Francisco Caporale

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Francisco Caporale , also Francis Caporale (* around 1700 in Naples (?); † April 15, 1746 in London ) was an Italian cellist and composer .


Little is known about the life of Caporale. He is historically passed down through his stay in England. It is unclear z. B. when and where he was born. The home of several of his children in Naples, however, suggests that this is his hometown. Even his first name is unclear. Only the first name Francisco or Francis can be documented today. His will (“ Will of Francis Caporale ”) exists: he drew it up on September 6, 1745 and it was entered in the will register on April 16, 1746.

Beginning of Caporale's will, April 16, 1746. National Archives, London

His signature with full name is also on the 58th position of the founding document of the “ Fund for the support of Decay'd musicians ”, the later Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain , which 228 musicians (including Handel ) signed in November 1739. The first name "Andrea", to be found in all relevant encyclopedias after 1868, is temporarily no longer verifiable. Even in Eduard Bernsdorf's New Universal Lexicon of Music from 1856 (vol. 1, p. 502), as well as in the previous literature, he is listed without a first name. "André" appears for the first time in the second edition of the Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique by François-Joseph Fétis in 1868, four years later (as "Andrea") in Hermann Mendel's Musical Conversations Lexicon (p. 311 ), eleven years later it is also in the first edition of A dictionary of music and musicians (Vol. 1, p. 306) by Sir George Grove . As was customary at the time, Fétis did not give the source of his knowledge of the first name. Since then it has been included in all books from there without further examination. The English music historian Charles Burney (1726-1814), who Caporale heard as a youth frequently mentioned his name in several places in the fourth volume of his general music history ( General History of Music , Vol. IV, 1789), but never the first name.

There are contradicting statements about Caporale's arrival in England: Most encyclopedias ( MGG , Grove , Gerber , Fétis , Eitner ) indicate 1735, while Burney did the “fine solo” in Arianna in Creta (first performance on January 26, 1734) for Caporale mentions which one is suitable to show his abilities. So he must have arrived in London in 1733, because Handel had already completed the composition of the opera on October 5, 1733. In the same book on page 657, however, Burney reports that Caporale reached London in 1735. The assumption is that the authors after Burney simply took over this information without checking and found it in the lexicons and music history books. In London he was principal cellist in Georg Friedrich Handel's orchestra for about twelve years . Caporale is first mentioned by name in a score by Handel in Alexander's Feast , which premiered on February 19, 1736, in the aria Softly sweet in Lydians measures (No. 11). ( Autograph , f.34)

Caporale probably played a cello with five strings (C, G, d, a, e or d) at this time and was generally admired in London for its full, sweet tone - also by Handel, who was in almost all major works of this period wrote remarkably frequently and high-lying solos for cello: Arias in which the cello has its own obbligato part with a separate figured bass part only appear twice in Rome in 1707, once in his opera Radamisto (London 1720) and only then again in the Time from 1733 before. At first it was Gentle airs, melodious strains (No. 11) in Athalia on June 10, 1733, and it is very likely that this aria was also intended for Caporale. So far there is no proof that his violoncello has five strings. But Caporal's sonatas and Handel's solos are all ideal for such an instrument, becoming so resonant that it is hard to imagine that they were played any other way. It is generally suspected that many Neapolitan cellists also used such an instrument, albeit not exclusively: some of the literature by Leonardo Leo , Francesco Scipriani and Pasqualino de Marzis works better with five strings. There is also a drawing by Giacomo Cervetto (around 1750 as "Nosey"), also an Italian cellist working in London, playing a five-string cello. Ultimately, the standing player of a violoncello with five strings depicted in the anonymous English pen drawing Handel directing an oratorio (Mansell Collection, British Museum, London) from the 1740s is very likely Caporale.

Is this cellist in Handel's orchestra Caporale? - Excerpt from Handel directing an oratorio , ca.1740, British Museum, London

It is noticeable that Handel set these violoncello solo parts less virtuoso, but more vocal, noisy or sweet, and thus clearly had the strengths and weaknesses of his first cellist in mind. As an example of such an aria, the aria Due bell'alme innamorate (No. 5) from his last opera Deidamia is often cited in the literature , which Handel with “Violonc. soli, e harpsichord e Liuto. ”, but only allows the cello a solo of eight bars. We know that Caporale played this, because in the same score Handel writes a system for a middle voice for the aria Come all'urto aggressor (No. 31) within the orchestral setting , that of “ Bassons [,] Viole [,] Sg r Caporale violoncell ”was played. (This is, however, quite virtuoso.)

