Benedetto Marcello's oratorio Il trionfo della Poesia, e della Musica may be considered as part of a "pair," including also his earlier Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagione (see volume B118); they are certainly complementary. Both were written to mark the feast of the Assumption, and were certainly, in the case of Il pianto, and probably, in the case of Il trionfo, written for the church of San Giovanni, the Jesuit establishment in Macerata, in the Marche. Il trionfo has many characteristics of the oratorio genre as Italy understood it in the early eighteenth century. The story is carried forward by a small number of characters, with little involvement of a chorus. The nature of the text, an allegorical representation of the assumption of the Virgin Mary, is, however, less expected. The feast (15 August) celebrates the death and translation of Mary, a story that survives in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Coptic sources. In Il trionfo, however, any religious narrative is eschewed for a debate between Music and Poetry. Using the building blocks of the oratorio, Marcello achieves a dynamic, dramatic work by introducing variations into the recitative-da capo pattern. The slightly passť academic style of Il pianto has been lifted in tone, leading to the lighter, more homophonic approach of the early classical style.
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