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Gioachino Rossini was one of the most influential, as well as one of the most industrious and emotionally complex of the great nineteenth-century composers. Between 1810 and 1829, he wrote 39 operas, a body of work, comic and serious, which transformed Italian opera and radically altered the course of opera in France. His retirement from operatic composition in 1829, at the age of 37, was widely assumed to be the act of a talented but lazy man. In reality, political events and a series of debilitating illnesses ...
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Gioachino Rossini was one of the most influential, as well as one of the most industrious and emotionally complex of the great nineteenth-century composers. Between 1810 and 1829, he wrote 39 operas, a body of work, comic and serious, which transformed Italian opera and radically altered the course of opera in France. His retirement from operatic composition in 1829, at the age of 37, was widely assumed to be the act of a talented but lazy man. In reality, political events and a series of debilitating illnesses were the determining factors. After drafting the Stabat Mater in 1832, Rossini wrote no music of consequence for the best part of twenty-five years, before the clouds lifted and he began composing again in Paris in the late 1850s. During this glorious Indian summer of his career, he wrote 150 songs and solo piano pieces his 'Sins of Old Age' and his final masterpiece, the Petite Messe solennelle. The image of Rossini as a gifted but feckless amateur-the witty, high-spirited bon vivant who dashed off The Barber of Seville in a mere thirteen days-persisted down the years, until the centenary of his death in 1968 inaugurated a process of re-evaluation by scholars, performers, and writers. The original 1985 edition of Richard Osborne's pioneering and widely acclaimed Rossini redefined the life and provided detailed analyses of the complete Rossini oeuvre. Twenty years on, all Rossini's operas have been staged and recorded, a Critical Edition of his works is well advanced, and a scholarly edition of his correspondence, including 250 previously unknown letters from Rossini to his parents, is in progress. Drawing on these past two decades of scholarship and performance, this new edition of Rossini provides the most detailed portrait we have yet had of one of the worlds best-loved and most enigmatic composers.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Steen (chairman, Royal Coll. of Music Soc., London) studies the social, cultural, and political spheres that affected the lives and works of approximately 50 composers, from J.S. Bach to Benjamin Britten. Using a wide array of sources, he profiles each composer through a series of snapshots that place the subject in an intriguing and distinctive light; the music is tied into the larger story. This approach is both narrative and anecdotal, at times chronological and out of sequence. Verdi, for example, is described in terms of his seminal influence on the unification of Italy, including his term in the first parliament; Beethoven's outspoken political ideals and his mistaken arrest are also addressed. For the most part, Steen treats each composer in a separate chapter. Well written, fascinating, and extremely useful, this volume serves as both a sociological study and a reference work. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Timothy J. McGee, Hastings, Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Osborne's Rossini remains indispensable both as a conspectus of, and prolegomenon to, the life and work of this most colourful of operatic composers." Conor Farrington, Times Literary Supplement "The 1985 edition of Richard Osborne's Rossini was already the very best Rossini biography available; the new edition surpasses it in every way. Writing now with access to the published correspondence from throughout the composer's operatic career (through 1830) and with new editions and excellent performances of most of the operas, Osborne provides real insight into the life and works of a composer whose art had been poorly understood since the middle of the nineteenth century. He hones in on the major works and explains their historical significance and aesthetic appeal. Those who love Rossini and bel canto opera are truly in Osborne's debt."-Philip Gossett, Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music, University of Chicago

"Perhaps the best general study of this composer's life and work available in any language."-Alex Liddell

"Richard Osborne's Rossini is an invaluable work of scholarship and passion. Life and Works together, in great detail, give the reader a splendid fund of information and allow a much clearer picture than we have ever had before, of an often misunderstood, and under-rated genius."--Sir Roger Norrington

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199884575
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/29/2007
  • Series: Master Musicians Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 2
  • Sales rank: 1,360,253
  • File size: 10 MB

Meet the Author

Richard Osborne is an acclaimed Rossini scholar, music critic and broadcaster, author of Conversations with Karajan (OUP 1991), Herbert von Karajan: A Life in Music (Chatto & Windus 1998), and Till I End My Song. English Music and Musicians 1440-1940: A Perspective from Eton (Cygnet Press 2002).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Key to Sigla
Preface to First Edition
Preface to Second Edition
1. The formative years (1792-1810)
2. Venice and Milan (1811-14)
3. Arrival in Naples (1815)
4. Rome and Il barbiere di Siviglia (1816)
5. Naples, Rome and Milan (1816-17)
6 Mosè in Egitto and Return to Pesaro (1818).
7. 1819-21
8. Vienna, Verona, Venice (1822-3)
9. Paris and London (1823-4)
10 Paris (1824-9)
11. Retirement from operatic composition
12. Bologna, Paris, Madrid (1829-34), Stabat mater, Olympe Pd'elissier, and Balzac
13. Paris, the Rhineland, and return to Italy (1835-46)
14. Times of Barricades and Assassinations, Bologna, Florence, and departure from Italy (1847-55)
15. Return to Paris (1855)
16. Saturday soirées and a New Mass
17. Last Years (1865-8)
18. Entr'acte: Some Problems of Approach to the Works
19. The Early Operas (I): Farse for Venice's Teatro San Mois&dgrave;e
20. Overtures
21. The Early Operas (ii): Demetrio e Polibio, L'equivoco stravagante,Ciro in Babilonia, La Pieta del Paragone
22. Tancredi: Heroic Comedy and the Forming of a Method
23. L'italiana in Algeri: Formal Mastery in the Comic Style
24. Milan and Venice (1813-14), Aureliano in Palmira, Il turco in Italia, Sigismondo
25. Arrival in Naples (1815-16), Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra, La gazzetta
26. Il barbiere di Siviglia and the Transformation of a Tradition
27. Otello and the Confrontation of Tragedy
28. La Cenerentola: an Essay in Comic Pathos
29. La Gazza Ladra and the Semiseria Style
30. Armida and the New Romanticism
31. Mosè in Egitto (1818-19) and Mo:ise et Pharaon (1827)
32. A lost Masterpiece and a Forgotten Favorite: Ermione,and Ricciardo e Zoraide
33. Rossini and Scott: La Donna del Lago
34. Maometto II (1820) and Le Siège de Corinth (1826)
35. Back from the Shadows: Matilde di Shabran and Zelmira
36. Farewell to Italy: Semiramid
37. Il viaggio a Reims (1825) and Le Comte Ory (1828)
38. Guillaume Tell
39. Sacred Music, Messa di Gloria, Stabat mater, Petite Messe Solennelle
40. Vocal and Piano Music, Early Songs, Giovanna d'Arco, Les soirées Musicales, Péchés de Vieillesse
A: Calendar
B: List of works
C: Personalia
D: Select bibliography

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