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Giovanni Battista Pergolesi 1710-1736


As a child Pergolesi studied with Santini; at sixteen he was sent to Naples where he studied with Durante and Feo. Pergolesi had a remarkable ability for improvising on the violin. In his brief lifetime Pergolesi produced many operas, oratorios, cantatas, shorter sacred music, and some instrumental works. He is best known for "La serva padrona" (Rome, 1735), a splendid example of early opera buffa. Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (ca. 1730) was commissioned by the fraternity of S. Luigi di Palazzo to replace Alessandro Scarlatti's which the Neapolitans performed traditionally on Good Friday. Bach is known to have adapted and performed this work. In spite of tuberculosis, which took him at 26 years of age, Pergolesi maintained an optimistic outlook, continuing to compose to the very end.

Bach's World Contemporaries Chronology