After adding comic scenes to Francesco Gasparini's Bajazette in 1722 for performance at Naples, he composed a comic opera, La'mpeca scoperta, in Neapolitan dialect, in 1723. His most famous comic opera was Amor vuol sofferenze (1739), better known as La Finta Frascatana, highly praised by Des Brosses. He was equally distinguished as a composer of serious opera, Demofoonte (1735), Parnace (1737) and L'Olimpiade (1737) being his most famous works in this branch, and is still better known as a composer of sacred music. He died of a stroke while engaged in the composition of new arias for a revival of La Finta Frascatana. Leo was the first of the Neapolitan school to obtain a complete mastery over modern harmonic counterpoint. His sacred music is masterly and dignified, logical rather than passionate, and free from the sentimentality which is present in the work of Francesco Durante and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. His serious operas suffer from a coldness and severity of style, but in his comic operas he shows a keen sense of humour.
His ensemble movements are spirited, but never worked up to a strong climax. A fine and characteristic example of his sacred music is the Dixit Dominus in C, edited by Charles Villiers Stanford and published by Novello. A number of songs from operas are accessible in modern editions. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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