January 15, 2008
Salvatore Marchesi de Castrone (more accurately Cavaliere Salvatore de Castrone, Marchese della Rajata) was a baritone stage-singer and famous teacher. He was born at Palermo, Italy on January 15th 1822. He studied law and music together at Palermo and Milan, music under Raimondi, Lamperti, and Fontana; exiled after participation in the Revolution of 1848, he went to New York, where his stage-debut took place (in Ernani). Going to London, he studied with Garcia, was successful as a concert-singer, and married (in 1852) Mathilde Graumann, with whom he sang in opera at Berlin, Brussels, London, and Italy, and gave vocal instruction (in 1854) at the Vienna Consrvatory. After this they lived for some years in Paris; taught in the Cologne Conservatory (from 1865 to 1869), and again at Vienna from 1869 to 1881, later returning to reside in Paris. His works include: Beautiful songs on German, French, and Italian texts; “20 Vocalizzi elementari e progressivi,” and others; a Vocal Method; Italian translations of modern French and German opera-libretti, etc.
January 4, 2008
Alberto Mazzucato was born at Udine, Italy, on July 28th 1813, and died in Milan, Italy on December 31st 1877. He renounced the study of mathematics for music, his teacher being Bresciano at Padua, Italy. His first opera, La Fidanzata di Lammei moor, was successfully performed in 1834 at Padua; six others had similar temporary success, but were thrown into the shade by Verdi’s fresher style. His other compositions have also left no lasting impression; but he was really eminent as a violinist (he was leader at La Scala, Milan, 1859-69), and still more so as a teacher. From 1839-51 he taught a girls vocal class at the Conservatory in Milan; in 1851 he was teacher of composition, and in 1852 lecturer on history and aesthetics. In 1872 Mazzucato succeeded Lauro Rossi as Director of the Conservatory. For several years he was editor of the Milanese “Gazzetta Musicale” (founded 1845). He wrote “Principi elementari di musica di Asioli, riformati ed ampliati” (Milan; Ricordi) and also published an Atlas of Ancient Music (“Atlante della musica antica“) with an historical preface and a “Trattato d’estetica musicale“, as well as Italian translations of Garcia’s Singing-Method, Berlioz’s Instrumentation, Fetis’s Harmony, Segond’s “Hygiene for Singers,” and Panofka’s “Vocal ABC.”
January 2, 2008
Domenico Gabrieli, who was called the “Meneghino del violoncello“, was born at Bologna, Italy about 1640, and died there about 1690. An excellent ‘cellist, he was for several years maestro at the Church of Saint Petronio, and in 1683 was president (principe) of the Philharmonic Academy at Bologna. He produced nine operas, two at Bologna and seven in Venice. Posthumous publications include “Cantate a voce sola” (1691), “Vexillum pacis” (motets for viola solo, with instrumental accompaniment, 1695), and “Balletti, gighe, correnti e sarabande” for two violins and ‘cello, with basso continuo.
December 18, 2007
Giuseppe Nicolini (or Niccolini) was born in Piacenza, January 29th 1762 and died there December 18th 1842. Pupil of his father, Omobono Nicolini, and later of Giacomo Insanguine at the Conservatory of San Onofrio in Naples, which he left in 1792. In 1793 Nicolini produced his first opera, La famiglia stravagante at Parma, which was followed by some 60 others, written for Venice, Milan, Genoa, Rome, etc. Even after his appointment as maestro di cappella for Piacenza in 1819, he brought out half a dozen dramatic works, though not so successfully as before; he devoted the rest of his career to sacred compositions, including 7 oratorios, 40 masses, 2 requiems, 3 miserere, 6 litanies, 100 psalms, cantatas, etc. Also wrote sonatas for pianoforte, and for string-quartets he wrote several arias and canzonets.
November 28, 2007
Antonio Lotti, famous organist and composer, was born either in Venice or Hanover about 1666. His father was court Kapellmeister in Hanover about 1667. Antonio died in Venice, Jan. 5, 1740. Pupil of Legrenzi at Venice, where he produced an opera, Giustino, at the age of 16, Lotti was chorister at San Marco in 1687, 2nd organist there in 1692, and from 1704 to 1736, 1st organist and maestro di cappella. He left only once, in 1717-19, for two years spent in Dresden at the Crown Prince’s invitation. He took a company of singers with him, and successfully produced several operas. A foremost representative of the Venetian school, Lotti stands midway between the old contrapuntists and the freer style of A. Scarlatti, Handel, etc. During his dramatic period (1683-1719) he brought out 16 operas in Venice, one in Vienna, and three in Dresden (only in these last did he employ wind-instruments, so fearful was he of overpowering the voices). His sacred music forms the most important part of his works, and includes four oratorios, many masses, motets, Misereres, etc., none of which were published during his lifetime. His most famous work is a Miserere with Crucifixus. Alberti, Gasparini, Galuppi, and Marcello were among his pupils. He was married to the noted soprano Santa Stella.