Marcello, Benedetto

, a nobleman celebrated for musical knowledge, was born July 24, 1680, at Venice, and was the descendant of one of the most illustrious families of that republic. He had cultivated music so seriously and successfully under the guidance of the celebrated Gasparini, that no contemporary professor was more reverenced for musical science, or half so much praised for his abilities as a composer, as Marcello; and besides his musical productions, consisting of psalms, operas, | madrigals, songs, and cantatas, he was frequently his own poet, and sometimes assumed the character of lyric bard for other musicians. It is probable that Marcello had received some disgust in his early attempts at dramatic music; for, in 1720, he published a furious satire upon composers, singing-masters, and singers in general, under the title of “Teatro alia Moda,” or “An easy and certain Method of composing and performing Italian Operas in the modern manner.” But his great musical work, to which the late Mr. Avison’s encomiums aud Mr. Garth’s publication to English words, have given celebrity in our own country, was first printed at Venice, in 8 vols. folio, under the following title: “Estro poetico-arznonico, Parafrasi sopra i primi 50 Salmi, Poesia di Girciarno Ascanio Giustiniani, Musica di Benedetto Marcello, Patrizj Veneti, 1724 and 1725.” Dr. Burney, after a careful examination of this elaborate work, is of opinion, that though it has considerable merit, the author has been over-praised; as the subjects of many of his fugues and airs are not only common and old-fashioned at present, but were far from new at the time these psalms were composed. But, adds Dr. Burney, Marcello was a Venetian nobleman, as Venosa was a Neapolitan prince; both did honour to music by cultivating it; and both expected and received a greater return in fame than the legal interest of the art would allow. Marcello died at Brescia, June 25, 173<>, or, according to our principal authority, in 1741. He was author of a drama called “Arato in Sparta,” which was set by Ruggieri, and performed at Venice in 1704; and in 1710 he produced both the words and the music of an oratorio called “Giuditta.” He set the “Psyche” of Cassini about the same time; and in 1718 he published “Sonnets” of his own writing, without music. 1

1

By Dr. Bwrney in Hist, of Music and Rees’s Cyclopædia. —Dict. Hist.