Luigi Dallapiccola

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Luigi Dallapiccola (born February 3, 1904 in Pisino / Pazin , Istria , † February 19, 1975 in Florence ) was an Italian composer .


Plaque on Dallapiccola's house in Florence

Dallapiccola was born the son of a school principal, began playing the piano at the age of eight and began composing from the age of eleven. When the First World War broke out, his studies were interrupted in 1917. His family was deported to Graz for almost two years and interned there. During this time he came into contact with German and Austrian opera - especially that of Richard Wagner and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart . His family returned to Istria in 1919, where he was able to continue his education, and he also traveled to Trieste for private piano and harmony lessons. From 1922 to 1924 Dallapiccola studied piano with Ernesto Consolo in Florence. The encounter with Arnold Schönberg's Pierrot lunnaire solidified his decision to embark on a career as a composer and so he studied composition with Vito Frazzi at the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory in Florence until the early 1930s . From 1934 to 1967 he worked there himself as a teacher for piano and composition. This activity allowed him to travel and get to know a wide variety of works and composers, including Alban Berg and Anton Webern . Luigi Dallapiccola was active well into old age and traveled through Europe, England, the USA and Argentina. He was a valued teacher and lecturer and has taught at various institutions including the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood and Queens College.


His operas are considered modern classics today . One of his achievements is the introduction of the twelve-tone technique in Italy . However, this twelve-tone technique does not follow the “traditional” rules according to Arnold Schönberg , but rather is to be understood in terms of motifs. His compositional style is also characterized by a counterpoint that is based on Johann Sebastian Bach and Italian models ( Tartiniana ). Dallapiccola was best known for the world premiere of the orchestral work with soprano solo Partita (1930–1932). In his entire oeuvre , which comprises about four dozen works, vocal music occupies the most important position.

Although he was initially still impressed by Gabriele D'Annunzio's fantasies of great power - he set his “Kvarner Lied” (Italian La Canzone del Quarnaro ) to music in 1930 , in which Italy's claim to Istria, Dalmatia and the Adriatic islands is sung about in later years he took a clearer position on political and social issues in his works. Examples of this are the anti-fascist Canti di prigionia (1938–1941, songs of imprisonment ) and the Canti di liberazione (1951–1955, songs of liberation ).

The main focus of Dallapiccola's work, however, was the genre of opera, which he cultivated in a very Italian sense by not saying goodbye to the custom of bel canto , but using it in the light of twelve-tone technique and counterpoint in a way that is more lyrical than that of Alban Berg and Schönberg. Dallapiccola was the director of the “Florentine School of Dodecaphony ”, which helped determine the cultural life of Florence at the time , to which the guitarist and composer Reginald Smith Brindle belonged.

In 1950, Dallapiccola was made an honorary member of the International Society for Contemporary Music ISCM . In 1964 he was awarded the Ludwig Spohr Prize of the City of Braunschweig and in 1973 an Antonio Feltrinelli Prize . Since 1964 he was an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters .

Works (selection)

