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Gian Francesco Malipiero

Gian Francesco Malipiero

Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973) was one of Italy's most respected and prolific composers. Aside from his own symphonic, operatic, vocal and chamber music compositions, he was a musicologist and music educator who edited Monteverdi and Vivaldi—for which he was well-known. He was said to write brilliantly for the orchestra, but on the whole his works found little popular acceptance. Stylistically, he fell between Puccini and Respighi.

Gian Francesco Malipiero was born Aug. 3, 1882, in Venice, and spent much of his life there. The grandson and son of musicians, he studied the violin as a boy in Venice and in Vienna. Upon returning to his native city, he entered the Liceo Musicale Benedetto Marcello as a composition student and transferred to the conservatory in Bologna.

Stravinsky Was an Early Influence

In 1913 Malipiero went to Paris, where he met Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky and heard the first performance of the latter's Rite of Spring. This was a turning point in Malipiero's life. He repudiated all of his earlier compositions and set about achieving an individual style of music that would be freed from the clichés of the overwhelmingly popular 19th-century opera—a problem faced by several Italian composers of his generation.

He Edited Monteverdi, Vivaldi

Malipiero found elements of his mature style in the works of 17th-and 18th-century Italian composers, such as Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, Giuseppe Tartini, and Antonio Vivaldi. Almost none of the music of these masters was available; when Malipiero found the manuscripts and original editions in the library of the Liceo Musicale in Venice, he started the lifelong project of transcribing and publishing them.

One of the results of these efforts was Vivaldiana, for which Malipiero was well-known. With his original Inventions (two sets, the latter titled The Feast of the Indolents), he combined a wide range of orchestral and operatic compositions. A portion of the work was used in the Walter Ruttmann film Steel.

Taught and Popularized Italian Music

Malipiero was a composer but he was also an academic. In 1921 he became a professor at the Parma Conservatory, and in 1924 he cofounded (with Alfredo Casella) an association for the popularization of modern Italian music. Malipiero's Antonio e Cleopatra was first performed on May 4, 1938, in Florence. For this opera, he wrote his own libretto. From 1939 to 1952 Malipiero would direct music institutes at Padua and Venice.

Music Didn't Survive Initial Performances

Malipiero wrote more than 25 operas, 4 ballets, 15 symphonic poems, 9 symphonies, 4 piano concertos, a violin concerto, large works for choir and orchestra, chamber music, and piano music. Most of this music was performed at the Festival of Contemporary Music held biannually in Venice, but little of it survived the premieres. This was probably because Malipiero's style was unpopular with the general public, the critics, and his fellow professional musicians.

Malipiero's style was highly intellectual and based upon his desire to return to the foundations of Italian music. He carefully avoided spectacular or exciting effects. For his librettos he frequently chose fantastic or metaphysical tales whose elusive meaning left the general audience more bewildered than satisfied.

Gian Francesco Malipiero died Jan. 8, 1973, in Venice.

Further Reading

Malipiero's Antonio e Cleopatra is discussed in Opera News (June 1988). His work is also discussed in an article titled "La musica di Gian Francesco Malipiero" Music and Letters (Feb. 1992); and in Cynthia Barr, "The Musicological Legacy of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge" Journal of Musicology (Spring 1993).

For biographical information on Malipiero see G. Francesco Malipiero (Chester, 1922); Nicolas Slonimsky, Music since 1900 (W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1937, 3d rev. ed. 1949); Gerald Abraham, A Hundred Years of Music (Duckworth, 1938, 2d ed. 1949); David Ewen, ed., The Book of Modern Composers (Knopf, 1942, 3d ed. 1961); and Malipiero, Scrittura e Critica (Firenze, 1984).

Correspondence between Malipiero and composer/author Everett Burton Helm, and between Malipiero and stage director Max Heinrich Fisher, may be found in the Manuscripts Department at Indiana University's Lilly Library. Within the 234 items are articles Helm wrote about Malipiero, including an interview Helm conducted with him. The file also contains the manuscripts of Malipiero's "Il commitato per orchestra e una voce," dated July 23, 1934, as well as newspaper clippings and photographs of Malipiero. □

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"Gian Francesco Malipiero." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Malipiero, Gian Francesco

