VIII. The Italian Settecento (18th Century)
In Italy the transition from the early to the late Baroque saw the division of solo song into declamatory recitative and cantabile aria, a procedure practised in Neapolitan opera, and particularly by its leading master Alessandro Scarlatti (died 1725). An unprecedented virtuosity in the art of "Bel canto' led to the flooding of Europe with Italian singers and opera companies. Even more productive than the serious opera was the "Buffa", in its development of the ensemble. In instrumental music the application of the concerto principle led to the development of the Concerto Grosso (Arcangelo Corelli, died 1713) and the solo concerto (Antonio Vivaldi, died 1741). Domenico Scarlatti (died 1757) represents a late blossoming of virtuoso music for the harpsichord, as does Giuseppe Tartini (died 1770) in the realm of the violin sonata.