  • Fiuri de tapo for voice and piano, text: Biagio Marin (1925)
  • Caligo for voice and piano, text: Biagio Marin (1926)
  • Dalla mia terra for mezzo-soprano, choir and orchestra (1928)
  • Due liriche del Kalewala for tenor, baritone, chamber choir and 4 percussionists (1930)
  • La canzone del Quarnaro for tenor and male choir (1930)
  • Partita for soprano, choir and orchestra (1930–1932)
  • Estate for male choir a cappella (1932)
  • Tre studi for soprano and chamber orchestra (1932)
  • Rapsodia for voice and chamber orchestra (1932–1933)
  • Sei cori di Michelangelo Buonarroti (the Younger) (1933-1936)
  • Divertimento in quattro esercizi for soprano and 5 instruments (1934)
  • Musica per tre pianoforti (Inni) for 3 pianos (1935)
  • Tre laudi for soprano or tenor and 13 instruments (1936–1937)
  • Canti di prigionia for mixed choir and instruments (1938–1941)
  • Piccolo concerto per Muriel Couvreux for piano and orchestra (1939–1941)
  • Volo di notte , opera in one act based on texts by the composer (after Vol de nuit by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ) (1940)
  • Cinque frammenti di Saffo for soprano and chamber orchestra, in a translation by Salvatore Quasimodo (1942)
  • Tre episodi dal balletto "Marsia" for piano (1942–1943)
  • Sonatina canonica for piano, on Capricci by Paganini (1942–1943)
  • Marsia, balletto drammatico in un atto (1943)
  • Sex carmina Alcaei for soprano and 11 instruments, in a translation by Salvatore Quasimodo (1943)
  • Il prigioniero , opera in one act, libretto by the composer (based on La torture by Auguste de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam ) (1944–1948)
  • Due liriche di Anacreonte for soprano and instruments, in a translation by Salvatore Quasimodo (1945)
  • Ciaccona, intermezzo e adagio for cello solo (1945)
  • Rencesvals: Trois Fragments de la Chanson de Roland for voice and piano (1946)
  • Due pezzi for orchestra (arrangement of Due Studi for violin and piano) (1946–1947)
  • Due studi for violin and piano (1947)
  • Quattro liriche di Antonio Machado for voice and piano (1948)
  • Tre poemi for soprano and chamber orchestra, texts by James Joyce , Michelangelo Buonarroti and Manuel Machado (also for voice and piano) (1949)
  • Job, sacra rappresentazione for soloists, speakers, choir and orchestra, texts by the composer (based on the book of Job) (1950)
  • Tartiniana for violin and orchestra, on themes by Tartini (1951)
  • Canti di liberazione for choir and orchestra (1951–1955)
  • Quaderno musicale di Annalibera for piano (1952)
  • Goethe songs for female voice and 3 clarinets (1953)
  • Piccola musica notturna for orchestra (also for chamber ensemble) (1954)
  • Variazioni for orchestra (arrangement of the Quaderno musicale di Annalibera for piano) (1954)
  • To Mathilde for female voice and orchestra, text: Heinrich Heine (1955)
  • Tartiniana seconda for violin and orchestra, on themes by Tartini (1956)
  • Tartiniana seconda for violin and piano, on themes by Tartini (1956)
  • Concerto per la notte di Natale dell'anno 1956 for chamber orchestra and soprano, texts by Jacopone da Todi (1956–1957)
  • Cinque canti for baritone and instruments on Greek poems in the translation by Salvatore Quasimodo (1956)
  • Requiescant for mixed choir, children's choir and orchestra, texts by Oscar Wilde and James Joyce (1957–1958)
  • Dialoghi for violoncello and orchestra (1959–1960)
  • Piccola musica notturna, octet version (flute, oboe, clarinet, celesta, harp, violin, viola and violoncello) (1961)
  • Preghiere for baritone and chamber ensemble, text: Murilo Mendes (1962)
  • Three questions with two answers for orchestra (1962)
  • Parole di San Paolo for mezzo-soprano and 11 instruments on 1st Corinthians (1964)
  • Ulisse opera in two acts with a prologue, libretto by the composer (based on Homer ) (1968, his opus summum)
  • Sicut Umbra ... for mezzo-soprano and 15 instruments, text: Juan Ramón Jiménez (1970)
  • Tempus destruendi - Tempus aedificandi for mixed choir a cappella (1970–1971)
  • Commiato for soprano and 15 performers, text: Brunetto Latini (1972)


