. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. Vesperae in Sancto Petro Romae / Miserere. Astrée E 8590 (2 CDs 1996). Bernard Fabre-Garrus, A Sei Voci. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. La Passione di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo. K617 063 (2 CDs 1996). Alessandro de Marchi, Berliner Barock Akademie, Ensemble Vocale Sigismondo d'India, Ensemble Vocale Eufonia. Maddalena: Anke Herrmann, soprano; Giovanni: Debora Beronesi, mezzo-soprano; Pietro: Jeffrey Francis, tenor; Giuseppi d'Armatea: Maurizio Picconi, bass. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. Lamentazioni per il Mercoledi Santo. Virgin VC 545 202-2 (1 CD 1996). Gérard Lesne, director and countertenor, Il Seminario Musicale. Véronique Gens, soprano. Christophe Rousset, harpsichord. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Niccolò Jommelli. Didone abbandonata (Rome 1747, version Stuttgart 1763). Orfeo C 381 953 F (3 CDs 1995). Frieder Bernius, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (modern instruments but natural horns). Didone: Dorothea Röschmann, soprano; Selene: Mechthild Bach, soprano; Enea: Martina Borst, mezzo-soprano; Araspe: Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Iarba: William Kendall, tenor; Osminda: Arno Raunig, sopranist. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Pergolesi, Leo, Jommelli, Traetta, Galuppi, Paisiello, Piccinni & Sacchini. Arie del'700 Italiano. Hungaroton HCD 32253 (1 CD 2004). Details. Mónika González, soprano. Fabio Pirona, Savaria Baroque Orchestra. Includes comparative settings of "Se cerca, se dice" from L'Olimpiade by Pergolesi, Paisiello & Piccinni and "Lieto così talvolta" from Pergolesi's Adriano in Siria. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

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