Pedagogical traditions and compositional theory in late nineteenth-century Italy: the legacy of Italian teaching methods for Giovane Scuola composers

Pollaci, Marco (2018) Pedagogical traditions and compositional theory in late nineteenth-century Italy: the legacy of Italian teaching methods for Giovane Scuola composers. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Mainstream views on the evolution of opera composition towards its present form are fraught with reductionist – such as Wagnerian – views. These tend to neglect the wider subtleties of an extraordinarily nuanced creative landscape with many landmark influences and threads through time. A particularly barren territory is opera composition of the latter part of the nineteenth century in Italy. This is unfortunate because the heritage in question stands at the end of a long and distinguished tradition that is worthy of study.

This study demonstrates that partimento traditions and their effects are a key factor in this legacy. The Neapolitan compositional school is shown to be very much alive. Understanding this not only sheds light on the late nineteenth-century Italian opera composition but also serves as a small and modest shift towards a view of the evolution of opera composition, as a myriad of fluid forces rather than monolithic steps.

To begin the task of filling this gap in music scholarship, this thesis selects three figures who are arguably the last of the great Italian opera composers – Alfredo Catalani, Francesco Cilea and Umberto Giordano – to explore their early pedagogical foundations that underpinned their later professional activity. The three are also viewed in the shadow of Giuseppe Verdi, who is relevant for his influence on the Giovane Scuola generation.

The approach employed in this research exploits a multitude of rare sources such as sketches, counterpoint notebooks, and the studies of these individuals as pupils. It reconstructs not only the specifics of the composers’ training, but also the prevalent compositional theory and practice of the time. In parallel, it undertakes an analysis of relevant aspects of their early compositions and operatic works.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Baragwanath, Nicholas
Hibberd, Sarah
Subjects: M Music and Literature on music > ML Literature of music
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 52141
Depositing User: Pollaci, Marco
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2018 14:16
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 17:30
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/52141

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