Italian musician; born at Venice 1686; died there 1739. He is particularly celebrated for his settings to the Psalms, fifty of which, under the title of "Estro Poetico-Armonico, Parafrasi Sopra li Salmi," were published at Venice between 1724 and 1727, in eight volumes. These compositions, in the cantata form, for from one to four voices, with accompaniments for organ, violoncello, two violas, or other obligato strings, are noble and dignified; and their grandeur and beauty have earned them republication in numerous editions. Important for the study of Hebrew melody is the circumstance that for the themes of eleven of the earlier Psalms, Marcello utilized Jewish airs, taking six from the German and five from the Spanish tradition. Some historians of music, led by Forkel, have fallen into the error of assuming that Marcello's selected melodies reproduce the ancient Temple intonations for the Psalms. The list of Hebrew originals, given by Marcello himself, should, however, have guarded against this. The themes utilized by Marcello are: (1) to Ps. ix., a chant of the Spanish Jews for Ps. clxiv.; (2) to Ps. x., a German drone for Ps. cxiv.; (3) to Ps. xiv., a "Hallel" air used in the Spanish ritual; (4) to Ps. xv., a German melody for "Ma'oz Ẓur"; (5) to Ps. xvi., a Spanish chant for Ps. xcvi. and xcviii. (comp. De Sola and Aguilar, "Ancient Melodies," No. 13; Cohen and Davis, "Voice of Prayer and Praise," No. 16); (6) to Ps. xvii., a Spanish hymn by Solomon ben Mazzal Ṭob, No. 233 in Soncino's collection (Constantinople, 1545), for the Sabbath when a bridegroom attends the synagogue; (7) to Ps. xvii., a German melody for the hymn "Ha-Mabdil"; (8) to Ps. xviii., a Spanish melody to Ibn Gabirol's hymn "Sha'ar Asher Nisgar" (Dukes, "Ehrensäulen," p. 76; F. H. Cowen has employed the same melody for the "Dance of the Reapers" in his oratorio "Ruth," composed for the Worcester Musical Festival of 1887); (9) to Ps. xix., a German melody for the Sabbath evening hymn "Lekah Dodi"; (10) to Ps. xxi., a German melody for Ibn Gabirol's hymn "Shofeṭ Kol ha-Areẓ" (comp. Baer, "Ba'al Tefillah," Frankfort-on-the-Main, No. 1426); (11) to Ps. xxii., a German air, in the major mode, for the "Ḳaddish" at the conclusion of the service on the eve of the New-Year.

  • Ed. Birnbaum, in Der Jüdische Kantor, p. 348, Bromberg, 1883;
  • J. Singer, Marcello Benedetto, ein Christlicher Psalmen-Componist des 17. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 1885.
D. F. L. C.
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