Singing the Praises of Operatic Composer's 6 String Quartets

Article excerpt

Singing the Praises of Operatic Composer's 6 String Quartets The Early String Quartet, Volume 5: Gaetano Latilla, The Six String Quartets. Edited by Michael Talbot. Steglein Publishing, $80.

Latilla's landmark 18th-century works offer charm and inventiveness

IN 18TH-CENTURY ITALY, composer Gaetano Latilla garnered praise and attention for his groundbreaking comic operas. He also produced 28 serious operas, and numerous sacred works, as choirmaster at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice (which Antonio Vivaldi made famous). This left little time for instrumental composition, but, curiously, a set of six string quartets is one of the few extant Latilla works.

Originally printed in London around 1765, these string quartets have been more recently published in a lovely, easy-to-read version by Steglein Publishing.

In the informative, but dense, preface, editor Michael Talbot points out that the Latilla quartets "were without doubt the earliest works specifically written for the medium to be published in London." He cautions that, despite their early date, these works should not "be regarded as seminal within the history of the genre," because they seem to have little historical impact. …