Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD
Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN

Price: $1000.00

                 NEAR MINT CONDITION

GIRALOMO CRESCENTINI - SINGER & COMPOSER
Text Box: COMPOSER AUTOGRAPHS

Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247

 

Autographed 6 bar musical quotation of an arietta in the hand of the castrato and composer on a 5.25" x 6" piece of staved music paper.  He signs beneath with his title, as per his wont.

 

Crescentini writes:

Due note sol da me fíbra mi!  Assai di più assai di piré tene do no, or in translation, Two notes from me alone! I did not drink much more....

He writes beneath:

Carattere, e compsizione del Cav. Crescentini, or in translation, Character and composition of Cavalier Crescentini.

 

The truly legendary singer and pedagogue known as "Orphee d'Italia" was a prolific composer of arias, songs and solfege exercises, vocalises and a treatise on singing.

 

Girolamo Crescentini (1762-1846) was from Bologna.  Subject to castration to preserve his beautiful soprano voice, he studied with the composer, singer and pedagogue Lorenzo Gibelli (1718-1812) in his native city.  He made his opera debut in Padua in 1782 at the age of twenty in Padua in the title role of "Didone Abbandonata" by Giovanni Sarti.  The same year in Livorno he created the title role of Adriano in Luigi Cherubini's "Adriano in Siria".  Cherubini wrote an additional aria to suit his voice for the World Premiere.  He arrived in London in 1785 and received mixed reviews there.  In Theodore Fenner's book, Opera in London, Views of the Press, 1785-1830, page 317, he made his debut in Josef Mysliveček's opera "Demetrio" at the King's Theatre. The London Chronicle wrote: "To a melodious voice, though not of the greatest compass, he adds a taste and action which speaks him a perfect master of music, and an actor of refined feelings .He is a pleasing stage figure."  He also appeared in "Nitteti" and "Arteserse", where the London Magazine and British Register found him "better than ever".  Cherubini has been attributed to have written an opera called "Artserse" in fact it was the first Crescentini creation, "Adriano in Siria" which was popular at the time.  In Richard Edgcumbe's, Musical Reminiscences, Containing an Account of the Italian Opera in England, From 1773 Continued to the Present Time, pages 45-46, he states, pages 45-46, he states, Crescentini was thought so moderate a performer, and so little liked, that before the season was half over, he was superseded by Tenducci, an old man, who had never been very capital, and could now have scarcely any voice left.  As the accounts disagree, we do not know where the truth lies, that said, he did not appear in Great Britain again. 

 

Crescentini next appeared in Italy in the cities of Milan, Leghorn, Padua, Venice and Turin.  His La Scala debut occurred on December 26, 1785 in the World Premiere of Salvatore Risploi's Opera "Ipermestre" as the lead, Linceo and the title role of Angelo Tarchi's opera "Ariarte". He then spends two seasons in Naples 1787-1788 and 1788-1789 singing in every opera they presented in the lead male role.  There were five productions the first season and five the second according to the Teatro di San Carlo Chronology.  That included the World Premiere of Giovanni Paisiello's "Fedra" where Crescentini sung the role of Ippolito in 1787 and Giulio Cesare in the World Premiere of the composer's "Catone in Utica" in 1789. 

In 1796 he makes his greatest creation, Romeo in Niccolo Zingarelli's "Giulietta e Romeo" at La Scala, writing an aria for himself entitled, " Ombra adorata aspetta which became known as Romeo's prayer and he performed the opera throughout Europe using his own aria.  From 1797 to 1801 the singer was in Lisbon as Director of the Teatro São Carlo.  In 1798 he created the role of Curiazio in Cimarosa's opera "Gli Orazi e i Curiazi" at La Scala which was a huge hit in its' day and he toured this opera as well throughout Europe.  The same season he created the title role of Zingarelli's opera "Meleagro" in it's World Premiere at La Scala.  He did not appear at La Scala again until 1804, where he created the role of Alsonso in Simon Mayr's "Alonso e Cora" in its' World Premiere on December 26th.  His last La Scala appearance was the same season as Zingarelli's Romeo.  During this same period, Crescentini appeared at the Teatro Argentina in Rome in 1791 and 1793, and spent the season in Venice in 1794.  In 1803, Crescentini inaugurated the new Theatre, Teatro di Piacenza as the featured star with several works. 

