born on 13/1/1629 in Roma, Latium, Italy
died on 13/10/1680 in Roma, Latium, Italy
Lelio Colista (13 January 1629, Rome – 13 October 1680, Rome) was an Italian Baroque composer and lutenist.
Funded by his father, who held an important position in the Vatican Library, Colista early received an excellent musical education, probably at the Seminario Romano. He mastered several instruments, especially the lute and theorbo. Already at the age of 30, he held a lucrative post of custode delle pittore at the papal chapel. In 1664, supported by the Cardinal Flavio Chigi, he performed at Versailles at the court of Louis XIV. During the last 20 years of his life, he was a composer and teacher in Rome who was in demand. He was the guitar teacher of Gaspar Sanz.
He wrote mostly instrumental music, and, though no pieces were published during his lifetime, his influence on the musicians residing in Rome was significant. His music was written in a simpler and less demanding style than that of his contemporaries. Arcangelo Corelli mentioned him in the preface to his Opus 1 as one of the più professori musici di Roma. Henry Purcell valued his counterpoint skills.
Colista influenced Corelli's and Purcell's trio sonatas through his early da chiesa sonatas for two violins and basso continuo, which the composer described as symphonies. His music was generally admired both by the audience and the patrons. He was described as vere Romanae urbis Orpheus (truly the Orpheus of the city of Rome) by Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher. His works are usually referred to by the thematic catalogue by Antonella D'Ovidio, denoted WK.
References and further reading
- Keates, Jonathan (1996). Purcell: A Biography, UPNE.
- Wessely, Helene (1961). Lelio Colista: ein römischer Meister vor Corelli; Leben und Umwelt, Wien: Oesterreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften.