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

Giuseppe Verdi



Giuseppe Verdi was born into a poor family near Parma in Italy. When he showed early musical promise, his father made sacrifices to buy him a second-hand spinet, on which Verdi learnt the basics of music.

At the age of 12 Verdi became the local organist; despite talent as a composer, however, he was denied entrance to the Milan Conservatoire in favour of better-trained young musicians. Undeterred by this rejection, Verdi persisted and was rewarded when a patron enabled him to study privately in Milan. At 20 Verdi was by all accounts badly dressed, with a wasted figure and a face that could have been chiselled from a block of wood; nonetheless, his patron's daughter, to whom he was giving singing and piano lessons, fell in love with him. The two were married in 1836.

Verdi had by this time penned his first opera, Oberto; with the help of friends it was produced at La Scala opera house. Its moderate success led to a commission to write three more. The first, a comedy, was a failure. Nabucco soon followed and was an instant success. Its plot, concerning the conflict between Assyrians and Jews, immediately tired the imaginations of the Italian audience. They empathized with the plight of the Jews, sensing

 similarities with their own struggle against Austrian oppression, and the famous Slaves' chorus "Va pensiero", was encored at its premiere despite a rule to the contrary. The production of Nabucco took place during a time of great emotional upheaval for Verdi: in quick succession he lost his two children and then his wife. Only the support of friends got him through what was the most difficult period of his life. The opera's success helped restore a temporary lack of faith in himself, and Verdi threw himself into his work, striving for new heights of achievement.

Italian opera up to this time had been dominated by Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, whose approach allowed singers to demonstrate their talents in showpiece arias. Verdi was more concerned with the dramatic aspects of opera. In fact he asked for a "rough, hoarse, and gloomy voice, with something diabolical about it" for the role of Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (1847), rather than the soprano already chosen, who could merely sing "to perfection."

After Macbeth three of Verdi's most famous operas followed: Rigoletto in 1851, La traviata in 1853 — both using libretti by Francesco Mana Piave, with whom Verdi collaborated on nine operas — and Il trovatore, also in 1853. La traviata treats the theme of selfless love, whereas the other two are highly emotional operas centring on the darker side of human nature and involving hatred, murder, torture, dishonour, and seduction. More operas followed, showing further maturing of style and enlargement of vision: Les vepres siciliennies was written for Paris, Un ballo in maschera for Romе, La forza del destino for St Petersburg, Don Carlo again for Pans, and Aida for Cairo. Verdi spent more time travelling; in London he met Giuseppa Strepponi, whom he married in 1859.

For 15 years after Aida in 1871 Verdi wrote no more operas; but in 1874 his masterly Requiem, written to commemorate his friend the poet and novelist Manzoni, was first performed in Milan. The mixture of religious devotion with highly dramatic music may have offended the purists, but this choral work was nonetheless another triumph.

By now in his seventies, Verdi composed his two last operas, Otello and Falstaff, performed m 1887 and 1893 respectively. Both were unqualified successes. Verdi was nervous about the reception that would be accorded Falstaff, perhaps mindful of the failure of his earlier comedy. But this time he had a brilliant librettist in Arrigo Boito, and Verdi drew on a lifetime's experience to create an opera in which plot, orchestra, music, and singers are perfectly balanced.

Verdi died in Milan in 1901 at the grand age of 87. Two-hundred-thousand people watched his funeral procession pass by, and although he had requested that no music be played, a member of the crowd began to sing "'Va pensiero" and the refrain was taken up by the multitude.


Giuseppe Verdi



Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)



Messa da Requiem


Quattro pezzi sacri
Ave Maria
Stabat mater
Laudi alla vergine Maria
Te Deum

Karin Van Arkel (with Peter Nilsson at the piano)
Ritorna Vincitor
Choeur des Marais, L. Touche - piano
Choeur triomphal

Drew Slatton
Celeste Aida

Irina Vasilieva
Aria of Sacerdotessa

Women's Glee Club
Witches' Chorus
Peter Furlong
Ah, la paterna mano
Paula Goodman Wilder
Si colme il calice
La luce Langue

"Le Trouvere"
Choeur des Marais, L. Touche - piano
Choeur des bohemiens

Caltech Women's Glee Club
Vedi! Le fosche notturne spoglie
Irina Vasileva
Aria of Leonora

Choeur des Marais, L. Touche - piano
Choeur des zingarelle
Prelude du 3e acte

Women's Glee Club
Drew Slatton
Daniela Stigliano
Libiam nei lieti calici
Addio del passato

Choeur des Marais
, L. Touche - piano
Choeur des esclaves

Irina Vasilieva
Aria of Abigaile
Women's Glee Club
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves

Krista Adams Santilli
Caro Nome
Martha Kostiouk Hollier
Arie of Gilda

"Un ballo in maschera"
Shuna Sendall
Morro, ma prima in grazia



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







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