Individual Composer

Tommaso Carapella

(b Cerreto Sannita, c1664; d Naples, 20 Sept 1736)

Italian composer. He was a foundling and was brought up in the Olivetan monastery in Naples; it is not known from whom he received his musical training. He is said to have served as organist of the church of the SS Annunziata in Naples (1679–81), and later as maestro di cappella of SS Trinità dei Pellegrini and S Anna dei Lombardi. Carapella did not write operas, but gained recognition with small-scale secular and sacred works. His Canzoni a due voci, dedicated to Emperor Charles VI and published in Naples in 1728, exemplify his melodic grace and contrapuntal skill. Many of Carapella’s works were occasional compositions written for local religious institutions or noble Neapolitan families such as the Pignatelli and the Carafa. His choruses for Duke Annibale Marchese’s tragedy Domiziano were published in the second volume of Marchese’s Tragedie cristiane (Naples, 1729) in which a short notice lists Carapella among such well-known Neapolitan masters as Durante, Leo and Mancini. That he was a well-received and respected composer may further be deduced from his prefatory letter to the fifth volume of Benedetto Marcello’s Estro poetico armonico (Venice, 1725/R) and from the fact that G.B. Martini included him in the Storia della musica (1770), praising his madrigal style. Carapella is said to have returned to the Monteoliveto monastery in 1729 and to have spent his remaining years there.


Il trionfo della castità per opera del glorioso S Nicolò Vescovo di Mira (orat), Naples, Congregazione di S Caterina a Celano, 1705, music lost

Peleo e Teti (serenata), Naples, 1714, music lost, lib GB-Lbl

Il genio austriaco (serenata), Naples, 1716, score I-Mc

Canzoni, 2vv, bc (Naples, 1728)

Choruses for Domiziano (tragedy, Duke Annibale Marchese), in A. Marchese: Tragedie cristiane, ii (Naples, 1729)

Miserere, 4vv, A-Wn; Confiteor Deo, 1v, bc, I-Nf; Il pecato (sacred cant.), S, A, bc, Nc

Secular cants., S, bc, all Nc: Fortunato uccellino; Quando l’ombrosa notte; Quest’era il chiaro fonte

[32] Arie gravi per la scuola di ben cantare, S, bc, A-Wn, GB-Lbl; Canzoni, 2vv, bc, I-PAc; other arias and occasional music