Of course, the other solos in Handel's orchestra from the period 1733–1746, which also clearly use the larger range of the five-string instrument, are more representative.

According to Ernst Ludwig Gerber, however, Caporales' technical skills on the cello did not have the best reputation and “his talents only shone until they were eclipsed in 1749 by the incomparably greater skills of the Pasqualini [Pasqualino de Marzis] and the older Cervetto . “(The year seems to have been chosen too late: Caporale had been dead for three years, Pasqualini for two years, Cervetto had lived in London long before that.) And Burney said of Caporale that, although he was neither a great musician nor equipped with a strong hand, only because of its full, sweet and melodious tone.

Several times between 1741 and 1745 advertisements appeared in the London Daily Post and General Advertiser announcing the performance of a composition Caporales for his instrument. There is talk of both a “Solo on the Violoncello” and a “Concerto upon the Violoncello”. Whether it is the same piece or different compositions remains in the dark for the time being. Johann Ernst Galliard , who is represented with his own set of six sonatas in Johnson's London print of 12 cello sonatas (6 by Caporale, 6 by Galliard), laments the loss of his colleague in his foreword dedicated to the Prince of Wales in 1746 : “ The work which I now humbly offer to your Royal Highness's acceptance, will suffer by the loss of Sig r Caporale, who was engaged with me in the design, and whose excellent performance wou'd have made it the more entertaining ”. ("... whose excellent playing would have made the performance far more entertaining.")

The April 21, 1746 edition of the Daily Post and General Advertiser reported: “ As the late Signor Caporali, who died on Tuesday last… ” The previous Tuesday was April 15 of the Julian calendar.

From September 1754 to June 1755 a Signor Caporale stayed in Dublin. According to Faulkner's Dublin Journal of February 3, 1757, however, a caporale also took part in a concert in Dublin. It is not unlikely that it is Caporale's son Nichola, who had inherited his father's instruments and therefore probably played the cello himself.

Charles Burney on Caporale

  • Scalzi had, however, after these a very plaintive and pleasing air: 'Son qual stanco Pellegrino', with a fine solo part for the violoncello, intended to display the abilities of Caporale, just come over. ”(“ Scalzi had a very plaintive and lovely aria after this: 'Son qual stanco Pellegrino', with a beautiful solo part for the violoncello, in which Caporale could show his skills. ”)
  • 'Come all' urto ', is an admirable composition, with a fine solo part, originally designed for Caporales's violoncello. ”(“ 'Come all' urto 'is an admirable composition, specially designed for Caporales cello. ”)
  • In 1735, CAPORALE, the celebrated performer on the violoncello, arrived in England; and thoug no deep musician, nor gifted with a very powerful hand, he was always heard with great partiality, from the almost single merit, of a full, sweet, and vocal tone. ”(“ In 1735 Caporale, the celebrated violoncello player, arrived in England; and although neither a great musician nor equipped with a strong hand - he was listened to with particular fondness solely because of his full, sweet and melodious tone. ”)
  • And in 1741, he bestowed on the same charity the performance if his serenata calles 'Parnasso in Festa'; in which were introduced concertos and solos,…, and on the violoncello by Caporale. ”(“ And in 1741 he [Handel] gave a charity concert with the performance of his Serenata 'Parnasso in Festa' , into which he added concertos and solos ... also one for the cello, written by Caporale. ")
  • Festing, Collet, and Brown were our principal performers at this time on the violin, among the natives; and Veracini, Carbonelli, and Pasquali, among the Italians. Caporale, Pasqualino, and Cervetto, violoncellos. "(" Festing , Collet and Brown were our leading violinists at this time [1744] by the locals; Veracini , Carbonelli and Pasquali by the Italians. Caporale, Pasqualino and Cervetto by the cellists. ")
  • CAPORALE the favorite violoncello player of these times was of the band,… PASQUALINO and the elder CERVETTO, the rivals of Caporale at this time, had infinitely more hand, and knowledge of the finger-board, as well as of Music in general; but the tone of both was raw, crude, and uninteresting. ”(“ Caporale, the leading cellist of the time [1745] belonged to the orchestra,… Pasqualino and the older Cervetto, Caporales' competitors at the time, had a lot more dexterity and dexterity as well as knowledge of music in general; but its sound was both rough , gross and uninteresting. ")


Only a few of his compositions have survived, including the six sonatas for violoncello and basso continuo printed in 1746 and two other individual works that appeared in collective editions with works by other composers.

