Luigi Dallapiccola

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Dallapiccola, Luigi (b Pisino d'Istria, 1904; d Florence, 1975). It. composer and pianist. At the time of his birth, Pisino was in the Austro-Hungarian empire, being transferred to It. in 1918 (later part of Yugoslavia). Because Dallapiccola's father was suspected in 1917 of It. nationalism, the family was forcibly moved to Graz where Dallapiccola learned to admire opera and where he conceived the passionate love of liberty which inspires several of his works. In 1922 he entered the Cons. Cherubini, Florence, studying comp. under Frazzi. In 1924 a perf. of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire made a deep impression on him, in addition to his existing passion for Debussy, Monteverdi, and Gesualdo. In the late 1920s he taught, gave pf. recitals, and in 1934 joined the pf. staff of the Cons. Cherubini. Travelling abroad he met Berg, Malipiero, and Casella. He fell out of favour with the authorities because of his opposition to Fascism, but after 1945 he spent a considerable time in the USA.

Known as the principal (and probably the first) It. composer to adopt 12-note methods, Dallapiccola also remained a lyrical, thoroughly It. composer. But he did not adopt dodecaphony until he was nearly 40. His early works, such as the first pair of Cori di Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane (1933), reflect his interest in the Italian madrigalists. The later pairs (1934–6) combine the influence of Busoni with his own typically sensuous warmth. The culmination of this period of his work was the Canti di prigionia (1938–41).

In 1942 he adopted serialism, but never the purely academic variety. His natural It. aptitude for elaborate polyphony led him, in such works as Piccola musica notturna (1954), to use the all-interval row. His opera Il prigioniero (1944–8) exemplifies his unorthodoxy in using several different note-rows and ignoring other standard serial procedures. From about 1956 his music showed a Webernian intricacy in its textures and angularity, yet was never wholly devoid of the lyricism and colour of his earlier phases. Prin. comps.:OPERAS: Volo di notte (Night Flight) 1 act, lib. by composer after Saint-Exupéry (comp. 1937–9, prod. 1940); Il prigioniero (The Prisoner) (1944–8); Job (1950); Ulisse (prol. and 2 acts, lib. by composer after Homer, comp. 1959–68, prod. 1968). (See Ulysses.)BALLET: Marsia (comp. 1942–3, prod. Venice 1948).ORCH.: Piccolo Concerto per Muriel Couvreux, pf., chamber orch. (1939–41); Variations (1954) (adapted from Quaderno musicale di Annalibera, pf. 1952); Tartiniana, divertimento, vn., chamber orch. (1951); Piccola musica notturna (1954) (also arr. for chamber ens., 1961); Dialoghi, vc., orch. (1960).CHORUS & ORCH.: 6 Cori di Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane in 3 pairs: 1 (1933), unacc. mixed ch., 2 (1934–5), women's vv., 17 instr., 3 (1935–6), ch., orch.; 3 Canti di prigionia (Songs of Imprisonment) (1938–41); Requiescant (1957–8); Canti di Liberazione (1951–5).SOLO VOICE & ORCH.: Partita, orch. (sop. solo in finale) (1930–2); 3 Laudi, high v., 13 instr. (1936–7); Liriche Greche (Greek Lyrics): I, Five Sappho Fragments, v., 15 instr. (1942), II, Two Anacreonte Lyrics, v., E♭ cl., cl. in A, va., pf. (1944–5), III, 6 Songs of Alcaeus, v., 11 instr. (1943): An Mathilde, sop., orch. (1955); Concerto per la notte di Natale dell'anno 1956, chamber orch., sop. (1957): 4 liriche di Antonio Machado, sop., chamber orch. (orig. version for sop. and pf., 1948) (1964); Commiato, sop., chamber orch. (1972).INSTR.: Ciacona, Intermezzo e Adagio, vc. (1945).SONGS: Rencesval, bar. (1946); 4 Liriche di Antonio Machado, sop. (1948).

