(b Montiglio, 28 Dec 1866; d Turin, 16 Oct 1939). Italian violin maker. The son of a farmer, he worked in several professions and was a mechanic at the time of his move to Turin in 1894. By 1895 he had opened a shop as a violin maker. He would appear to have been self-taught but relied early upon the advice and guidance of the lawyer Orazio Roggero, a prominant collector from Saluzzo. Early in his career he may have made reproductions of violins by the classic Turinese masters G.B. Guadagnini, Guiseppe Rocca and especially G.F. Pressenda, many of which were later sold as originals. He was awarded medals at expositions in Genoa and Milan in 1906 and a gold medal for his quartet at the Turin Exposition of 1911. By 1905 his work was increasingly in demand, and a large part of it may have gone initially to England where it came to the attention of Hidalgo Moya and Towry Piper, whose comments in Violin Tone and Violin Makers (1916) represent the earliest 20th-century references to a contemporary Italian violin maker. Fagnola's work grew in refinement and sophistication, and after 1920 he was assisted by several apprentices, including Riccardo Genovese (d 1935), Stefano Vittorio Fasciolo (d 1944) and his nephew Anibalotto Fagnola.
Fagnola is regarded as perhaps the most important violin maker of the modern Italian tradition. His style was quite individual, the workmanship clean and precise, the wood selection generally excellent. As well as making accurate copies of the instruments of his Turinese predecessors he made instruments modelled more loosely after their patterns, although the former are more sought after. He used a varnish similar to that of the earlier Turin makers: often deep orange or red which gains transparency in polishing, and in later years a pale gold or orange which often shows a crystalline refraction, the result of too little oil and too much resin. He consistently achieved a fine tonal result, and his violins are prized by professional musicans worldwide. During and after his lifetime his violins were extensively copied all over Europe, and there are still makers in Italy today who will produce them to order.
Italian family of musicians. They were active in Naples during the 18th century.
(1) (Francesco) Nicola Fago [Il Tarantino]
(2) Lorenzo Fago
(3) Pasquale Fago [Pasquale Tarantino, Tarantini]
HANNS–BERTOLD DIETZ (work-list with STEPHEN SHEARON, MARIA GRAZIA MELUCCI)
(1) (Francesco) Nicola Fago [Il Tarantino]
(b Taranto, 26 Feb 1677; d Naples, 18 Feb 1745). Composer and teacher. He was the son of Cataldo Antonio Fago and Giustina Tursi of Taranto. After studying music in his home town, and from July 1693 to August 1695 at the Conservatorio di S Maria della Pietà dei Turchini in Naples, where his teacher was Francesco Provenzale, he settled in Naples, serving various churches as maestro di cappella. On 27 November 1701 he married Caterina Speranza Grimaldi, a younger sister of the famous soprano virtuoso Nicolo Grimaldi (‘Nicolini’); of their many children only the eldest son, (2) Lorenzo Fago, became a musician. In 1704 Fago was chosen to succeed Don Angelo Durante, the uncle of Francesco, as primo maestro of the Conservatorio di S Onofrio, and in May 1705 he accepted in addition the same position at the Pietà dei Turchini, replacing Gennaro Ursino, Provenzale’s successor. In October 1708 Nicola relinquished his post at S Onofrio, and in the following year became maestro di cappella at the Tesoro di S Gennaro of Naples Cathedral, succeeding Cristoforo Caresana (‘Il Veneziano’).
