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Biography

Carlo Lenzi was born in 1735 in the remote Dezzo, an outer district of Azzone, in the Valle di Scalve in the pre-Alps by Bergamo, and died in Bergamo in 1805. There he worked for 40 years as Maestro di Cappella at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. He was educated in Naples. When returning to his home of northern Italy, Lenzi brought with him a compositional mastery, with which others would have made a sensational career all over Europe. His permanent residence in Bergamo, where he had already gained the coveted post of the Maestro di Cappella at the age of thirty-two, and which Mozart was to be denied all his life, was a blessing and curse to the composer. The blessing lay in a prestigious occupational position, which was safe and stable, whereas the curse was to be limited to a local audience, so that his works were largely confined to Bergamo), cut off from the most important international communications channels.

On August 4, 1767, Lenzi had taken the office of the Maestro di Cappella at Santa Maria Maggiore, which he was to occupy uninterruptedly until 1802, although he had gone blind by 1796. The works reproduced here date back to the period between 1771 and 1780, reflecting in their diversity the work of a young musician who was already greatly appreciated by his surroundings. In Bergamo, he was the most important personality of music life; he was in a phase of consolidation of his institutional position, characterized by the tireless creation of a repertoire with his unmistakable personal style. The years of Lenzi’s ascension correspond with Mozart’s three Italian travels (1770-73).

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