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Francesco Conti

Il mio bel foco
Although Il mio bel foco has long been attributed to Venetian composer and statesman Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739), recent scholarship now identifies the Florentine Francesco Bartolomeo Conti (1681?-1732) as the likely composer of this lovely song. The confusion arose with the misattribution first given in the 1890 publication, Arie antiche, compiled and arranged by Alessandro Parisotti (1853-1913), and reedited and published in this country by G. Schirmer as 24 Italian Songs and Arias—virtually every classically-trained singer has performed at least a couple of selections from this famous set. Parisotti took the old Italian melodies, but wrote new accompaniments according to Victorian fashion, and in some cases he deliberately identified his own compositions as “newly-discovered” works of baroque masters. In fact, there is still debate as to whether the recitative that begins Il mio bel foco is by Conti, Parisotti, or even by another 19th Century musician, Carl Banck! Regardless, the controversy surrounding Il mio bel foco does not diminish the emotional impact of the oft-sung song.