Giuseppe Giordani


Born: December 19, 1751 Died: January 4, 1798
Giuseppe Giordani was an important Italian composer best known for his operas, oratorios, and sacred music. Among his greatest successes was his 1787 oratorio La distruzione di Gerusalemme, believed to be the first sacred drama presented in a theater. It drew enthusiastic praise from the local press and positive commentary from such notables as Goethe, who was present at the Naples premiere. Giordani was born into a well-to-do family in Naples on December 19, 1751. He exhibited musical talent early on and enrolled at the Santa Maria di Loreto Conservatory in Naples, where he studied under Antonio Sacchini, Fedele Fenaroli, and Gennaro Manna. The loss of his father in 1770 -- when Giuseppe was 18 -- apparently did not derail his education, for he would secure an important post, that of secondary maestro di cappella at the Tesoro di San Gennaro, in Naples, in 1774.

He was producing his first compositions now and taking on students as well. By his early twenties, he was among the most prominent musicians in Naples, having acquaintances that included Domenico Cimarosa and Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli, both of whom were fellow students at the Santa Maria Conservatory. 1779 was a pivotal year in Giordani's life: he married the prominent singer Emanuela Cosmi in the spring and in the fall his opera L'Epponina was chosen as the inaugural work for the new opera house in Florence, the Teatro della Palla a Corda. The following year he was honored when he was taken into the Accademia Filarmonica in Modena.

In the 1780s, Giordani focused his career on the major Italian cities to the north, particularly Bologna, while still maintaining ties in Naples and other important cultural centers. He scored a great success with his opera La disfatta di Dario at La Scala in 1789. That same year he accepted the coveted post of maestro di cappella (and later organist, as well) at the Fermo Cathedral. He took on a second, similar post two years later in Fermo, this one at the Holy Spirit Church. Despite these demanding activities, Giordani continued composing with success: his 1793 oratorio, Le tre ore di agonia di N.S.G.C., was premiered in Fermo to an enthusiastic reception and went on to gain considerable currency throughout Italy. Among his last works were the oratorios La Betulia liberata (1796) and Saul (1798). Giordani died in Fermo in 1798.

There are 24 Giuseppe Giordani recordings available.

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