In classical vocal music composition the Italians laid down the foundation for great music. The famous Italian music artists in this genre exceed all others. That is not to say that there are not numerous composers from every ethnic representation one could name. But when it comes to dramatic, emotional and inspiring vocal production the Italians win, hands down.
Of the top ten favorite operas of all time, six of them were composed by Italian musicians. Another two, which were sung in Italian, were composed by Mozart. All the Italian composer operas dealt with love themes. They do not have a patent on love themes but they do use them quite often. To look at the top thirty operas of all time we find that the Italians have seventeen in the top thirty. Clearly the Italians understand the opera.
If we were to list all the famous Italian composers beginning with the Renaissance Period we could fill up the rest of this blog. But we shall only list a few of the outstanding musicians.
- Lucian Pavarotti – 1935-2007 – Considered by many to be one of the greatest tenors of all time, rivaling the great Caruso
- Enrico Caruso – 1873/1921 – Supposedly the greatest tenor of all time.
- Giacomo Puccini – 1858/1924 – Opera composer whose operas are still standard repertoire of opera houses over the world.
- Giachino Rossini – 1792/1868 – Composer of operas the most famous being The Barber of Seville.
- Claudio Monteverdi – 1567/1643 – Composer of motets a forerunner of choral music forms and opera.
- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – 1525/1594 – Renaissance composer proficient in many forms
- Giuseppi Verdi – 1813/1901 – His operas were so famous and in such demand that he became the first musician to become a millionaire as a musician.
- Jean-Baptiste Lully – 1632/1687 – A Renaissance composer who helped to issue in the Baroque Period.
- Domenico Scarlatti – 1685/1757 – A contemporary of J.S.Bach and a composer in many genres.
- Vencenzo Bellini – 1801/1835 – Bellini began to romanticize the music of the opera by making recitatives a little more melodic.
- Gaetano Donizetti – 1797/1848 – One of three Italian composers who perfected the opera style of “bel canto”. The other two were Bellini and Rossini.
The list could go on and on. It seems that romantic music is in Italian blood. Topic/Idea 3
Great composers among Italian musicians
Among the most prolific and influential of Italian musician composers for the bel canto opera was Gioachino Rossini. He was born into a musical family. His father and mother were musicians. His father was a trumpeter in a band and his mother a singer. So music came naturally to young Gioachino. At the age of six he began to play the triangle in his fathers band. As a child he studied piano under Angelo Tesei. He was also a talented young singer and at the age of ten began to sing solo parts in the church. At the age of twelve he began to develop his talent for composing. His first compositions were string sonatas. It was at this time that he also was introduced to the theater. He sang a part in the opera, “Camilla”, by Fedinando Paer.
Rossini composed his first opera at the age of fourteen. But it was performed for the first time seven years later. He also studied counterpoint under Matei and became quite proficient on the cello.
The first official opera by Rossini was produced in 1810 in the city of Venice. It was “La Cambiale de Matrimonio” (The Marriage Contract). In the following three years he composed and produced several operas. These were debuted in Rome, Bologna, Venice and Milan. His reputation as an opera composer reached now heights with his opera “Tancerdi” in1813. Along with “Tancerdi” he produced “L’Italiana in Algeri”. These two operas brought him international fame at the young age of twenty.
Rossini enjoyed great fame and success in Italy. In 1816 his premiere of “IL barbiere di Siviglie” (The Barber of Seville) brought “superstardom” to him. His popularity never waned.
In 1822 Rossini married his first wife, Isabella Colbran, who was a well-known opera singer. They moved to Vienna but only remained there for a year. He only remained there for one year. From there he moved to England. He remained in England from 1824 to 1829. While in England he composed and produced seven new operas. It was while he was there that he composed “Guillame Tell” (William Tell). For “Guillame Tell” Rossini composed an instrumental overture. This served as a model for romantic operas throughout the nineteenth century.
After “Guillame Tell” he did not compose any major works. He had begun his “Stabat Mater” but requested a friend to finish the work. He died at the age of 76 in 1868.
Keep following us here and we shall from time to time enlighten you about the famous Italian music artists who have influenced the development of great music. The Italians alone could take a lifetime to cover but we shall try to use brevity and common sense so as to get you information and understanding.