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Aurisicchio [Euresicchio, Eurisechio, Orisicchio], Antoniolocked

  • James L. Jackman
  •  and Enrico Careri

(b Naples, c1710; d Rome, 3/Sept 4, 1781). Italian composer. He studied in Rome, according to Giazotto, and supported himself by playing the organ in various Roman churches. Then, like so many southern Italian composers of his generation, he made his professional début in Naples with a comic opera in the Teatro dei Fiorentini, in 1734. To judge from his operatic production he was back in Rome again by the early 1740s, where the librettos of his works call him maestro di cappella napoletano – a conventional honorific which may or may not be taken at face value. In 1747 he became a member of the Congregazione dei musici di S Cecilia, to which all professional Roman musicians belonged. By 1751 he was working as assistant to Francesco Ciampi, maestro di cappella of S Giacomo degli Spagnoli and, after Ciampi's death, succeeded him as chief director on 30 November 1756, a position he held until at least 1766.

A libretto of 1754 names Aurisicchio as ‘Virtuoso di Camera’ of Cardinal Domenico Orsini d'Aragona. On 28 November 1776 he was appointed maestro di cappella of the Congregazione dei musici di S Cecilia, remaining in this important position until 15 April 1779. Aurisicchio's death in September 1781 was of sufficient public interest for his funeral service in S Maria in Via to be reported in the Roman news journals. The legend that Aurisicchio died young, reported by earlier historians, seems to have been started by Burney who, having visited Rome in 1770, ought to have known better.

A hint about Aurisicchio's personality may be found in an account written to Padre Giovanni Battista Martini in 1755 by Prospero Marmiroli of a social gathering in Rome at which Aurisicchio boasted of the praise he had had from Martini for his own works; Marmiroli dismissed him as a knave and a fool (‘gran birbo è quell'Asino Regnicolo’). However, it should be remembered that Martini had in fact earlier found Aurisicchio's music worth serious technical consideration, as the letter dated 12 August 1747 from another Roman correspondent, Girolamo Chiti, shows. Whether or not Aurisicchio was a braggart, he was capable of generosity: in 1778 he warmly and successfully recommended the young composer Giuseppe Pedota – not, apparently, one of his own students – for the position of maestro di cappella at the cathedral in Orvieto. Both Grétry, after studying in Rome in 1760, and Burney, after his visit there ten years later, expressed admiration for Aurisicchio's work and attested to his popularity with the Roman musical public.

Aurisicchio's reputation now must rest, as it did during his own time, on his church music. Although he obviously did not disdain the quick income brought by an occasional opera commission, it should be observed that many of these commissions were for a species of operatic hack work: for intermezzos (or ‘farsette’, as they had come to be called in Rome, where the genre maintained a vigorous life long after going out of fashion elsewhere in Italy, transformed in style and shape into miniature opere buffe) or for the revision of works by other composers. Though an aria by Aurisicchio was sufficiently admired to be included in the pasticcio Attalo for London in 1758 (and subsequently printed by John Walsh in his Favourite Songs edition), it was, Burney said, his ‘only air that was ever sung on our stage’. Again in Burney's account, so high did Aurisicchio rank among Roman composers for the church, that ‘upon any festival wherever he is Maestro di Capella, and has composed a mass, there is sure to be a very great crowd’.

In Ziino's opinion Aurisicchio demonstrated his talents most impressively in large-scale polyphonic sacred pieces, where skilful fugues contrast with sections in highly decorated solo style. Otherwise, his aria and instrumental styles are characteristic of the period, exhibiting simply constructed but appealing melodic surfaces over essentially tonic–dominant harmonic foundations.



