The Romantic Era

nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz


Vincenzo Bellini



Vincenzo Bellini is today honoured by a museum that stands in his birthplace of Catania in Sicily. He seemed destined to become a composer, and guided by his grandfather, also a composer, wrote his first piece at the age of six.

In 1819 he went to Naples to the San Sebastiano Conservatoire, but for a boy of such promise he was slow to develop. Various minor pieces date from these student days, but it was only when he turned to opera and wrote Adelson e Salvini that he discovered the form that was most congenial to him.

The work had a tremendous impact on the impresario Barbaia, who in 1827 commissioned Il pirata tor La Scala, Milan. Il pirata demonstrates well Bellini's style, which favours a pure, simple vocal line. This delighted his teacher Zingarelli, who had always warned his pupils against Rossini's music, claiming that the overly florid vocal lines were physically dangerous! Bellini also expected the librettos for his operas to have simple plots with fast-moving action, and the brilliant dramatist Felice Romani was an ideal partner. Their next collaboration was in 1830 on the opera I Capuleti ed i Montecchi. This version of Romeo and Juliet was made exaggeratedly melodramatic by Romani to suit the popular tastes of the day.

The partnership was again fruitful with La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker). This time the inclusion of just a hint of contemporaneous popular song made the opera an instant hit. Norma, premiered later the same year of 1831, was again very well received, largely for the clearly rebellious sentiments it contained, particularly in the final-act chorus "Guerra, Gucrra" (War, War). Today its best-known aria is "Casta Diva", in which the pure soprano solo line soars above the chorus.

Opera composition did not debar Bellini from affairs of the heart, and after he failed to win his first love due to opposition from her parents, he turned his attentions to Giuditta Turma. The relationship lasted five years, although for all that time the young woman was married to someone else.

After Norma, Bellini and Romani argued and Bellini wrote his final opera, I puritani (The Puritans) with Carlo Pepoli. Although the libretto was poor, the weaknesses were more than compensated for by the beauty of the melodies, the development of Bellini's style, and the magnificence of the premiere production: the opera was another triumph. After the exhausting task of composing and staging I puritani, Bellini was suddenly struck down with a fatal illness, and died in 1835 aged just 34. His place in the history of opera is assured, not only for the beauty of his own operas but also as a forerunner to the genius of Giuseppe Verdi.

Vincenzo Bellini



Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)



Irina Vasileva

Aria of Norma
Cavatina of Norma
Stretta of Norma
Cavatina of NormaII

Jennifer Graf
"I Puritani"
Qui la voce

Jennifer Graf
"I Capuleti e i Montecchi"
Oh quante volte

Julie Brown
"La Sonnambula"
Ah! non credea mirarti



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







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