Malipiero, Gian Francesco (b Venice, 1882; d Treviso, 1973). It. composer. Settled in Venice 1904–15, but spent some months in Berlin in 1908–10 attending lectures by Bruch. In this period, in the Marciana Library, Venice, he discovered and transcr. the almost forgotten works of Monteverdi, Galuppi, Tartini, Stradella, etc. This determined him to rebel against the ‘operatic tyranny’ of It. mus. life. In 1913 he met Casella, who became his colleague in the struggle. Became prof. of comp., Parma, 1921–3. Then settled at Asolo. Taught comp. at Liceo B. Marcello, Venice, from 1932, becoming dir. 1939–52. Pubd. complete edn. in 16 vols. of Monteverdi 1926–42 which stimulated present revival of interest. Also ed. many vols. of Vivaldi's complete works. Author of books on Vivaldi, Monteverdi, and Stravinsky. He destroyed most of his mus. written before 1914, but thereafter he was a prolific composer and wrote many operas. His mus., naturally influenced by the early It. composers, also shows traces of Debussy's impressionism and, in the 1920s, the angularity of a Janáček. The later works border on atonality, but he rejected serialism. Prin. works:OPERAS: L'Orfeide (triptych: La Morte delle maschera, 1921–2, Sette canzoni (1918–19), Orfeo, 1919–20); S. Francesco d'Assisi (1920–1); Tre Commedie Goldoniane (triptych: La bottega da caffè, 1922, Sior Todero Brontolon, 1922, Le baruffe chiozzote, 1920); Filomela e L'infatuato (1925); Merlino mastro d'organi (1926–7); Il Mistero di Venezia (triptych: Le Aquile di Aquileia, 1928, Il finto Arlecchino, 1925, I Corvi di S. Marco, 1928); Torneo Notturno (1929); I Trionfi d'amore (triptych: Castel smeraldo, Mascherate, Giochi olimpici, comp. 1930–1. No.2 perf. 1937 as Il festino); La Favola del figlio cambiato (1932–3); Giulio Cesare (1934–5); Antonio e Cleopatra (1936–7); Ecuba (1940); La Vita sogno (1940–1); I Capricci di Callot (1941–2); L'Allegra brigata (1943); Vergilii Aeneis (1943–4); Mondi celesti e infernali (1948–9); Il Figliuol prodigo (1952); Donna Urraca (1953–4); Il Capitan Spavento (1954–5); Venere prigioniera (1955); Rappresentazione e festa di Carnasciale e della Quaresima (1961); Don Giovanni (1962); Le Metamorfosi di Bonaventura (1963–5); Don Tartufo Bacchettone (1966); Il Marescalco (1960–8); Gli eroi di Bonaventura (1968); Uno dei dieci (1970); L'Iscariota (1970).BALLETS, etc.: Pantea (1917–19); Stradivario (1947–8); Il Mondo Novo (1950–1).ORCH.: syms.: No.1 (‘in 4 movements like the 4 seasons’, 1933), No.2 (Elegiaca, 1936), No.3 (delle Campane, 1944–5), No.4 (In Memoriam, 1946), No.5 (Concertante, in Eco, 1947), No.6, for str. (1947), No.7 ( delle Canzoni, 1948), No.8 ( Sinfonia brevis, 1964), No.9 (dell’ ahimè, 1966), No.10 (Atropo, 1967), No.11 (delle cornamuse, 1970); Sinfonia in un tempo (1950); Sinfonia dello Zodiaco (1951); Impressioni dal Vero I (1910–11), II (1915), III (1921–2); Pause del Silenzio I (1917), II (1925–6); Concerti (1931); 4 Invenzioni (1933), Vivaldiana (1952).INSTR. & ORCH.: Variazioni senza Tema, pf., orch. (1923); vn. conc. No.1 (1932), No.2 (1963); pf. conc. No.1 (1934), No.2 (1937), No.3 (1948), No.4 (1950), No.5 (1958), No.6 (1964); vc. conc. (1937); Triple Conc. (1938); Dialogo, 2 pf. (1956); fl. conc. (1968).VOICES & ORCH.: La Principessa Ulalia, cantata (1924); La Cena, soloists., ch., orch. (1927); La Passione, soloists., ch., orch. (1935); Missa pro mortuis, bar., ch., orch. (1938); Vergilii Aeneis, heroic sym., 7 soloists., ch., orch. (1943–4); La festa della Sensa, bar., ch., orch. (1948); Magister Josephus, 4 vv., small orch. (1957).VOICES & CHAMBER ENS.: De profundis, v., va., bass drum, pf. (1937); Universa Universis, male ch., chamber orch. (1942); Mondi celesti, v., 10 instrs. (1948); Ave Phoebe dum queror, ch., 20 instrs. (1964).CHAMBER MUSIC: str. qt. No.1 (1920), No.2 (1923), No.3 (1931), No.4 (1934), No.5 (1950), No.6 (1947), No.7 (1950), No.8 (1963–4) (No.5 based on material from opera I Capricci di Callot, 1941–2); Sonata, vn., vc., pf. (1927); vc. sonatina (1942); wind quintet (1956).

Also songs and pf. pieces.

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"Malipiero, Gian Francesco." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Malipiero, Gian Francesco." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/malipiero-gian-francesco

Malipiero, Gian Francesco

Gian Francesco Malipiero (jän fränchā´skō mälēpyā´rō), 1882–1973, Italian composer. Malipiero studied in Venice and Bologna with Enrico Bossi and taught at the Conservatory of Parma, at the Univ. of Padua, and in Venice. He did important research in early Italian music, edited the works of Monteverdi (16 vol., 1926–42), Vivaldi, and others, and published studies of the music. Rispetti e strambotti (1920) is among his best-known chamber works. His compositions include songs, concertos, choral works, orchestral music, and numerous operas. His work is strongly influenced by older Italian music and French innovations of the early 20th cent.

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