Maria Teresa, the Queen of Austria, married to the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, (Emperor Francis I of Austria) hired Crescentini to go to Vienna to become the Court Sopranist and music professor to her children.  He also sung concerts at court and various locales around the city, as well as in opera.  After the Battle of Austerlitz while Napoleon occupied Vienna, he hear Crescentini sing his aria, Romeo's prayer which apparently made him cry.  He decorated Crescentini with the Order of the Iron Crown, which was an Italian award under the jurisdiction of Francis I in his role as King of Lombardy.  By usurping Francis's power in awarding the order to Crescentini, he stepped on Francis's toes and it was said this was Napoleon's only mistake as an administrator as Emperor.  He actually wrote about the situation while imprisoned on the Island of St. Helena. Crescentini was offered a massive salary to move to Paris, where Napoleon through his various conquests had assembled the greatest singers in Europe for the Paris stage. Crescentini not only performed, but taught at the Conservatoire.   The singer after a major struggle retired from the stage in 1812 due to his declining vocal abilities and moved to Bologna at the Liceo Musicale where he joined his old teacher Gibelli, then Rome and in 1825, Naples, where he was appointed Professor at the Real Collegio di Musica. 

 

While a Professor in Bologna, Rome and Naples, Crescentini's influence cannot be underestimated and in fact, he was one of the most influential pedagogues in Italy, not just for singers but composers as well.  His lessons in the beauty of the legato line and his dislike of the cabaletta were the early roots of the Bel Canto school of singing.  He published a treatise on singing, Raccolata di ejercizi per il canto in Paris in 1811.  The volume printed in both French and Italian was utilized by both Rossini as a conservatory student in Bologna and by his pupil Vincenzo Bellini who in particular found it invaluable throughout his short life.  Crescentini's class was cast for Bellini's first professional opera, "Adelson e Salvini". Crescentini also published a book of solfege exercises, Nuovo Solfeggi Progressivi as well, which were a mainstay in the vocal profession of the time.  His other treatises and exercises for the voice included:  Exercices pour se perfectioner dans l'art du chant, 25 nouvelles vocalises, Nuovi esercizi, Ultima e nuova raccolta di 24 solfeggi, Venti nuovi solfeggi inediti, Breve metodo di canto, Esercizi di canto, Esercizi per la vocalizzazione, Metodo di canto, breve e ristretto, solfeggi per soprano, Studio di canto per voce di soprano.  The famous French writer Maurice-Henri Beyle, known by his pen name Stendahl wrote in his book, The Life of Rossini in 1824, But I know already, without this additional proof, that France could produce voices as exquisite as any in the world; the trouble is that our teachers of singing are no Crescentinis, and that the average provincial town is firmly convinced (as indeed is the Conservatoire itself) that there is no singing quite as fine as really loud singing!  Crescentini was perhaps most famous for the arias, ariettas, chamber cantatas and vocalises he wrote for his own performance and that of his students. The published works include, most written 1797 and later, "22 ariette Italiane, per voce e clavicembalo, e fortepiano", "6 ariette, per voce e fortepiano/chitarra" , "8 pezzi di canto, per voce e fortepiano", "6 ariette inedite, per voce e fortepiano", "3 cavatine, per voce e fortepiano", "6 cantate e 18 ariette, per voce e fortepiano", "12 canzonette, per voce e fortepiano e clavicembalo", "8 arie, per soprano e fortepiano", "6 canzoncine, per voce e fortepiano", "Duetti notturni, per soprano e basso continuo Cantate e arie", cantata, "Il ritorno", cantata "La scusa",  cantata "Introito da morto", aria "Ombra adorata aspetta", aria "Fra tanti affanni miei", secene and rondo "Ah spiegarmi in tal momento",  aria "Alma dell'alma mia" aria "Che chiedi, che brami", cavatina "Fin da prim'a anni", cavatina "Grazie vi rendo, oh dei", aria "Il banco, il rosso, il pallido", aria "Non è la vaga rosa", aria "Non temer dell'Indo", " aria "Oh dio mancar mi sento", aria "Or che la notte invita", aria "Quando sarà quel dì", aria "Quando soave
Se i tuo pregiati accenti", "Sommo ciel che il cor", aria "Vieni agli amplessi miei". (The last written as a substitute aria for Salieri's opera "Axur".

 

They are typically rooted in the baroque in form, but classical in their text.   Some were published, others have been lost to time.  His vocal pupils included Rossini's first wife, the legendary soprano  and composer Isabella Colbran, contralto Giuseppina Grassini, Napoleon's second wife Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, tenor Raffaelle Mirate, composer Alexis de Garaudé,  conductor Michael Costa, singer and composer Giacinto Marras and singer Luigi Rotellini among many and tenor Giacomo David and sopranos Giuditta Pasta and Angelica Catalani coached with him among many.  Today, several singers including mezzo-soprano Marina Comparato, soprano Rosanna Savoi and mezzo-soprano Veronica Amarres are recording his oeuvre of his difficult and flourid ariettas and cantatas and performing them in concert. 

Crescentini was one of the two last great castrati, the other being the younger Giovanni Velluti.  Crescentini's career was much more important.  Crescentini according to some circles is considered to be the finest of all the great castrati, perhaps only eclipsed in fame by Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli.