(b Lanciano, Abruzzi, 25 April 1730; d Naples, 1 Jan 1818). Italian music educator and composer. His father, Francesco Antonio, the maestro di cappella at S Maria del Ponte in Lanciano, taught him the rudiments of music, but then had him study law. After his father’s death Fenaroli attended the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto in Naples as a student of Francesco Durante and P.A. Gallo. In 1762 he taught at the Conservatorio, deputizing for Antonio Sacchini. In 1763 he became second maestro di cappella at the same conservatory, and in 1777 first maestro. In 1768, for the birthday of Ferdinand IV, a cantata by him was performed in the Teatro S Carlo. He later played a decisive part in the reorganization of the Neapolitan conservatories; after S Maria di Loreto was joined with the Turchini Conservatory in 1806, Fenaroli, Giovanni Paisiello and Giacomo Tritto were given the task of devising the new curriculum. Fenaroli taught counterpoint at the new conservatory, and with Paisiello and Tritto directed the school until Niccolò Zingarelli took over in 1813. Although suffering from cancer he continued to teach until 5 December 1817, even bringing his students together during vacations at his country home at the foot of Mt Vesuvius. According to Florimo, the composers Cimarosa, Zingarelli, Giuseppe Nicolini and Michele Carafa were among his pupils; he may also have given private instruction to Nicola Manfroce, Saverio Mercadante and Vincenzo Lavigna (see de Napoli, 1930). He was a member of the Reale Società Borbonica and music director in the Associazione dei Cavalieri.
Fenaroli principally composed church music, preferring the strict contrapuntal style, in which he exhibited great ability. Only a few cantatas, stage works and oratorios by him survive. He apparently wrote no orchestral music and only one chamber work, the Intavolature e sonate per cembalo (1793). His teaching method was highly regarded throughout Italy; Fétis praised it for its simplicity and clarity and Choron used some of the exercises in his Principes de composition. By transmitting the compositional style of his teacher Durante he helped preserve the so-called Neapolitan tradition. His treatises, which were reprinted many times during the 19th century, began to fall out of favour about 1860 with the arrival of more modern teaching methods; yet even as late as 1871 Verdi could write approvingly of the still widespread use of Fenaroli’s exercises.
MSS at I-MC and Nc unless otherwise stated
Liturgical music, all with insts: 6 masses, 2–5vv; Messa de’ defunti, 4vv, 1770; Ky, 5vv, D-Bsb; Gl, 5vv; Cr, 2vv; Quoniam, S, 4vv; 3 Dixit, 4–5vv; 2 TeD; Responsorio di S Antonio, 4vv; Laudate pueri; Dixit, A-Wn; 2 Miserere, 4vv, org; Qui tollis, 1v; Popule meus, 4vv, org; Ecce lignum, 4vv, org; Ave Maria, 4vv; Stabat mater, 2vv, I-Nc, Nf; Care puer, S; Lamentations and Lessons for Passiontide, 1v; Lezioni dei morti, S, A, vns; Lezioni de’ morti, 1v; Pueri hebraeorum, 4vv; Suscipe me Domine, S; Veni Creator Spiritus, S, A; Veni sponsa Christi, S/4vv; Inno S Michele, 4vv; Pange lingua, D-Bsb, I-Nc; Tantum ergo, S, A; Genitori, S, A; Christus factus est, F-Pc; Cant., 8vv; 2 cants. for S Gennaro, 1763, 1777, both lost; cant. for S Carlo, 1768, lost; 2 cants. for Corpus Domini, lost; In sacra coeli flamma, 1v, GB-Lbl; Sò benute le Pacche sicche Don Nicò duet, Lbl
Motets, all with insts: Clari fontes, 5vv, 1752; Coeli gaudent, 4vv, 1763; Corda puro, 4vv, 1767; Laetae gentes, 4vv, 1774; Cara tibia grata sono, aria, S, 1780; Cara diva, 1v, vn, ob, 1793; O beata aeterna fiamma, 1v; O divino astro beato, 2vv; O spes divina, S; Eja psalite mortales, 4vv; O gentes festinate, 4vv; Laeto corde, 5vv; In clava coeli, S; Fronte laeta, 4vv; Inter choros, 8vv; Coeli flamma, 4vv; Gaudete jubilate, 4vv; Exultate fideles, aria, S; Vade misera et freme, S; Quid intenta; Mundi pompae fallaces; Nonna, S; Quid ploro, A, hpd; Barbara barbara accede, A, hpd
3 orats, lost: L’arca del Giordano, Lanciano; Abigaille, Lanciano, 1760; La sconfitta degli Assiri, Rome, 1789
Pedagogical: Regole musicali per i principianti di cembalo nel sonar coi numeri e per i principianti di contrappunto (Naples, 1775); Partimenti ossia Basso numerato (Rome, c1800/R); Studio del contrappunto (Rome, c1800); Solfeggi per soprano, I-Bc; Scale e cadenze nelle 3 posizioni, Mc
T.Consalvo: La teoria musicale del Fenaroli (Naples, 1826)
G.Cesari and A.Luzio, eds.: I copialettere di Giuseppe Verdi (Milan, 1913/R, Eng. trans., abridged, 1971, as Letters of Giuseppe Verdi, ed. C. Osborne), 242, 320
G.de Napoli: ‘Fedele Fenaroli nel secondo centenario della nascita’, Musica d’oggi, xii (1930), 113–16