Rassegna “Un Concerto al mese…”
24 February 2019
The musical duel was common practice in the Baroque. In a period in which musicians had to recourse to the protection and support of noble patrons, and nourish their personal prestige, it was a precious opportunity for professional display of technical, improvisational and expressive skills. The Arma Bianca: keyboards, harpsichord, organ, violin or the refined compositional mastery. When Bononcini arrived in London in 1720, by express invitation of Richard Boyle, Count of Burlington, his fame as a composer of Works in Europe was already consolidated. Welcomed as a composer in the prestigious Royal Academy of Music, he managed to overcome Handel himself in the representation number of his theatrical works and his presence in Londo, between 1721-24, was a real triumph. The real physical duel never happened, but the favour that the public reserved to this Italian in London aroused a subtle but powerful dispute between the opposing factions, among the paladins of the strong and magniloquent style of Handel, supported by the Family Reale, and the descriptive, melodic and filigree style of Bononcini, protected by the Duke of Marlborough. The comparison ended ten years later, however, at the death of Bononcini's patron, who could no longer count on strong social support. Shortly thereafter, a suspicion of plagiarism caused his definitive defeat in English soil. Let's imagine therefore to ideally recreate the musical atmosphere of the eighteenth century in London and read the evening's program as a reconstruction of a musical duel between Bononcini and Handel, an opportunity to compare the expressive figures of the two composers who faced (and often imitated) in London of the first quarter of the eighteenth century.