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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).

When Vivaldi died in 1741 his music was in the most complete darkness. It was the scholars of Bach in the nineteenth century who first heard of Vivaldi, thanks to the ancient manuscripts where Bach had transcribed the concerts of someone called Vivaldi. It was known who Bach was, but who was Vivaldi? Fortunately, a search was conducted, which resulted in the rescue of Vivaldi from oblivion.

A surprising movement from Vivaldi.

La Follia’ (The Madness) is a musical theme of the most ancient and widespread in the music and European history. It originated in Portugal from 1500 to 1600 and was created to accompany a dance ballad by shepherds and farmers at a fertility rite, a truly embarrassing event that included dancers carry on their shoulders men dressed as women. In 1700 the ‘Folies d’Espagne’ becomes part of the repertoire of the French court, after suffering a solemnization treated before it is acceptable to the arrogance of the French and the slow and majestic courtly celebrations.

About Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) is one of the most virtuoso violinists of his time and a great music composer Baroque. Veneziano, the son of an amateur violinist who at one point gave the barber career to devote himself solely to music, had all the characteristics typical of the enfant prodige: red hair, bronchial asthma, intended, at the behest of his mother, the ecclesiastical life . This is because seeing him so sickly at birth, had seen fit to baptize him in a hurry and do promise that if he survived he would become a priest. That’s why they called him “The Red Priest”.

Of the original frenzy popular, ‘La Follia’ retains little, but can not lose what isdemonic. There is a definite melody (approximately the first 50 seconds) which provides the structure on which the performer is free to improvise. For the remaining nine minutes it comes to variations of this theme, which is usually expressed in its most simple and recognizable form at the beginning. ‘La Follia’, in fact, is precisely to signify obsession, mania, and highlights the stubborn character of the theme that comes back, again transformed, but basically does not change. Some of the changes are calm, persuasive, others hysterical, sensual, exciting; some by palpitations.

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