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Dallapiccola, Luigi

Dallapiccola, Luigi , eminent Italian composer and pedagogue; b. Pisino, Istria, Feb. 3, 1904; d. Florence, Feb. 19, 1975. He took piano lessons at an early age in Pisino. After training in piano and harmony in Trieste (1919–21), he studied with Ernesto Console (piano diploma, 1924) and Vito Frazzi (composition diploma, 1931) at the Florence Cons., where he subsequently was a distinguished member of the faculty (1934–67). A collection of his essays appeared as Appunti incontri meditazioni (Milan, 1970). As a composer, Dallapiccola adopted dodecaphonic procedures but added considerable innovations, such as the use of mutually exclusive triads and thematic structure and harmonic progressions. He particularly excelled in his handling of vocal lines in a complex modern idiom.


DRAMATIC Opera : Volo di notte (1937–39; Florence, May 18, 1940); II Prigioniero (1944–8; rev. version, Turin Radio, Dec. 4, 1949; stage premiere, Florence, May 20, 1950); Ulisse (1959–68; in Ger. as Odysseus, Berlin, Sept. 29, 1968. B a l l e t : Marsia (1942–43; Venice, Sept. 9, 1948). ORCH.: Partita (1930–32; Florence, Jan. 22, 1933); Piccolo Concerto per Muriel Couvreaux for Piano and Chamber Orch. (1939–41; Rome, May 1, 1941); Due pezzi (1947; based on the Due studi for Violin and Piano); Tartiniana for Violin and Chamber Orch. (1951; Bern, March 4, 1952); Variazioni per orchestra (1953–54; Louisville, Oct. 2, 1954; orchestration of Quaderno musicale di Annalibera for Piano); Piccola musica notturna (Hannover, June 7, 1954; also for 8 Instruments, 1961); Tartiniana seconda for Violin and Chamber Orch. (1956; Turin Radio, March 15, 1957; orchestration of the piece for Violin and Piano); Dialoghi for Cello and Orch. (1959–60; Venice, Sept. 17, 1960); 3 Questions with 2 Answers (1962; New Haven, Conn., Feb. 5, 1963; based on Ulisse). CHAMBER : Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio for Cello (1945); Due studi for Violin and Piano (1946–47; also used in the Due pezzi for Orch.); Tartiana seconda for Violin and Piano (1955–56; also for Violin and Chamber Orch.); Piccola musica notturna for 8 Instruments (1961; also for Orch.). Piano : Musica for 3 Pianos (1935); Sonatina canonica (1942–43); Quaderno musicale di Annalibera (1952, rev. 1953; also for Orch.; transcribed for organ by R. Shackelford, 1970). VOCAL: Due canzoni di Grado for Mezzo-soprano, Small Women’s Chorus, and Small Orch. (1927); Dalla mia terra, song cycle for Mezzo-soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1928); Due laudi di Fra Jacopone da Todi for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1929); La Canzone del Quarnaro for Tenor, Men’s Chorus, and Orch. (1930); Due liriche del Kalewala for Tenor, Baritone, Chamber Chorus, and 4 Percussion (1930); 3 studi for Soprano and Chamber Orch. (1932); Estate for Men’s Chorus (1932); Rhapsody for Voice and Chamber Orch. (1934); Divertimento in quattro esercizi for Soprano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Viola, and Cello (1934); Cori di Michelangelo I for Chorus (1933), II for Women’s Chorus and 17 Instruments (1935), and III for Chorus and Orch. (1936); 3 laudi for Soprano and Chamber Orch. (1936–37); Canti di prigionia for Chorus, 2 Pianos, 2 Harps, and Percussion (1938–41; 1st complete perf., Rome, Dec. 11, 1941); Liriche greche I: Cinque frammenti di Saffo for Voice and 15 Instruments (1942), II: Due liriche di Anacreonte for Soprano, 2 Clarinets, Viola, and Piano (1945), and III: Sex carmina Alcaei for Soprano and 11 Instruments (1943); Roncesvals for Voice and Piano (1946); Quattro liriche di Antonio Machado for Soprano and Piano (1948; also for Soprano and Chamber Orch., 1964); 3 poemi for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1949); Job, biblical drama for 5 Singers, Narrator, Chorus, Speaking Chorus, and Orch. (1949–50; Rome, Oct. 30, 1950); Canti di liberazione for Chorus and Orch. (1951–55; Cologne, Oct. 28, 1955); Goethe-Lieder for Woman’s Voice and 3 Clarinets (1953); An Mathilde, cantata for Woman’s Voice and Orch. (1955); 5 canti for Baritone and 8 Instruments (1956); Concerto per la notte di Natale dell’anno 1956 for Soprano and Chamber Orch. (1956; Tokyo, Oct. 11, 1957); Requiescant for Chorus, Children’s Chorus, and Orch. (1957–58; North German Radio, Hamburg, Nov. 17, 1959); Preghiere for Baritone and Chamber Orch. (Berkeley, Calif., Nov. 10, 1962); Parole di San Paolo for Medium Voice and Chamber Ensemble (Washington, D.C., Oct. 10, 1969); Sicut umbra… for Mezzo-soprano and 4 Instrumental Groups (1969–70; Washington, Oct. 30, 1970); Tempus destruendi/Tempus aedificandi for Chorus (1970–71); Commiato for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (Murau, Austria, Oct. 15, 1972).


