[…] Contrary to Hasse, Zelenka, and others, Baldassare Galuppi (1706–1785) was never employed at the Dresden court. The son of a barber was born on the island of Burano near Venice and composed his first opera at the age of sixteen – La fede nell’incostanza ossia Gli amici rivali, which was performed in 1722 in Vicenza and Chioggia. After its apparent failure he took lessons with Antonio Lotti (1667–1740) and in 1726 became a harpsichordist at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence. In 1728 he launched his successful career as an opera composer for a number of Venetian theaters, which eventually took him to London (1741–1743) and later (1765–1768) as Kapellmeister to the court of the Russian tsarina Katharina II. Of particular significance was Galuppi’s collaboration with his almost exact contemporary Carlo Goldoni (1707–1793), which began in 1749 with L’Arcadia in Brenta: Within six years they created a dozen opere buffe in Venice, which in the following two decades found their place on numerous European stages. In addition Galuppi served from 1740 to 1751 as maestro di coro at the Ospedale dei Mendicanti and from 1762 to 1776 (interrupted from 1765 to 1768) in the same position at the Ospedale degl’Incurabili in Venice, which meant that he had to compose sacred music for these famous girls’ conservatories on a regular basis. In 1748 he was also appointed vicemaestro di cappella at the Venetian main church of San Marco, where in 1762 he advanced to the position of maestro di cappella, keeping this office until his death. While Baldassare Galuppi’s significance for the history of opera has never quite been forgotten by musicologists, his church music became the focus of heightened attention only in recent times.
Of the holdings of the catholic Hofkirche the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden today still preserves 58 copies of scores and sets of parts containing sacred works attributed to Galuppi; of these, 54 were already listed in the Catalogo <thematico> della Musica di Chiesa <catholica in Dresda> composta Da diversi Autori secondo l’Alfabetto <1765>. The majority are manuscripts from the Copisteria Baldan in Venice, acquired by the Dresden court sometime before 1764. The lost parts of many of these works can be traced through older or newer Dresden catalogs documenting the use of this music in the Hofkirche repertoire. Among these is the Miserere in E flat major presented here; its score consists of two sections, which together with their respective sets of parts are listed separately yet consecutively in the Catalogo […] <1765>. The scoring and musical style, but also the terminus ante quem of the composition provided by the Catalogo […] <1765> suggest that this Miserere – like other sacred works by Galuppi transmitted in Dresden – was originally intended for the Ospedale dei Mendicanti and has to be dated around 1740–1751. […]
(Gerhard Poppe, translation by Stephanie Wollny)