10-24a: Music for Henry VII & VIII / Hilliard Ensemble 2008 - Alessandro Scarlatti Il Primo Omicidio / Jacobs 1997 - Dittersdorf Viola & Double-Bass Concertos / Vajnar 1998

1521 – Robert Fayrfax (English court composer)
1725 – Alessandro Scarlatti (Italian composer, father of Domenico)
1785 – Jean-Jacques Robson (Belgian composer)
1789 – Joaquín de Oxinaga (Spanish composer & organist)
1799 – Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (Austrian composer, violinist & silvologist)
1901 – Paul Henrion (French composer of popular songs)
1902 – Vladislav Zaremba [Владислав Заремба] (Ukrainian composer of Polish ancestry)
1912 – Mykola Lysenko [Микола Лисенко] (Ukrainian composer, pianist, conductor & ethnomusicologist)
1918 – Charles Lecocq (French composer of comic operas & operettas)

Well, we've already read about some musicians today who had other notable musicians in the family, and now we have Alessandro Scarlatti, who is not to be confused with his famous son Domenico, or the three other lesser-known guys from the same family who were also composers.

The name of Scarlatti always makes me think of a line in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces that I find very funny. It's where the protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly, proclaims that the greatest composer in history is obviously Scarlatti. That's funny for two reasons. First, because it's an opinion so contrary (as Ignatius J. Reilly generally is) to conventional wisdom - I mean, most people would probably say Bach, or Mozart, or Beethoven, or maybe Handel... but Scarlatti? The other reason it's funny is because he doesn't even say which Scarlatti he's talking about, and anyone who knows something about classical music knows that Alessandro is virtually as famous as Domenico. It's not like when you say "Bach" and it's assumed that Johann Sebastian is the one you mean.

Well, now look what you've gone and done... got me off onto an A Confederacy of Dunces tangent. Damn all of you! Did you know that this hilarious and wonderful novel has to be somewhere near the top of the list of books EVERYONE wishes would be made into a major motion picture, but still hasn't been? First they were going to make it with John Belushi playing Ignatius J. Reilly. Then John Waters was going to make it with Divine. Then John Candy was going to play the role (I think he would have been really great in it). Then Chris Farley was going to do it. And guess what? That's right... THEY ALL POOPED, before their respective projects could even get off the ground! The last actor who was planning on playing the role was Will Ferrell... kind of an odd choice, I think. He's tall enough (which Belushi wasn't). I suppose Will was planning on gaining a few or putting on a fat suit. The project was moving forward. A screen adaptation was made by Steven Soderbergh and Scott Kramer, the entire cast was chosen (with Lily Tomlin as Ignatius's mother), and the director was slated to be David Gordon Green. This was in 2005. The movie was to be filmed on location in the city where the story takes place, NEW ORLEANS. So, there you have it. Dead musicians, dead actors, dead movie projects, dead residents of a drowned city, a dead author who killed himself 12 years before his great novel won him the Pulitzer Prize. Pretty sad.

So anyway, Scarlatti. Also, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. That guy was all about Ditters.


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