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Posted November 5, 2008
Music was embedded in Puccini; behind him, he had five generations of musical history relating to his family. When his father died, Giacomo was only five years old, and the family ruled that his uncle was suitable enough to handle the child's upbringing - as was the custom then prevailing in Lucca (Italy). Unfortunately the uncle considered little Puccini undisciplined, with a bad taste, concerned more about his looks, materialistic, and a bad organizer. So much labelling heaped on an infant of five.!!! <BR/><BR/>Mosco Carner made of Puccini a fascinating subject for study. ""an artist who bore the authentic stamp of genius but who for some reason failed to cross the boundary into the realm of absolute greatness. If there was ever a 'border- line case', it is Puccini.'"". The author, in my opinion, has been able in his third edition - posthumously though as it is, and thanks to his wife Hazel - to see all the relevant data in the context of meaningful relationship to historical events, and to value his achievements devoid of personal feelings or bias to 'old' political aberrations. <BR/><BR/>This is extremely interesting. <BR/>We can see that, unlike Wagner, Puccini did not participate in the dominating politics in his days. Mussolini claimed that Puccini applied for admission to the National Fascist Party. This appears to be highly improbable in the absence of records or proofs of any application signed by Giacomo Puccini and submitted to the party. In addition, had Puccini done so, his close friend Toscanini (the linchpin anti-fascist) would, very likely, have severed all friendly connections with him and refrained from conducting his operas? In fact Puccini's personality could not have possibly accommodated for any delinquent demands from the Fascist Party. <BR/><BR/>Puccini was very attractive, vivacious and also impulsive. The great composer did not care for criticism and this trait interfered with his artistic ambitions bordering on playing with fate. <BR/><BR/>But early on, ""Fate"" played its role, and played it very well. In his adulthood Puccini took the position of church organist and choir master in Lucca. From such initial experience he adored music, yet it did not become part of him until he saw a performance of Aida (Verdi) that made a sort of divine influence on him to become an opera composer. At the age of 21, he composed the Messa, which marks the culmination of his family's long association with Church Music. <BR/><BR/>The power of the church and the humble prayers of its congregations drew the roadmap for Puccini's works. The acclaim and `Bravo' clapping in appreciation gave glimpses of the moving and vivid power that he would soon release on the stage; hence his powerful "arias" for tenor and bass soloists. Certainly Puccini's music in its orchestration and dramatic impact is more operatic than is current in church music. Perhaps one can go thus far to mention that Puccini's Messa compares quite well with Verdi's Requiem. <BR/><BR/>Like Mahler's experience long before, Puccini's initial participation in a competition did not go well. In 1882 he obtained a Libretto and tried his luck for a One-Act opera but did not win. Three years later his next stage caught the attention of Giulio - the owner of his family music publishers: Ricordi & Co - In 1889, Giulio commissioned Puccini with a second opera - Edgar. <BR/>His third opera - Manon Lescaut 1893 - was his first great success, followed by La Boheme - 18Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.