Surviving church music includes

2 masses, 3 short masses (Ky, Gl), several mass sections; at least 26 motets; 3 Lezioni for different days; Mag; cants., incl. La morte di Giesù, Già sento fremere le fauci orribili, Dunque fia vera; TeD; Dixit Dominus, 5 settings; Beatus vir, 4 settings; sacred songs, hymns, ps settings, miscellaneous liturgical pieces; Oratio Jeremie prophete; Studi sopra il canto fermo del Benedicamus solenne. MSS mainly in D-B, MÜd, MÜu; Archivio della Chiesa Nazionale Spagnola, Rome; Archivio Capitolare, Rieti; also B-Bc; F-Pn; GB-Cfm; I-Rsc, Rvat


Chi dell'altrui si veste presto si spoglia (commedia, T. Mariani), Naples, dei Fiorentini, wint. 1734

L'inganno deluso (int a 4), Rome, Argentina, carn. 1743

Il cicisbeo consolato (farsetta a 4, C. Mazzarelli), Rome, della Pace, carn. 1748

Chi la fà l'aspetta (int a 3), Rome, della Pace, carn. 1752

Andromaca (os, A. Salvi/A.G. Pampani), Rome, Argentina, carn. 1753

6 arias in GB-Lbl

Eumene (os, G. Pizzi), Rome, Argentina, carn. 1754


Lo sposalizio all'usanza (farsetta a 3), Rome, Valle, carn. 1757

Arias in Didone abbandonata, 1745

Alessandro dell'Indie, I-FZc


Componimento drammatico … per solennizare gli augustissimi nomi … di Francesco I … e di Maria Teresa, 1747

3 other componimenti, Rome, 1747

Rome, 1760

Florence, 1762

Betulia liberata, Rome, S Girolamo della Carità, 1756

Il furo Camillo, cant., Rome, Collegio Calasanzio delle Scuole Pie, 1760

Giunone placata (componimento drammatico, for the marriage of Filippo Bernualdo Orsini and Teresa Caracciolo), Rome, carn. 1762

Ester, orat

Symphony, 3 movts, I-Rdp

Numerous scattered arias, B-Bc; D-B, Dl (but the 88 arias, EitnerQ, were lost during World War II), SWl; GB-Lbl; I-Gl; P-La


  • DBI (D. Di Palma)
  • ES (R. Giazotto)
  • MGG1 (A. Ziino) [with detailed lists of surviving works and archival references on biographical information]
  • Diario ordinario (8 Sept 1781), 9
  • C. Goldoni: Mémoires (Paris, 1787; Eng. trans., 1814); ed. G. Ortolani in Tutte le opere di Carlo Goldoni (Milan, 1935–56), 1, 404–5
  • M. Grétry: Mémoires, ou essai sur la musique (Paris, 1789), 85–6
  • D. Corri: ‘Life of Domenico Corri’: foreword to The Singers Preceptor (London, 1810)
  • Catalogo dei maestri compositori, dei professori di musica e dei socii di onore della Congregazione ed accademia di Santa Cecilia di Roma (Rome, 1845), 99
  • G.B. Martini: Carteggio inedito del P. Giambattista Martini coi più celebri musicisti del suo tempo, ed. F. Parisini (Bologna, 1888/R), 293, 398
  • U. Rolandi: ‘Giuseppe Pedota, musicista altamurano (1754–1831)’, NA, 14 (1937), 226–43, esp. 228
Enciclopedia dello spettacolo
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Faenza, Biblioteca Comunale Manfrediana, Raccolte Musicali
Rome, Conservatorio di Musica S Cecilia
Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Musiksammlung
Rome, Archivio Doria Pamphili
Brussels, Conservatoire Royal, Bibliothèque, Koninklijk Conservatorium, Bibliotheek
Note d'archivio per la storia musicale
London, British Library
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Genoa, Conservatorio di Musica Nicolò Paganini, Biblioteca
Münster, Bischöfliches Diözesanarchiv
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Dept of Manuscripts and Printed Books
Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Rome, 1960-)
Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
C. Burney: A General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (London, 1776-89); ed. F. Mercer (London, 1935/R) [p. nos. refer to this edn]
Lisbon, Biblioteca da Ajuda
Schwerin, Landesbibliothek Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Musiksammlung
Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitäts-Bibliothek, Musikabteilung
C. Burney: The Present State of Music in France and Italy (London, 1771, 2/1773)