Gioachino Rossini The Italian Mozart

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February 1792 – 13 November 1868
Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces.

His best-known operas : Italian comedies Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola and the French-language epics Moïse et Pharaon and Guillaume Tell (William Tell). A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, which led to the nickname “The Italian Mozart.” Until his retirement in 1829, Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history.

In his compositions, Rossini plagiarized freely from himself, a common practice among deadline-pressed opera composers of the time.
Few of his operas are without such admixtures, frankly introduced in the form of arias or overtures. For example, in Il Barbiere there is an aria for the Count (often omitted) “Cessa di più resistere”, which Rossini used (with minor changes) in the cantata Le Nozze di Teti e di Peleo and in La Cenerentola (the cabaletta for Angelina’s rondo is almost unchanged). Moreover, four of his best known overtures (La cambiale di matrimonio, Tancredi, La Cenerentola and The Barber of Seville) share operas apart from those with which they are most famously associated.

A characteristic mannerism in Rossini’s orchestral scoring is a long, steady building of sound over an ostinato figure, creating “tempests in teapots by beginning in a whisper and rising to a flashing, glittering storm,”[10] which earned him the nickname of “Signor Crescendo”.
A few of Rossini’s operas remained popular throughout his lifetime and continuously since his demise; others were resurrected from semi-obscurity in the last half of the 20th century, during the so-called “bel canto revival.”

Gioachino Rossini was born in Pesaro, a small town on the Adriatic on 29 February 1792.
Both his parents were musicians. His father, an Italian nationalist, was briefly imprisoned in 1800 by the Papal authorities.

This may well have influenced Rossini’s later lukewarm attitude towards the unification cause so fervently espoused by Verdi and other creative artists. As a young man Gioachino was an accomplished singer. Whether this skill was the basis or motivation for his compositional skills is not known. By 1805, as well as singing in Paer’s Camilla in Bologna, by then his home-town, he had composed the six sonate a quattro as well as overtures and several masses.

At age 14 he entered the Bologna Liceo Musicale. In his time there he put the gloss of academic rigour on his innate compositional gifts. His first opera was composed during his time as a student and was to a commission by the tenor Domenico Marbelli.

Marbelli, together with his two daughters, formed the nucleus of an itinerant operatic group of a type commonly found at that time. That work, Demetrio e Polibio, was not staged until May 1812 by which time five of Rossini’s other works had been, including three of the farse included here.

The Teatro San Moise in Venice was the smallest of the theatres regularly presenting opera in that city. The audience expected new works and the impresario would commission several each season guaranteeing at least three performances to each. The theatre was run on a shoestring and such farse required little scenery or staging.

Given that the San Moise had a good roster of singers it was an ideal opportunity for Rossini when another composer reneged on his contract and he was offered the opportunity to replace him. La Cambiale di Matrimonio with its pace, energy and wit was well received. At age twenty Rossini’s career was off to a cracking start.

After his move from Italy to Paris in 1855, Rossini would regularly invite some of the most famous singers of the day to perform at his home. The guest-list would read like a who’s who of the French capital at that time and, given Rossini’s fame, both as gourmet and wit, you could be certain that the food would be as excellent as the conversation amusing. Then, of course, there’d be the chance to hear something new by the great master himself. Although he abandoned operatic composition in 1829, Rossini went on to compose hundreds of short vocal and piano pieces to entertain those lucky enough to be invited to these famous Saturday evening salons.

Featuring soloists including Mireille Delunsch, Jennifer Larmore, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Lawrence Brownlee, this latest release in Opera Rara’s Il Salotto series presents a programme of ravishing songs and ensembles from this period, including the mighty Le Chant des Titans, in which the giants threaten the god Jupiter, performed by soloists from the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir. The Royal Opera House’s Renato Balsadonna is Chorus Director with accompaniments from Malcolm Martineau on piano and Nicholas Bosworth on harmonium.

Author: renjiveda

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