Domenico Cimarosa

Italian Born 17 Dec 1749 Died 11 Jan 1801

Being from a family of limited means, Cimarosa had to rely on the free education provided by the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto.  Fortunately this provided him with a fine grounding in singing, composition and playing violin and keyboard.  His first serious operatic production was Le stravaganze del conte, given in 1772, and although initially unsuccessful in the field, his fortunes improved when his local rivals moved to Paris.  Throughout the next decade his reputation spread and he became established internationally.  In 1787 he was offered the post of maestro di capella for Catherine II of Russia, but his efforts were met with disinterest and he left in 1791 when his contract expired.

After a similar position in Vienna under Emperor Leopold II, Cimarosa returned to Naples and remained in Italy for the rest of his life.  Sympathising with the republican cause he composed a revolutionary hymn; unfortunately his fervour was somewhat premature since the revolution was crushed by King Ferdinand.  Angered by Cimarosa's attempts to appease him with tributary works, Ferdinand had him incarcerated.  Narrowly avoiding the death penalty, Cimarosa returned to freedom an ill man, and died amid rumours of having been poisoned by the state.

MIDI FILE - Sonata for harpsichord (complete) (9'46'')

Related composers: Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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