Concerto for flute and string in E major
(Edited by Carlo Ipata, TESORI MUSICALI TOSCANI Series)DVTMT 20573 24 Pages Baroque
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(b Naples, 7 Nov 1706; d Naples, 15 Feb 1761). Italian composer and instrumentalist. The only known facts of his life are that his parents were Domenico and Antonia Cangiano and that he was buried in the chapel of the Congregazione dei Musici di S Maria la Nova. He is principally known for having written the music for a satiric comic opera by P. Trinchera, La tavernola abentorosa, which, by its alleged impiety, offended both church and state authorities. This work illustrates a special chapter in the history of opera buffa, for it was a carnival entertainment written not for a public but for a monastic audience (a Neapolitan custom of the time). Records discovered by Prota-Giurleo show that La tavernola was performed in February 1741 in the establishments of Monteoliveto and SS Demetrio e Bonifacio. Trinchera’s plot dealt with the machinations of a hypocritical rogue disguised as a monk who, after gulling some humble Neapolitans, finally converts them all to the monastic life. Ecclesiastical dignitaries were not amused and, after an inquiry, the king ordered both the poet and his publisher arrested and copies of the libretto (which had not been authorized by the public censor) suppressed. Trinchera took sanctuary in the church of the Carmine, eventually suffered at least a month’s actual imprisonment, and was not released until the following January (his death by suicide was not connected with this incarceration, as is sometimes said, but with a later one, incurred for bankruptcy). No official blame for La tavernola fell on the composer.
In his own time Cecere’s reputation rested on his instrumental music. Napoli-Signorelli called him an ‘excellent contrapuntalist’ and a good violinist, although, as Mondolfi has observed, his surviving music suggests that he was a flautist. These works are characteristic of Italian chamber music about 1740–60. Thematic sections are built up in a mosaic fashion from short melodic ideas of no great lyrical distinction, with frequent repetitions, either literal or sequential. The harmonic language is narrow. The orchestral flute concertos each contain five movements, the ‘concerto’ for two flutes and bass only three. In the latter all three movements are in binary form without repeats, and a movement’s second section returns to start again in the tonic: the two sections differ in their developmental material and in the keys emphasized; brief dynamic contrasts are a constant feature.