Francesco Mancini

Born: 16th Jan 1672
Died: 22nd Sept 1737

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Francesco Mancini belongs to a generation of composers including Fago and Sarro who established themselves during Alessandro Scarlatti’s absence from Naples between 1702 and 1708.

An important teacher, Mancini was Director of the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto as well as being first organist and maestro of the Capella Reale in Scarlatti’s absence. Upon Scarlatti’s return to Naples, Mancini worked as his deputy, only resuming his previous positions on the older composer’s death in 1725.

Mancini’s music is typically Neapolitan. His works are full of the sudden and unpredictable harmonic shifts which made early 18th century Neapolitan music sound so dramatic. His works include 29 operas, his operatic style combining contrapuntal elements of the past with the new buffa style, 7 serenatas, 12 oratorios, more than 200 hundred secular cantatas in addition to assorted sacred music and a small amount of instrumental music.

Perhaps best known for his recorder sonatas, Mancini’s vocal works are greatly undervalued and show a concise and masterful style in miniature, influenced of course by his master Scarlatti, but displaying an individual inventiveness in melody and recitative structure.

James Sanderson
Easter, 2005