Fago composed all of his known sacred dramas, oratorios and operas between 1705 and 1714. His first dramma per musica, Il Radamisto, was commissioned in 1707 for the wedding festivities of Antonio di Sangro, Prince of S Severo. Two years later his second dramma, Astarto, was staged at the Teatro S Bartolomeo, Naples. Between 1710 and 1711 he composed two comedies on librettos by F.A. Tullio for the Teatro dei Fiorentini. During the following year, he collaborated with his former student Michele Falco, a composer of musical comedies, to produce Lo Masillo, a three-act work called ‘dramma per musica’ on the title page of the libretto but traditionally considered to be an early opera buffa. After another collaboration with Falco in 1714 (La Dafne), Fago suddenly abandoned writing for the operatic stage and dedicated himself primarily to sacred music and teaching. In addition to his regular duties at the Pietà dei Turchini and the Tesoro di S Gennaro, he for several years also directed and/or composed the music for High Holy and Saints’ Days at several Neapolitan churches. In 1731 he retired from the Tesoro di S Gennaro in favour of his 27-year-old son, Lorenzo, for reasons of age and health. Five years later, however, he accepted another post as maestro di cappella at S Giacomo degli Spagnoli, which he held until his death. At the Pietà dei Turchini he developed an outstanding teaching career which lasted 35 years. His secondi maestri assisting him there were in turn Andrea Basso (to 1734) and Giovanni Sarconi (1718–32), then Leonardo Leo (1734–7), and finally his son Lorenzo (from 1737). Among his students were Falco, Francesco Feo, Giuseppe de Majo, Leo, Giuseppe Marchitti, Niccolò Jommelli, Michelangelo Vella, Pasquale Cafaro, Nicola Sala and Antonio Corbisero. In 1740 Fago retired from teaching, and Leo succeeded him as primo maestro. But in December 1744, after Leo’s death, the still active Fago petitioned the king to be appointed Leo’s successor as primo maestro of the royal chapel. Fago died, however, the day before a competition for the post was announced.
Nicola Fago belongs to the generation of Francesco Mancini and Domenico Sarro. Like them, he established himself in Neapolitan musical life during the years of Alessandro Scarlatti’s absence (1702–8). His comic operas place him among the first professional composers to embrace the then budding genre of the Neapolitan commedia per musica. However, only the scores for his oratorio Il Faraone sommerse (1709) and the 1713 performance of his dramma per musica La Cassandra indovina (1711) have survived. His works for the stage, serious or comic, seem to have made little impact, and his career as an opera composer was short-lived. It was as a teacher and composer of church music that Fago became known in Naples as ‘Il virtuosissimo Tarantino’. In his masses and settings of the Dixit, Te Deum and Magnificat, for two five-part choruses (one of which provides the solo voices), he continued the late 17th-century polychoral tradition established in Naples by Antonio Nola, Gian Domenico Oliva and Cristoforo Caresana, but the style and scope of the choral movements and self-contained solo numbers is more in accordance with 18th-century ideals. His works exhibit the solid contrapuntal craftsmanship of the teacher-composer, and several of his smaller pieces, particularly those in stile antico, are obviously didactic in nature. What unites his approaches to both new and old styles is his grasp of the tonal idiom, the control of harmonic, modulatory progressions over polyphonic and homophonic textures. In his secular vocal music Fago’s model was Alessandro Scarlatti, but he limited himself to the traditional form of the solo cantata with continuo accompaniment. Though Fago’s fame as a composer was later overshadowed by that of his students, his influence on early 18th-century Neapolitan church music should not be underestimated. Neither Burney, Hawkins nor Gerber mentioned Fago; in 1792 J.F. Reichardt pointed out this omission of ‘one of the most famous composers from the beginning of this century’, with specific reference to his church music and cantatas.
