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YON (1822-1847)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 977 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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YON (1822-1847), German poet, was born on the 13th of March , spent a considerable time at Rome about this period, since his cantatas and other compositions contain frequent allusions to Rome and noble Roman families. There is, however, no proof that he ever performed the oratorio S. Giovanni Battista in the Lateran. Documents in the archives at Turin relate that in 1677 he arrived there with the mistress of Alvise Contarini, with whom he had eloped from Venice. Contarini demanded that both should be given up to him, or failing that, that Stradella should not be allowed to exercise his profession until the lady had been either placed in a convent or made his legitimate wife. Stradella was protected by the regent of Savoy, the duchess Giovanni Battista de Nemours, and the Contarini family, indignant at his audacity, sent two hired assassins to Turin, by whom Stradella was wounded but not murdered. We hear of Stradella last at Genoa. An opera by him, La Forza dell' amor paterno, was given there in 1678, and his last composition, Il Barcheggio (i.e. a " Water-Music "), was performed on the 16th of June 1681 in honour of the marriage of Carlo Spinola and Paola Brignole, which was solemnized on the 6th of July of the same year. Documents in the archives at Modena inform us that in February 1682 Stradella was murdered at Genoa by three brothers of the name of Lomellini, whose sister he had seduced. It is extremely improbable that Stradella had any great reputation as a singer, since the great Italian singers of the 17th century were almost exclusively castrati; but he may well have been a teacher of singing, and he appears to have instructed his lady pupils in Genoa on the harpsichord. He is principally important as a composer of operas and chamber-cantatas, although compared with his contemporaries his output was small. In spite of his dissolute life his command of the technique of composition was remarkable, and his gift of melodic invention almost equal to that of A. Scarlatti, who in his early years was much influenced by Stradella. His best operas are Il Floridoro, also known as Il Moro per amore, and Il Tres polo tutore, a comic opera in three acts which worthily carried on the best traditions of Florentine and Roman comic opera in the 17th century. His church music, on which his reputation has generally been based, is of less importance, though the well-known oratorio S. Giovanni Battista displays the same skill in construction and orchestration (so far as the limited means at his disposal permitted) as the operas. A serenata for voices and two orchestras, Qual prodigo ch'io, miri, was used by Handel as the basis of several numbers in Israel in Egypt, and was printed by Chrysander (Leipzig, 1888); the MS., however, formerly in the possession of Victor Schoelcher, from which Chrysander made his copy, has entirely disappeared. The well-known aria Pietd, signore, also sung to the words Se i ,niei sospiri, cannot possibly be a work of Stradella, and there is every reason to suppose that it was composed by Fetis, Niedermeyer or Rossini. The finest collection of Stradella's works extant is that at the Biblioteca Estense at Modena, which contains 148 MSS., including four operas, six oratorios and several other compositions of a semi-dramatic character. A collection of cantate a voce sola was bequeathed by the Contarini family to the library of St Mark at Venice; and some MSS. are also preserved at Naples and in Paris. Eight madrigals, three duets, and a sonata for two violins and bass will be found among the Additional Iv1SS._at the British Museum, five pieces among the Harleian MSS., and eight cantatas and a motet among those in the library at Christ Church, Oxford. The Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge possesses a large number of his chamber-cantatas and duets. See also Heinz Hess, Die Opera Alessandro Stradellas (Leipzig, 1905), which includes the most complete catalogue yet made of Stradella's extant works; Catelani, Delle Opere di A. Stradella instenti Hell' archivio musicale della r. biblioteca palatina di Modena (Modena, 1865); and Sedley Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel to other Composers (Cambridge, 1906).
End of Article: YON (1822-1847)

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