Academic journal article Journal of Singing

28 Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

28 Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Article excerpt

28 ITALIAN SONGS AND ARIAS OF THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES. Based on the Editions by Alessandro Parisotti, with 2 CDs of recorded diction lessons and piano accompaniments, medium high and medium low voice volumes. G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP), 2008 (Hal Leonard).

"Since these days the truly new is becoming rarer, I am pleased to see the old resurrected in its place. Composers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries wrote music that was enlightened, above all, by structural purity and simplicity, emotion, and a quality of the [sic] serenity over the complete piece. The music of today is decidedly the opposite: erratic, jerky and full of violent contrasts." So states Alessandro Parisotti (1853-1913) in his original preface to Arie antiche, published by Ricordi in 1885. In this sentiment, Parisotti was echoing Verdi's controversial statement that "a return to the past would actually be progress" (editor's preface). It is worth noting that in the past decade or so, song composition, especially by American composers, has actually taken a turn back to a more romantic style, giving modern confirmation to the notion also stated by Parisotti in his 1885 Preface that "music . . . can readily derive from grand models whatever it may need for the improvement and development of its productions" (editor's preface).

Alessandro Parisotti lived his entire life in Rome where, at the age of 27, he became secretary of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, a revered Italian institute for music research. Other than his collection and publication of forgotten Italian arias from the previous two centuries, his public work includes only a treatise on the physics of acoustics, psychology, and esthetics of music published in 1911 (editors preface). His work in collecting and editing twenty-eight songs and arias from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, however, is sufficient to earn him the enduring thanks of thousands of singers in the past 123 years who otherwise might not have known and sung these lovely compositions.

It is true that Parisotti made his "elaborations" (the original publication reads "Raccolte ed elaborate da A. Parisotti") before the rise of music scholarship that focused on the performance practices of the Baroque era. …

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