performed in Naples, music lost, unless otherwise stated
Il Radamisto (dramma per musica, N. Giuvo), Piedimonte, 1707, lib I-Bc, US-Wc
Astarto (dramma per musica, A. Zeno and P. Pariati), S Bartolomeo, 24 Dec 1709, 3 arias I-Nc, lib B-Bc, GB-Lbl, I-Bc, Bu [according to Strohm possibly based on a dramma per musica by T.G. Albinoni, Venice 1708]
Le fenzejune abbendurate (commedia per musica, F.A. Tullio), Fiorentini, 1710, lib Bu
La Cassandra indovina (dramma per musica, 3, Giuvo), Piedimonte, 26 Oct 1711, lib D-DI, I-Bu; Fiorentini, 1713, 1713, GB-Lbl
La Cianna (commedia per musica, Tullio), Fiorentini, 1711, lib I-Bu, Nc
Lo Masillo [Acts 1 and 3] (dramma per musica, 3, N. Orilia), ?Casa del Mattia di Franco, carn. 1712 [Act 2 by M. Falco], lib D-DI, I-Bc, Bu, Nc
La Dafne (favola pastorale in stile arcadio), 1714, lib GB-Lbl, collab. M. Falco
Arias, lost, for pasticcio of F.B. Conti, Clotilde, London, Queen’s, Haymarket, 2 March 1709, lib GB-Lbl, I-Bu, US-LAuc, SM, Wc
Choruses for L’Eustachio (tragedy, A. Marchese), S Bartolomeo, 28 Aug 1729, pubd in Tragedie cristiane (Naples, 1729)
sacred dramas and oratorios
Notte prodigiosa (dialogo orat), 1705, music lost, lib I-Plc
Il monte fiorito (melodramma sacro), Naples, 8 March 1707, music lost, lib Nn
Il Faraone sommerso (orat), 1709, GB-Ob, I-Fc
Il rifuggio de’ peccatori nel patrocinio della vergine addolorato (melodramma sacro, Giuvo), Naples, 1710, music lost
Il sogno avventurato, overo Il trionfo della Providenza (melodramma sacro), Naples, 1711, music lost, lib Nn
Il piacere sconfitto nel’invenzione della Santissima Croce (orat, C. Doni), Naples, 15 April 1711, music lost
serenatas, cantatas and arias
3 serenatas: Le quattro monarchie, Naples, 1705: F-Pc; È più caro il piacer doppo le pene (?Giuvo), music lost, lib I-Rli; Siren sagata et togata (certamen musicum), Naples, 1715, music lost, lib Nn
36 cants., S, bc, unless otherwise stated [†= cant. ed. M.G. Melucci (Rome, 1995)]: †Allor ch’in dolce oblio, D-Bsb, I-Nc; Amante con poca sorte, 4 June 1715, Nc; ?Amore traditore, GB-CDp, I-MC; Bella a te di vezzoso, E-Mn; †Che vuoi mio cor, I-Nc; Clori vaga vezossa, F-Pc; †Come viver poss’io, I-Nc; Dalle cimmerie grotte, F-Pc; D’Aretusa in sul lito, Pc, GB-Lbl; †Destati omai dal sonno, A, bc, 1712, I-Nc; †Doppo mille martiri, MC; †È ben chiara ragione, Nc; Fra cento belle, F-Pc, GB-Lbl; Fuori di sue capanna, A, fl, bc, T; Il cor che vive oppresso, F-Pc; Ingegni curiosi, I-Nc; In profondo riposo, S-L; †Lagrime di cordoglio, I-Nc; †Miserabile scempio, B, bc, 1715, Nc; †Non credo che vi sia, Tormento, c1725, GB-Lbl, I-Nc; Non ha il bambino arciero, Mc; Oh quanto omai diverso, D-Bsb, Dl; †Qualor non veggio, I-Nc; Quando sazia sarai, D-MÜs, F-Pc; Quanto invidio la tua sorte, I-Nc; Quel ruscello chiaro e bello, F-Pc; †Questo poverto cor, Pc, I-Nc; †Sapesse il cor almen, 1703, D-Bsb, GB-Lbl, Ob, I-Mc, S-L; Se d’una stella sola, D-Bsb; †Se gelosia crudele, F-Pc, GB-Cfm, Lbl, I-Nc; Sopra carro di rosa, B-Lc; †Sopra del bel Sebeto, GB-Lbl, I-Rsc; †Stava un giorno Fileno, Mc; Steso tra i fiori, F-Pc; †Sulle sponde del mare, I-Mc; Trà cento belle, F-Pc, GB-Lbl; Vicino a un chiaro fonte, F-Pc
Arias: Lusinga di chi pena, I-Nc; No che il mio core, GB-Lbl; Perchè amarmi e poi tradirmi, B-Bc; Più fedele e meno bella, GB-Lbl; Sia con me Fillide, Lbl, Ob; Tormentata, piagata, I-Nc
