COUNTERPOINT BATTLES IN THE 18TH CENTURY NAPLES: AN ATTEMPT OF HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION
The article examines an underscrutinised polyphonic tradition formed in the 18th century Naples. This period is often associated with the heyday of Naples opera. Its development was driven by the opening of four conservatories, which produced highly qualified composers and singers. The 18th century opera of Italian composers stands high on the research agenda in the history of music, however, the unique counterpoint tradition formed within the Neapolitan conservatories is still in oblivion.
The mid-18th century witnessed the emergence of two irreconcilable parties: the Leists (followers of Leonardo Leo) and the Durantists (followers of Francesco Durante). References to the century-long struggle of two educational schools are found in a range of Italian and European sources. However, they either say nothing about the origins of the conflict or report controversial information.
The study of the origins of the conflict that evolved from simple competition to theoretical controversy shows that the main reason for the discord between the Leists and the Durantists was counterpoint—the discipline that completed the course of studying composition in the Neapolitan conservatories. Two different approaches to teaching not only testify to the birth of a unique polyphonic tradition in southern Italy, but also become an expression of a stylistic change in the mid-18th century European music.1. Maslova article 2021-2