Italian Baroque composer and singer Antonio Cesti (1623-1669) was also a Franciscan monk. His output, however was not limited to religious music, although he helped to advance the cantata form. He is even more remembered for his operas, of which Il pomo d'oro in 1668 is considered a masterpiece of the period.

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Cesti, Antonio (1623 - 1669), Italy
Biographical data, recommended CDs, books and sheet music, bibliography, and link to biographical essay from Dr. Estrella's Incredibly Abridged Dictionary of Composers.
[Musical C]
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