6 Cr (San, Benedictus, Ag): C, 5vv, D-Bsb, GB-Lbl, Ob, I-Nc*; G, 4vv, F-Pc; e, 4vv, Pc; D, 10vv, B-Lc, D-Dl; E, 5vv, F-Pc, I-Nc*; B, 10vv, F-Pc, I-Nc [attrib. L. Leo, 10vv], D-Mbs [attrib. F. Feo, 5vv], MÜs [attrib. L. Fago, 5vv]
4 lits: ?C, 4vv, org, GB-Lbl; e, 5vv, I-Nc*; b, 5vv, Nc*; g, 5vv, D-MÜs, F-Pc, Nc* [with 4vv and 2 hns added later by L. Fago]
18 pss, 4 Beatus vir: a, 4vv, GB-Lbl, Ob; G, 2vv, bc, Jan 1723, I-Nc; D, 5vv, bc, Nc; d, 3vv, bc, Nc; 5 Confitebor tibi [C, 2vv, bc, Feb 1723, Nc; G, 5vv, 9 June 1734, Nc; G, 5vv, bc, Nc; G, 3vv, Nc; G, 2vv, GB-Ob]; Credidi propter quod, G, 9vv, F-Pc*, GB-Lbl, I-Mc, Nc; 2 Dixit Dominus [D, 10vv, 1735, GB-Lcm, Ob; B, 4vv, US-Cn]; Laetatus sum, C, 4vv, bc, 1705, A-Wn, GB-Lbl, Ob, I-Mc, Nc; 2 Laudate pueri [G, 5vv, bc, Nc; D, 3vv, bc, Nc]; 2 Nisi Dominus [C, 2vv, bc, Nc; e, 4vv, Nc]; 3 frags., incl. a Dixit Dominus, a, 5vv, bc, Nc
2 Benedictus Dominus: G, 9vv, F-Pc*; D, 9vv, I-Nc
Inno per S Michele Arcangelo, G, 2vv, bc, Nc*
7 Mag: G, 8vv, GB-Lcm; e, 10vv, Lbl; D, 5vv, I-Nc; d, 10vv, Nc*; d, 4vv, D-Dbs*, MÜs, GB-Lbl, Ob, I-Baf [attrib. D. Scarlatti]; g, 10vv, F-Pc, I-Mc, Nc [with 2 ob, 2 hn added later by L. Fago], Nc* [mistakenly attrib. P.A. Gallo]; f, 10vv, 1710, F-Pc, I-Mc, Nc
Pange lingua, D, 4vv, F-Pc
Resps for Holy Week, f, 4vv, org, I-Nc
Stabat mater, f, 4vv, GB-Lbl, I-Mc, Nc [arr. by V. Novello, The Evening Service (London, 1822), i, 129–36]
2 TeD: G, 10vv, ?1712, I-Mc*, Nc; F, 10vv, D-Dl
20 motets and versetti: Amplius lava me, 5vv, bc, I-Nf; Campiameni grati flores, 2vv, GB-Ob; Cantemus hilares, 5vv, CZ-Pak; Dies ista festiva, 1v, Pak; Eja angelici chori, 1v, Pak; 2 Et egressus est [1v, bc, GB-Lbl, ?Leo; 1v, I-Nf, ?lost]; Exultet divus, 4vv, lost, formerly Prague, Loretan Cathedral; Festum diem triumphalem, 4vv, GB-Lcm; In aurora tam festiva, 6vv, 1709 [variant version, In hac die tam festiva, attrib. L. Leo], CZ-Pak; Itaque ad te clamamus, 2vv, Pak; Per te virgo, 5vv, Pak; Poli sedes relucete, 1v, GB-Ob; Purpura decora, 1v, I-Af; Quid hic statis pastores, 2vv, Nc; Sacrificium Deo spiritus, 5vv, org, GB-Lbl; Sicut erat, a, 10vv, I-Nc*; Super coelos splendore ridentes, 9vv, CZ-Pak; Tantum ergo, 1v, 1736, D-Bsb [the Tantum ergo, 1v, attrib. Fago, GB-Lbl, by Leo]; Veni propera formosa, 2vv, Ob
Addl independent mass movts and frags., D-MÜs, GB-Lbl, I-Nc
(b Naples, 13 Aug 1704; d Naples, 30 April 1793). Teacher and composer, eldest son of (1) Nicola Fago and Caterina Grimaldi. Although born in Naples, he was called ‘Il Tarantino’ like his father, from whom he received his musical education. He first became organist of the primo coro at the chapel of the Tesoro di S Gennaro, where on 26 June 1731 he succeeded his father as maestro di cappella. In this capacity he served until 1766, and again between 1771 and 1781. On 26 July 1736 he married Angela (Albina) Gleinod; their eldest son, (3) Pasquale Fago, also became a composer. In 1737 Lorenzo began his career at the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini, following Leo as secondo maestro. He assisted his father until his retirement in 1740, and then Leo, after whose death he became primo maestro (1 November 1744). In that position he served until his retirement in January 1793. The secondi maestri under him were G.G. Brunetti (1745–54), Girolamo Abos (1754–9), Pasquale Cafaro (1759–87) and his eventual successor Nicola Sala (1787–93). His activities as a teacher outweigh in importance his compositions, which include church music and cantatas but no operas. He reworked several compositions by his father, particularly their orchestration, and through performances kept some of this music alive during the second half of the 18th century.