B. Zanolini, L. D.: La conquista di un linguaggio (Padua, 1974); D. Kamper, Gefangenschaft und Freiheit: Leben und Werk des Komponisten L. D. (Cologne, 1984); A. Quattrocchi, ed., Studi zu L. D.: Un Seminario (Lucca, 1993); M. De Santis, ed., Fondo L. D.: Autografi, scritti a stampa, bibliografia critica con un elenco del corrispondenti (Florence, 1995); idem, ed., D.: Letture e prospettive (Milan, 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Luigi Dallapiccola

The Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975) is best known for his twelve-tone compositions, often of highly lyrical and expressive nature.

Luigi Dallapiccola was born on Feb. 3, 1904, at Pisino in Istria. The town (now Pazin; after World War I, part of Italy) belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire during his childhood. In 1917 the Dallapiccolas and other Italian families of that community were deported to Graz, Austria, for political reasons. There Dallapiccola had his first opportunity to hear major operas, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni and Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger and The Flying Dutchman. At this time he decided definitely to become a musician, although his father, a professor of classical languages, insisted that he complete a classical education also.

In 1921 Dallapiccola graduated from high school. The next year he went to Florence, where he entered the harmony class of the conservatory in 1923. Two years later he composed three songs Fiuri de Tapo (texts by Biagio Marin); these remained unpublished and unperformed. In 1931 he became a professor at the Florence Conservatory. Dallapiccola's first major commission came in 1934: Divertimento in quattro essercizi for soprano and five instruments (on a 12th-century text), written for the group Le Carillon in Geneva.

In his early works Dallapiccola did not follow twelve-tone principles. However, he came to feel that the consistent use of the twelve tones would enable him to write richer and more expressive melodies. A fine example of such a melody occurs at the beginning of his opera Volo di notte (1937-1939; Night Flight; text after Saint-Exupéry). The Canti di prigionia (1939-1941; Prison Songs; texts by Mary, Queen of Scots, Boethius, and Savonarola) are united by a single twelve-tone row but still contain many free passages. His first work to use the strict twelve-tone method throughout is the Cinque frammenti di Saffo (1942). Dallapiccola was the first Italian composer to study and apply twelve-tone principles systematically. In applying them he also found his personal style. While he learned much from the example of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern, Dallapiccola's expressiveness is his own.

Most of Dallapiccola's important works are vocal. He often chose texts which glorified the idea of liberty. Three of his major compositions on this theme are the Canti di prigionia; Il Prigioniero, a one-act opera with prologue (1949; text after Villiers de l'lsle-Adam and Charles de Coster); and Canti de liberazione for choir and orchestra (1955; Songs of Liberation; texts from Castillio, St. Augustine, and the Book of Exodus). His opera Ulysses (1967) deals with Ulysses's quest for himself and his final delivery into the hands of God. He also composed Sicut Umbra (1970) and Commiato (1972). Dallapiccola died on February 19, 1975 and was buried in Florence.

Further Reading

A biography available in English on Dallapiccola is Roman Vlad's brief study, Luigi Dallapiccola (trans. 1957). A lengthy biography appears in Thompson, Oscar, ed., International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians (11th edition, Dodd, Mead & Co, Inc., 1985). □

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Dallapiccola, Luigi (1904–75) Italian composer. He was the first Italian composer to use atonality, adopting the twelve-tone system of Schoenberg in the 1930s. The opera Volo di notte (1940) is a fine example. Persecuted during World War II, he wrote many pieces concerned with freedom, notably Canti di Prigonia (1941).