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24 October 2014
Pietro Alessandro Gaspare Scarlatti was an Italian composer from the Baroque period. He mainly acquired fame through his oratorios, cantatas and (Neapolitan) operas. He was the father of Domenico, who followed his father's example and became a composer himself.
In total, Scarlatti composed 38 oratorios, along with many masses and operas. His music has a spontaneous and unpredictable character, and at times a bit incoherent. Scarlatti had a great influence on the music of Georg Frideric Handel. Around 1708, the two composers met almost daily.
Albinoni studied violin and voice, but in the art of composing he was completely self-taught. He was born to a rich family, and he didn't have to work for the church (unlike his contemporaries such as Vivaldi, Zani and Geminiani), which gave him a lot of time and finances to work on his compositions from an early age. His first opera Zenobia, regina de Palmireni was performed in Venice for the first time in 1694. Even though he quickly grew to fame as a composer, little is known of Albinoni's life. He married in 1705, and the Kapellmeister of the St Mark's Basilica, his friend Antonio Biffi, was his best man at the wedding. Otherwise it seems he had little contact with the musical establishment of Venice, even though his operas were quite popular in the Italian cities. In 1722, Maximilian II of Bavaria invitied him to perform two of his operas in Munich. Around 1740, a collection of violin sonatas by Albinoni was published posthumously by a French editor. For a long time, people thought he had already died by then, but in reality he was living a secluded life in Venice, where he died at the age of 80 from diabetes.