Sarti, Giuseppe



Famous Italian composer, notable as the last of the really great Italian contrapuntists, and the teacher of the great Cherubini. Sarti was the son of a jeweler, and was born at Faenza. His father was a good amateur musician, who played the violin in the cathedral, and young Sard received most of his early musical instruction from the chapelmaster of the cathedral of his native place. Later he studied under Martini at Bologna. He became music director of the Faenza Theatre and organist at the cathedral from 1748 to 1750 and was Court chapelmaster and singing teacher to the Crown Prince at Copenhagen in 1756, also director of the Italian Opera in that city, and from 1770 to 1775 was conductor  of the Court Theatre. In 1769 Sarti visited London, and the following year was appointed professor of the Conservatory of 1'Ospedaletto, Venice. Later he became chapelmaster of the Duomo, Milan, and finally chapelmaster to the Empress Catherine II., of Russia in 1785. While filling this post Sarti raised the standard of the Italian Opera in Russia and wrote several notable works for the choir of the Empress. He composed about twenty-eight operas; many masses; misereres; cantatas and sonatas for harpsichord, besides choral works and other compositions. His first opera was produced in 1751 in his native town, and was followed by others, all more or less successful until II re pastore, 1753, which created a furore in Venice. From 1779 some of his greatest works were written. His choral works are models of beauty and perfection of style, and show him to have been a master of technical difficulties. Very few of them, however, have been published, and all except his masses have passed into oblivion. Sarti was the reputed inventor of an instrument for counting the vibrations of sound. He taught a number of celebrated musicians, among the greatest of whom was Cherubini, later his assistant. He made the acquaintance of Mozart in the later years of his life. One of Sarti's masses was performed as recently as 1880 at an Easter service at Milan Cathedral.