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

Gaetano Donizetti



The opera composer and conductor Johann Mayr recognized the talent m the spirited young Donizetti. He took him from an impoverished and unmusical background in the streets of his birthplace, Bergamo, in northern Italy, to give him a thorough musical education. As he neared adulthood Donizetti studied for two years in Bologna with Padre Mattel, the renowned counterpoint teacher. Although benefiting musically, Donizetti found the old priest somewhat dour, and he reserved his lifelong affection exclusively for his original teacher.

Donizetti returned to Bergamo in 1817 and worked swiftly on a variety of compositions, often completing one in a single day. The string quartets of this period show him as a prodigiously gifted apprentice. It was in his eventual output of some 70 operas, however, that he showed his true mastery.

In 1818 he evaded conscription with an exemption bought by a wealthy admirer and took employment in Venice, where his first opera was produced that year. His first significant success came with Zoraida di Granata in Rome in 1822, the commission having been passed on to him by his old teacher Mayr. This secured a series of commissions from Naples including, in 1826, a contract for four operas a year. With poor librettos, however, no masterpieces resulted.

The year 1830 was a good one for Donizetti. His Anna Bolena brought him international fame for the first time, and Rossini's retirement from opera composition gave him supremacy in the field for the next decade. From Rossini he inherited the characteristic bel canto (melodic singing) style — often featuring coloratura passages — and his own rapid craftsmanship enabled him to complete the enduring comedy L'elisir d 'amore m 1832 in less than a month. The price of this facility, however, was a lack of consistent dramatic power. This was true even m the more serious Lucia di Lammermoor of 1835, based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott and containing the famous "Mad Scene." Nevertheless, its sextet provides a moving and masterful climax to what is probably his greatest work.

Relations between Donizetti and his Neapolitan patrons became strained in the 1830s. Donizetti broke his contract in 1832 and. although a new one was drawn up in 1834, the authorities in Naples objected to his next opera, Maria Stuarda, and the consequent rapid revision ruined the first production. Then, in 1837, Virginia, his beloved wife since 1 828, died of cholera. His new work, Poliuto. was banned for depicting the martyrdom of a saint, and so a grieving, dispirited Donizetti finally left Naples for Paris.

The Parisians greeted him warmly, mounting productions of his works in four of the city's theatres, much to the disgust of Berlioz and other French composers. Donizetti responded with the composition of a number of his best operas, culminating in his last great work, the three-act comic masterpiece Don Pasquale, first produced in Milan in 1843.

By then he had secured the position of Kapellmeister to the Hapsburg Court in Vienna, but had also begun to suffer worsening symptoms of a syphilitic illness that attacked his nervous system. By the end of 1843 he was incapable of further composition, and Parisian doctors declared him insane the following year. Through the persistent efforts of his nephew he was eventually taken back to his native Bergamo, where friends cared for him until his death.


Gaetano Donizetti



Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)



Michael Kennedy - tenor
L'elisir d'amore
Una furtiva lagrima

Peter Furlong
La fille du regiment
Ah, mes amis



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







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