At age 37, after a successful run of 39 operas, the last of which was the acclaimed masterpiece Guillaume Tell, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) stopped writing operas altogether. Of all the reasons given for Rossini's decision to retire, the most likely one was a breakdown in his health, after having worked at a feverish pace for so many years.
interest in music did not wane, though. He was a notable guest at many
important musical gatherings in Paris and kept his hand at composition
with various smaller but important works. Les Soirées Musicales,
12 pieces for one or two voices with piano were written on and off
between 1830 and 1835, often on the occasion of parties he organized
for his friends. All these pieces were based on poetry by the famous
librettist and tragedian Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782) and by Count
Carlo Pepoli (1796-1881), the descendent of an illustrious Bolognese
family, who was forced into exile in France because of his patriotic
By 1836, Rossini's friend Liszt had already composed a Grande fantaisie sur des motifs des Soirées Musicales and the Deuxieme fantaisie sur des motifs des Soirées Musicales. Then, in 1837, Liszt went on to arrange the whole set of 12 pieces in the more simple manner of the songs themselves, faithfully following Rossini's melodic lines. These transcriptions are the ones that Elias Parish Alvars (1808-1849) used as a model for his own harp versions, which are perhaps even closer to Rossini's original.
Each one of these pieces is a little Bel Canto masterpiece, fUll of verve, either marked by melodrama or by the proverbial Italian zest for life. These tunes, so irresistible and infectious that they will turn in your head long after being heard, simply must belong again to the emotional language of the harp world.
Editing has been done with a very light touch: correcting a few mistakes, adding dynamics and phrasing marks present in Rossini's original as well as complementary accidentals to facilitate the reading in terms of pedaling. The text has been clarified to a maximum in passages such as m. 52-53 in La Partenza, where Parish Alvars weaves the tune that dominated the treble just before (in m. 50-51) into the body of the accompaniment. La Promessa is introduced by a Maestoso section absent in the original; the actual tune of L'Orgia is preceded by a two page Andante fantasy, both, no doubt, original material by Parish Alvars.
A word about the poetry: the original Italian and French versions fit rhythmically with the music, the first natural and rowdy, the second idealized and precious, and say very different things to the listener!
The music was processed by Françoise Bourret.
La Partenza - La Promessa - L'Orgia
||Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)|
|Arranger:||Arranged by E. Parish Alvars|
|Level:||Intermediate to Advanced|
|Format:||Harp Part stapled|
|Size:||11" x 8.5" (US Letter)|
|Publisher:||Editions Harpiana Publications|