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At a time when most prominent composers were professional musicians who inherited their trade from their fathers, Alessandro Marcello (1673-1747) was an amateur of the sort who would normally have been a patron to other composers. A nobleman and the son of a Venetian senator, he published poetry and involved himself in all the arts. He published his music under his Venetian Arcadian Academy pseudonym, which only fellow Academy members would likely recognize. His D-minor Oboe Concerto, now his best-known work, was printed in Amsterdam under that pseudonym in a 1717 anthology of concertos by different composers, and it was therefore attributed to other composers, including Vivaldi, for many years. It does indeed have traits – such as the unison passage that begins the first movement and the long stretches without bass in the slow movement – that sound Vivaldian. The concerto must have impressed Bach, who converted it into a keyboard solo, BWV 974.
- Howard Posner