2 cants., 1v, insts, GB-Lcm: Al fin ti partisti ingrato Tirsi; Clori tu ben sai
Confitebor tibi, G, 1v, insts, D-MÜs; Dixit Dominus, D, 5vv, insts, MÜs; Lectio prima del Venerdi Santo, d, 1v, bc, I-Nf; Mass (Ky–Gl), F, 5vv, insts, D-MÜs; Tantum ergo, D, F-Pc [bc only]; Tibi soli peccavi, d, 5vv, bc, I-Nf
(3) Pasquale Fago [Pasquale Tarantino, Tarantini]
(b Naples, c1740; d before 10 Nov 1794). Composer, eldest son of (2) Lorenzo Fago. In 1762 he joined the chapel of the Tesoro di S Gennaro as an organist, and in 1766, when his father retired in his favour, became maestro di cappella. As a composer he adopted the name Pasquale Tarantino and wrote a number of fairly successful works. But he was not truly interested in a musical career and in 1771 resigned as maestro to devote himself to the administrative government services with which he had been occupied since 1764. In 1780 he became governor of the province of Montecorvino and in 1782 of Sarno.
Sorgi, figlia d’Eumelo (cant.), for birthday of King Ferdinand IV, 3vv, insts, Naples, S Carlo, 12 Jan 1766, I-Nc
Il sogno di Lermano Cinosurio Pastore Arcade (componimento drammatico, G. Baldanzo), Palermo, Galleria del Real Palazzo, 20 Jan 1769, music lost, lib US-AUS, Humanities Research Library
La caffettiera di garbo (ob, P. Mililotto), Naples, Nuovo, carn. 1770, ?music lost, lib I-Nc
Il finto sordo (ob, Mililotto), Naples, Fiorentini, carn. 1771, music lost, lib Nc, Nn, Vgc
Son sventura ma pure o stelle (aria); Vado a morir (duetto): both MC
ES (U. Prota-Giurleo)
S.Di Giacomo: Maestri di cappella, musici & istromenti al Tesoro di San Gennaro nei secoli XVII & XVIII (Naples, 1920)
E.Faustini-Fasini: ‘Primo contributo per una biografia di Nicola Fago’, Musica D’Oggi, vii (1925), 9–11
E.Faustini-Fasini: Nicola Fago ‘Il Tarantino’ e la sua famiglia (Taranto, 1931)
M.F.Robinson: Naples and Neapolitan Opera (Oxford, 1972/R), 191
D.Foresio: ‘Nicola Fago: un Tarantino da solo nella legenda’, Euterpe tarantina (Taranto, 1984), 19–35
S.Shearon: ‘Nicola Fago and the Neapolitan Musical Environment of the Early Settecento’, IMSCR XV: Madrid 1992 [RdMc, xvi (1993)], 2914–20
F.Cotticelli and P.Maione: Le Istituzioni Musicali a Napoli durante il Viceregno austriaco (1707–1734): materiali inediti sulla Real Cappella ed il Teatro di San Bartolomeo (Naples, 1993)
M.G.Melucci: ‘La cantate da camera di Nicola Fago: prime indagini per uno studio’, Gli affetti convenienti all’idee: studi sulla musica vocale italiana, ed. R. Cafiero, M. Caraci Vela and A. Romagnoli, iii (Naples, 1993), 385–422
S.Shearon: Latin Sacred Music and Nicola Fago: the Career and Sources of an Early Eighteenth-Century Neapolitan Maestro di Cappella (diss., U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993)
M.G.Melucci: ‘Il Tarantino Nicola e gli altri Fago: situazione delle ricerche’, Cenacolo, new ser., vi (1994), 65–73