  • Six sonatas ("Solos") for violoncello and basso continuo (A major, B major, D major, D minor, F major, G major). In: XII. Solos for the violoncello, VI. of Sig r Caporale; & VI. compos'd by M r Galliard… Dedicated to… the Prince of Wales. J. Johnson, London 1746.
  • Sonata in D minor (violoncello and basso continuo). In: Six solos for two violoncellos compos'd by Sig r Bononcini & other Eminent Authors. (No. 4) John Simpson, London 1736 (?), 1748.
  • Minuet for flute. In: The Delightful Pocket Companion For the German Flute Vol. II, Vol. 4, Robert Bremner, London approx. 1745–1763.
  • Solo (concerto) or several, for violoncello and orchestra (around 1741, lost)


  • Charles Burney : A general history of music:… Vol. 4 , London 1789, Reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 .
  • John W. Grubbs: Caporale, Andrea. In: Music in the past and present . (MGG 1.). Bärenreiter, Kassel, Vol. 15, 1973, p. 1306.
  • Ute Zingler: Studies on the development of the Italian cello sonata from its beginnings to the middle of the 18th century (dissertation, Frankfurt am Main, 1967).
  • Edmund van der Straeten: History of the violoncello, the viol da gamba… W. Reeves, London 1915/1971.
  • Ernst Ludwig Gerber: New historical-biographical dictionary of the Tonkünstler. Kühnel, Leipzig 1812, p. 631.
  • Gustav Schilling: Encyclopedia of the Entire Musical Sciences or Universal Lexicon of Music, Second Volume. FH Köhler, Stuttgart 1835, reprint, Strauss & Cramer, Leutershausen, ISBN 3-487-05112-5 , p. 118.
  • Robert Eitner: Biographical-Bibliographical Sources Lexicon. Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1900, vol. 2, p. 316 f.
  • John Greenacombe / Walter Kreyszig: Francisco Caporale. In: Annette Landgraf and David Vickers: The Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia. Cambridge University Press 2009, ISBN 978-0-521-88192-0 , p. 122.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Testament Caporales. Will Registers, Edmunds Quire Numbers: 97-144. Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions. National Archives.
  2. Signature list of the “ Fund for the support of Decay'd musicians ( Memento of the original from October 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Baselt, Bernd : Händel-Handbuch: Volume 2. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1984, p. 453, ISBN 978-85-214-5852-4 .
  4. ^ Bernd Baselt: Thematic-systematic directory. Stage works. In: Walter Eisen (Ed.): Handel Handbook: Volume 1 , Deutscher Verlag für Musik , Leipzig 1978, ISBN 3-7618-0610-8 . Unchanged reprint, Kassel 2008, ISBN 978-3-7618-0610-4 , p. 162
  5. ^ British Library / British Museum X.0800 / 667
  6. MGG 1, Vol. 15, p. 1306.
  7. ^ Terence Best: Deidamia. Preface to the Halle Handel Edition, Bärenreiter, Kassel 2001, p. IX.
  8. ^ Gerber, Ernst Ludwig : New historical-biographical lexicon of the Tonkünstler. Kühnel, Leipzig 1812, p. 631.
  9. ^ Owein Edward: The New Grove…. Vol. 3, p. 755.
  10. Nona Pyron: Foreword to Six Solos… Translated from the English by Helga Ewert. Grancino Editions, Fullerton 1982.
  11. Daily Post, April 21, 1746.
  12. MGG 2, Vol. 4, Columns 135-136.
  13. ^ Charles Burney: A general history of music: ... Vol. 4. London 1789, reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 , p. 373.
  14. ^ Charles Burney: A general history of music:… Vol. 4. London 1789, reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 , p. 435.
  15. ^ Charles Burney: A general history of music:… Vol. 4. London 1789, reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 , p. 657.
  16. ^ Charles Burney: A general history of music: ... Vol. 4. , London 1789, reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 , p. 660.
  17. ^ Charles Burney: A general history of music:… Vol. 4. London 1789, reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 , p. 663.
  18. ^ Charles Burney: A general history of music: ... Vol. 4. London 1789, reprint of the Cambridge Library Collection, 2011, ISBN 978-1-108-01642-1 , p. 669.