Girolamo Abos (1715-1760)
Girolamo Abos (baptised Geronimo Abos), also known by the family names Avos or d’Avossa, was a Maltese-Italian composer of both operas and church music. Born on 16 November 1715 in Valletta, Malta, he was the son of Rosa Farrugia and Gian Tommaso Abos, a Frenchman from Castellane. Abos studied under Leonardo Leo and Francesco Durante, and very probably received his training at the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo in Naples. He was a member of the Conservatorio’s faculty from 1742 to 1743; from 1742 onwards, he also taught at the Conservatorio di Sant’Onofrio a Porta Capuana, where he was maestro from 1748 to 1760. He also taught at the Conservatorio della Pieta’ dei Turchini, where he was secondo maestro from 1754 to 1759. In 1756, he became maestro al cembalo at the Italian Theatre in London. In 1758, he returned to Italy as a teacher at the Conservatorio della Pieta’ de’ Turchini in Naples, where Giovanni Paisiello was among his pupils. He wrote fourteen operas for the opera houses of Naples, Rome and London; his most successful opera was Tito Manlio (Naples, 1751). After 1758, he composed a a lot of church music, including seven masses and several litanies, before dying in Naples. Although Abos is best-known as a composer of opera buffa and opera seria, he was a prolific composer. Many of his sacred works, oratorios, as well as the operas Pelopida and Erifile – from which the aria Pensa che freme ancora is taken – have been edited by the Australian musicologist Fra’ Richard Divall. The opera seria Erifile was composed in Rome in 1752.
Mikel’ Angelo Vella (1710-1792)
Mikel’ Angelo Vella was born on 7 November 1710 in Senglea, Malta. He is credited with having being the first to introduce the secular cantata to the islands. In 1730, Vella left for Naples to study at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria della Pieta’ dei Turchini. Having been ordained a secular priest in the Diocese of Acerra, he returned to Malta in 1738, serving as maestro di cappella first at Senglea, and later also at Cospicua. He also opened the first school in Malta to be modeled on Italian schools devoted to training musicians. His students included Azopardi, Burlo, Isouard and Magri, who would all go on to become significant musicians and composers in the middle to late eighteenth century. The Sonata Opus 1 No. 4 for 3 violins and continuo – which is performed only very rarely – is taken from a collection of six sonatas published in Paris in 1768; the Sonata is dedicated to Fra’ Adrien de la Vieuville d’Orville de Wignacourt. This work has also also been edited by Australian musicologist Fra’ Richard Divall.