You are here
Opera and lyrical music
Sheet music for Pietro Raimondi
Raimondi wrote 62 Operas, 21 Ballets, 6 Masses, 5 Oratorios, 3 Requiems, Settings of the complete book of psalms for 5 to 9 voices, and many other contrapuntal works for voices and choirs (for example 1 fugue for 16 choirs in 64 parts!). His first opera "Le Bizarrie d’Amore" achieved considerable sucess in Genoa in 1807, but the appearance on the scene of Rossini, followed by Bellini and Donizetti ensured Raimondi’s obscurity as an operatic composer.
Many of his contrapuntal works DO deserve to be remembered (if not performed), for the prodigious complexity of his polyphonal writing. For instance, he wrote six 4 part fugues, which could be performed either as separate fugues, or in any combination of some or all of them simultaneously. Since the key signature of each was different, this was probably one of the first examples of polytonality.
He is remembered, if at all, for 3 oratorios and 2 operas. The oratorios "Putifar, Giuseppe and Giacobbe" were actually performed once in Rome in August 1853. On the first night, "Potifar" was performed, on the second - "Joseph", on the third - "Jacob" and on the fourth nigh, all three were performed simultaneously, the 3 conductors being conducted by Raimondi himself. Although the separate performances were only moderately successful, on the fourth night with over 400 musicians and 4 conductors participating, the reception was apparently tumultuous.
A similar reception would probably have been received by his opera seria "Adelasia" and his opera buffo "I Quattro Rustici" had they ever been performed, since on the 3rd night the serious and comic opera were designed to be performed simultaneously on adjacent sets.
Though it is inconceivable that Raimondi should be performed today, his academic achievement should not be forgotten.
He was born of poor parents in Rome in 1786. At an early age he studied at the Conservatorio de la Pièta dó Turchini in Naples for 6 years. He then travelled (mostly on foot) to Rome, to Florence, then to Genoa where his first opera was performed in 1807.He remained for three years,a new opera being performed each year. After a year (and 2 operas) in Florence, he moved between Rome, Milan, Naples and Sicily until he was appointed director of the Royal Theatres in Naples from 1824 to 1832. In 1831 the success of his opera "Il Ventaglio" earned him the post of professor of composition in the Conservatorio in Palermo. In 1850 he was appointed Maestro di Capella at St. Peter’s in Rome, where he remained until his death in 1853.