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La Folía (Spanish), also folies d’Espagne (French), Follies of Spain (English) or Follia (Italian), is one of the oldest European musical themes, or primary material, generally melodic, of a composition, on record. The theme exists in two versions, referred to as early and late folias, the earlier being faster.

Arcangelo Corelli in 1700, Marin Marais in 1701 and Alessandro Scarlatti in 1710 are three of many important composers those considered to highlight this ‘later’ folia repeating theme in a brilliant way.

Arcangelo Corelli (17 February 1653 – 8 January 1713) was an Italian violinist and composer of the Baroque era. His music was key in the development of the modern genres of sonata and concerto, in establishing the preeminence of the violin, and as the first coalescing of modern tonality and functional harmony.

Alessandro Scarlatti (2 May 1660 – 22 October 1725) was an Italian Baroque composer, especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.

Marin Marais (31 May 1656, Paris – 15 August 1728, Paris) was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas, and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for six months. He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles. He did quite well as court musician, and in 1679 was appointed ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole, a title he kept until 1725.

He was the father of the composer Roland Marais (c. 1685 – c. 1750).

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