  • Harald Kaufmann , On the relationship between two muses. About the word-tone problem: Dallapiccola's “Prigioniero”, Webern's traced song “The Sun” , in: Harald Kaufmann, Spurlinien. Analytical essays on language and music , Elisabeth Lafite, Vienna 1969.
  • Fiamma Nicolodi (Ed.), Per L. Dallapiccola. Saggi, testimonianze, carteggio, biografia e bibliografia , Suvini Zerboni, Milano 1975.
  • Peter Horst Neumann / Jürg Stenzl , Luigi Dallapiccola's "Goethe Songs" , in: Swiss Contributions to Musicology , vol. 4, studies on the music of the 19th and 20th centuries, Haupt, Bern / Stuttgart 1980, pp. 171-191.
  • Fiamma Nicolodi (Ed.), Luigi Dallapiccola. Parole e musica , (edizione aggiornata ed ampliata), Il Saggiatore, Milano 1980.
  • Fiamma Nicolodi, Gusti e tendenze del Novecento musicale in Italia , Sansoni, Firenze 1982.
  • Dietrich Kämper : Captivity and Freedom. Life and work of the composer Luigi Dallapiccola. Guitar + Laute Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne 1984, ISBN 3-88583-005-1 .
  • Fiamma Nicolodi, Musica e musicisti nel ventennio fascista , Discanto, Fiesole / FI 1984.
  • Massimo Venuti, Il teatro di Dallapiccola , Suvini Zerboni, Milano 1985.
  • Jessica Harrison Howard, Luigi Dallapiccola's "Prigioniero": a music-dramatic analysis of scene 4 , Ann Arbor (UMI) 1989.
  • Jürg Stenzl , From Giacomo Puccini to Luigi Nono. Italian music 1922–1952: Fascism ─ Resistancea ─ Republic , Frits Knuf, Buren 1990.
  • Arrigo Quattrocchi (ed.), Studi su Luigi Dallapiccola , LIM, Lucca 1993, ISBN 88-7096-067-6 .
  • Dietrich Kämper , Luigi Dallapiccola's "Canti di liberazione" , in: Hermann Danuser / Günter Katzenberger (edd.), From ideas to works of art. The composition process in the music of the 20th century , Laaber Verlag, Laaber 1993, pp. 287-296.
  • Joachim Noller, dodecaphony via Proust and Joyce. On the musical poetics of Luigi Dallapiccola , in: Archive for Musicology 51/1994, pp. 131-144.
  • Julia van Hees, Luigi Dallapiccola's stage work »Ulisse«. Studies on the work and genesis of the work , Gustav Bosse, Kassel 1994.
  • Pierre Michel, Luigi Dallapiccola , Contrechamps, Genève 1996.
  • Mila De Santis (Ed.), Dallapiccola. Letture e prospettive, Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi (Empoli / Firenze, 16-19 febbraio 1995) , Ricordi / LIM, Milano / Lucca 1997, ISBN 88-7096-220-2 .
  • Ute Schomerus, Ecce homo: The Sacra Rappresentazione »Job« by Luigi Dallapiccola , Von Bockel, Hamburg 1998.
  • Mario Ruffini, L'opera di Luigi Dallapiccola, Catalogo Ragionato , Suvini Zerboni, Milano 2002, ISBN 88-900691-0-4 .
  • Raymond Fearn, The music of Luigi Dallapiccola , University of Rochester Press, Rochester / NY 2003.
  • Roberto Illiano (Ed.), Italian Music during the Fascist Period , Brepols, Turnhout 2004.
  • Sergio Sablich, Luigi Dallapiccola , Edizioni Epos, Palermo 2004, ISBN 88-8302-241-6 .
  • Mila De Santis (Ed.), Ricercare. Parole, musica e immagini dalla vita e dall'opera di Luigi Dallapiccola , exhibition catalog Firenze ( Palazzo Pitti ) 2005, Editore Polistampa, Firenze 2005, ISBN 88-8304-962-4 .
  • Ulrich Tadday (Ed.): Music Concepts 158. Luigi Dallapiccola. edition text + kritik, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86916-216-4 .
  • Luciano Alberti, La giovinezza sommersa di un compositore: Luigi Dallapiccola , Leo S. Olschki, Firenze 2013, ISBN 978-88-222-6230-1 .
  • Harmut Krones, Therese Muxeneder (eds.), Luigi Dallapiccola the Vienna School and Vienna , writings of the Arnold Schönberg Science Center, Böhlau Verlag 2013, ISBN 978-3-205-78822-5 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Luigi Dallapiccola | Biography & History | AllMusic. Retrieved August 27, 2018 .
  2. Martin Demmler: Composers of the Twentieth Century . Reclam, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-15-010447-5 , pp. 86-88 .
  3. Jörg-Peter Mittmann: The dodecaphone impressionist. On Luigi Dallapiccola's Piccola musica notturna Journal of the Society for Music Theory, 2010
  4. Original text by D'Annunzio: Beffa di Buccari ( Memento of the original from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Written in 1918, after the legendary coup of the frigate captain Costanzo Ciano in the bay of Buccari @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Faith, freedom, resistance. Notes on Luigi Dallapiccola's Canti di prigionia Habakuk Traber, Berlin 2002
  6. ^ Reginald Smith Brindle: Variations and Interludes. Fifty years with the guitar. In: Guitar & Laute 9, 1987, Issue 1, pp. 29–45; here: p. 34.
  7. ^ ISCM Honorary Members
  8. ^ Honorary Members: Luigi Dallapiccola. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed March 8, 2019 .

Web links