The Romantic Legacy

late nineteenth to early twentieth 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

Giacomo Puccini



Born in the Italian town of Lucca into л family with a strong musical tradition. Puccini was encouraged to develop an interest in music from a very early age. His father started him playing the organ, reportedly by placing shiny coins on the keyboard which tempted the young boy to grasp them and thus push the keys down. At school he showed little promise or dedication, preferring the company of friends and indulging a taste for practical jokes that were often both complicated and theatrical.

After moving to the local music conservatoire, the Pacini Institute, Puccini's academic record began to improve, and by the age of 16 he was showing an increasing interest in composing and improvising at the organ. In 1876 he walked for seven hours to the town of Pisa in order to attend a performance of Verdi's Aida, despite not possessing the price of a ticket. The opera awoke in Puccini a sense of the power of theatrical music, and with the help of a scholarship endowed by none other than the queen of Italy, he was able to enrol at the Milan Conservatoire in 1880, at that time the country's biggest and most prestigious music college.

Puccini's first opera, Le villi, was produced in 1884, but it was not until Manon Lescaut in 1893 that he had a major success. This work set the tone for his celebrated later works by concentrating on the psychology of its female heroine. It was followed in 1896 by one of Puccini's best-loved works, La boheme (1896), produced in Turin. This tale of the exploits of aspiring artists in the bohemian world of mid-nineteenth-century Paris reflects Puccini's experiences in Milan, and subtly marries sentiment with comedy and tragedy. These qualities, along with its masterly characterization and what Debussy called the "sheer verve of the music", have guaranteed its place over the years as one of the most popular of operas.

The string of successes continued with his next two operas, Tosca (1900) and Madama Butterfly (1904). Tosca was first performed in Rome in an atmosphere of high tension. The work's anti-authoritarian stance and disrespectful portrait of the clergy fuelled rumours that a bomb was to be thrown. The premiere passed peacefully, however, and Tosca achieved great success with the public who enjoyed the melodramatic, even sadistic plot, and the composer's unerring sense of timing. In Butterfly, which rivals La Boheme and Tosca in popularity, Puccini achieved his most successful psychological characterization. The part of the heroine — the Japanese geisha who kills herself for love of the callous American Lieutenant Pinkerton — requires exceptional vocal and acting skill from the soprano singing the title role.

Puccini's next opera was La fanciulla del West (The girl of the Golden West), first produced in New York in 1910. A raw, rip-roaring drama set in the American Wild West, it was a triumphant success under the guidance of conductor Arturo Toscanini. La fanciulla was followed by La rondine (The swallow) and a trio of varied one-act operas — Il tabarro (The overcoat), Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) and Gianni Schicchi, known collectively as Il trittico — before the composer started work on his final work, Turandot.

Puccini died of cancer before he was able to complete this work, the gruesome story of the wooing of Turandot, Princess of Peking, by an unknown prince who wins her through his courage and persistence. It is performed in a version completed by Franco Alfano. In Turandot, as in all the composer's operas, drama laden with erotic passion, tenderness, pathos, and despair is combined with music of breathtaking melodic invention. The mixture has ensured that the works of Puccini, the true successor to Verdi, continue to occupy a place at the centre of the operatic repertoire.


Giacomo Puccini



Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)



Karin Van Arkel (with Peter Nilsson at the piano)
Vissi d'arte
Luigi Campeotto
E lucevan le stelle
Drew Slatton
E lucevan le stelle

Recondita armonia

"Madama Butterfly"
Karin Van Arkel (with the Delphi Ensemble)

Che tua madre dovra

Julie Brown
O Mio Bambino 
Choeur des Marais
Prelude du 3e acte
Peter Furlong
Addio fiorito asil

Amore o grillo
Drew Slatton

O soave vision
Paul Carey Jones
Questo amor
Drew Slatton
Drew Slatton
Nessun dorma

Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra
Nessun dorma

"Il Tabarro"
Drew Slatton
Hai ben ragione

"Manon Lescaut"
Choeur des Marais
Paula Goodman
In quelle trine morbide

"La Boheme"
Julie Brown
Quando m'en vo
Daniela Stigliano
Mi chiamano Mimi
O Soave Fanciulla
Irina Vasilieva
Valse of Muzetta

"La fanciulla del West"
Paula Goodman

"Oh, I ain't lonely"

Grand Rapids Cantata Choir
Vexilla regis

Julie Brown
It is Well with my Soul





















Strauss Richard



Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy