Verdi

Verdi

Verdi

Verdi

Synopsis

In this third edition of the classic Verdi, renowned authority Julian Budden offers a comprehensive overview of Verdi the man and the artist, tracing his ascent from humble beginnings to the status of a cultural patriarch of the new Italy, whose cause he had done much to promote, anddemonstrating the gradual enlargement over the years of his artistic vision. This concise study is an accessible, insightful, and engaging summation of Verdi scholarship, acquainting the non-specialist with the personal details Verdi's life, with the operatic world in which he worked, and with hispolitical ideas, his intellectual vision, and his powerful means of communicating them through his music. In his survey of the music itself, Budden emphasizes the unique character of each work as well as the developing sophistication of Verdi's style. He covers all of the operas, the latereligious works, the songs, and the string quartet. A glossary explains even the most obscure operatic terms current in Verdi's time.

Excerpt

Since the appearance of this volume's predecessor, verdi scholarship has proceeded apace with further critical editions of his operas, publications of his correspondence, regular issues of the periodical Studi verdiani from the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma and of the Newsletter (now entitled Verdi Forum) of its sister organisation, the American Institute for Verdi Studies, New York. the centenary of the composer’s death in 2001 gave rise to various congresses in Italy and abroad which, together with the revival of superseded versions of his music, have filled out the picture we already have of the man and the musician. One completed number, hitherto inaccessible, has in the meantime come to light: the substitute aria, ‘Sventurato! alla mia vita’ written for the Russian tenor Nicola Ivanoff to insert into Attila. Especially welcome has been the recent willingness of the composer’s heirs to make available the sketches, continuity drafts and ‘skeleton scores’ (melody and bass only with occasional instrumental indications) housed in the archives of the Villa S. Agata, all of which provide a fascinating glimpse into his workshop. We learn, among much else, that despite his defence as late as 1880 of the cabaletta as a musical form, it was always the cabalettas that gave Verdi the most trouble (indeed, a discarded version of Francesco’s ‘Tremate, o miseri!’ has been found among the material for I masnadieri, while no less than six sketches exist of Germont’s ‘No, non udrai rimproveri’ in La traviata). It has even been possible to make a hypothetical reconstruction of Un ballo in maschera as it existed prior to . . .

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