Niccolo Jommelli (1714-1774)
A trendsetting composer in the mid-eighteenth century, Niccolò Jommelli’s style is marked by an eclecticism that one might expect from a composer so well-traveled. He received his training at the conservatories of Sant’Onofrio and Pietà dei Turchini in Naples, where he studied under such masters as Prota, Feo, and Fago. Later, he worked under Padre Martini’s tutelage in Bologna. Jommelli’s first successes in Neapolitan opera came between 1737 and 1740, and shortly thereafter he received his first permanent position as musical director of
the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Venice. Over the thirty years that followed he spent extended periods of time in Vienna, Rome (where he served as maestro coadiutore and later maestro di cappella of Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican) and Stuttgart, before finally returning to Naples near the end of his life.
Jommelli’s most active period of sacred composition was the early 1750s when he was most focused on his duties at St. Peter’s. During his time at the Incurabili he wrote several liturgical works, but these were almost all for treble voices. In addition, his duties in Stuttgart included the supervision of church music, but very few compositions of his own are left from this period.