Alessandro Felici

Alessandro Felici (21 November 1742 in Florence, Italy – 21 August 1772 in Florence, Italy[1]) was an Italian composer and violinist, not to be confused with his contemporary, Roman composer Felice Alessandri.

Frontpage of the libretto of the opera L'amore soldato composed by Felici in 1769 as conserved in the International Museum and Music Library in Bologna

LifeEdit

Alessandro Felici’s father was Bartolomeo Felici, Kapellmeister of the Florentine church of San Marco. Bartolomeo taught his son how to play the organ and music composition, while contemporarily, Felici studied with violinist Giuseppe Castrucci.[2] When he was 14 years old, he was already well known in Florence for his virtuosity on the harpsichord and organ.[3] He showed interest in composing for the theater, and in 1765 his father sent him to Naples, the Italian city known for its bustling opera scene.[3] In Naples, he studied dramatic theater with Gennaro Manna.[2] Felici returned to Florence in 1767 and began composing his own operas, distinguished as being much more cuttingly expressive than the works of his contemporaries (anticipating the romantic period),[4] which guaranteed his immediate and notable success.[2][3] We know of more than ten theatrical works,[3][5] not only performed in Florence but also in Rome, Venice, Turin, Milan, and even as far as Madrid and Leipzig.[2][4] In 1769, his opera entitled Apollo in Tessaglia inaugurated the concerts of the Ingegnosi Academy.[4][5] He was also very engaged in composing sacred and instrumental music, of which the keyboard pieces stand out: they shaped the modern conception of the concert as well as sonate composed in the same time in London and Vienna:[4] his works for harpsichord, as observed by Fausto Torrefranca, anticipate some themes of Mozart and Clementi.[6][7] Simultaneously, he devoted himself to teaching organ and composition at his father’s music school. Their most celebrated student was the famous opera composer, Luigi Cherubini.[8] Felici’s career was unexpectedly interrupted by tuberculosis, which was the cause of his death at the young age of twenty-nine.[3] His only critic was marquis Eugène de Ligniville, who wrote in a letter to Giovanni Battista Martini that his hunting dog knew more about counterpoint than Felici.[9]

 
First page of soloist's part of the Concerto per cembalo, violini obbligati, corni da caccia, viola e basso in B flat major, composed by Felici. Manuscripts dated 1770 in Fondo Ricasoli at University of Louisville, Kentucky[10]

SourcesEdit

Little is left of his musical production.[11] We have the musical scores of only one of his operas, L'amore soldato (performed in Venice in 1769), in various different types of copies (even manuscripts from the 1900s) found in libraries in Dresden (Sächsische Landesbibliothek/Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek), Vienna (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), Budapest (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár) and Washington (Library of Congress).[4][11] Contemporary handwritten manuscripts of his sacred and secular works (concerts, sonatas for harpsichord, parts of operatic arias) are mostly conserved in Venice (in the Torrefranca Collection at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory[12][13]), and in Louisville (in the Ricasoli Collection at the University of Louisville).[13][14] Manuscripts that are attributed to Felici have been found in Pistoia (Musical Archive of the Pistoia Cathedral), Bologna (Conservatorio Giovanni Battista Martini), Florence (Luigi Cherubini Conservatory),[2] and Siena (Cathedral Archive, Piccolomini Library and Metropolitan Opera).[15][13] The Musical Documentation Center of Tuscany (Centro Documentazione Musicale della Toscana[permanent dead link] [it]) discovered works by Felici in the Venturi Music Collection in Montecatini Terme.[16] The librettos of his operas are mostly conserved at the Conservatory in Florence, in the Florentine Marucelliana Library, in the International Museum and Music Library in Bologna, in the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice and in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin.[5]

RecordingsEdit

In 1969 classical band Solisti Romani (Massimo Coen, Mario Baruffa, Luigi Lanzillotta), with Paola Bernardi playing the harpsichord, recorded the Concerto in F major for harpsichord by Felici in the Auditorium of the Discoteca di Stato in Rome. After being published in various forms (LP, CD), the recording was digitalized by the Italian Central Institute of Audio and Audiovisual Property on its own website.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Felici. Famiglia di musicisti italiani, in Dizionario enciclopedico universale della musica e dei musicisti, ed. Alberto Basso, serie II: Le biografie, vol. 2: BUS-FOX, Torino, UTET, 1985, p. 726.
  2. ^ a b c d e Cristina Ciccaglione Badii, Felici. Famiglia di musicisti attivi a Firenze nel sec. XVIII, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 46, Roma, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996, available on-line at Treccani.it (Italian site).
  3. ^ a b c d e Mario Fabbri, La giovinezza di Luigi Cherubini nella vita musicale fiorentina del suo tempo, in Luigi Cherubini nel II centenario della nascita. Contributo alla conoscenza della vita e dell'opera, Firenze, Olschki, 1962, pp. 16-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e Robert Lamar Weaver, Felici, Alessandro, in The New Grove of Music and Musicians. Second Edition, ed. Stanley Sadie, executive editor John Tyrrell, vol. 8: Egypt to Flor, London, Macmillan, 2001-2002, pp. 654-655.
  5. ^ a b c Marcello De Angelis (editor), Melodramma, spettacolo e musica nella Firenze dei Lorena, Firenze, Giunta Regionale Toscana/Milano, Bibliografica, 1991, documents 119, 154, 170, 178, 180, 197, 208, 224, 427.
  6. ^ Torrefranca obtained a manuscript, probably autographed, with the six sonatas for harpsichord by Felici, today conserved at the Venice Conservatory, on which he annotated many impressions in pencil. In the margins of Sonata V, Torrefranca wrote: «What does it remind me of? Maybe Mozart?». Cfr. Alessandro Felici, Sei sonate da cimbalo, modern edition edited by Roberto Becheri, Mantova, Quaderni di Musicaaa!, no date [2014], p. 4, available on-line at Quaderni di Musicaaa! official site (in Italian) and in pdf (text in Italian)
  7. ^ ""Sei sonate per cembalo", in the Torrefranca Collection at Venice Conservatory". SBN.it. (Italian site)
  8. ^ Mario Fabbri, Alessandro Felici: il terzo maestro di Luigi Cherubini, in Adelmo Damerini, Gino Roncaglia (editors), Musiche italiane rare e vive da Giovanni Gabrieli a Giuseppe Verdi. Per la XIX settimana musicale, 22-30 luglio 1962, Siena, Ticci, 1962, pp. 183-194.
  9. ^ Duccio Pieri, Il marchese Eugenio de Ligniville. Sovrintendente alla musica della Real Camera e Cappella, in Philomusica. Rivista del dipartimento di filologia musicale, V/1 (2006), Pavia, Pavia University Press, 2006, footnote 71, available on-line (text in Italian).
  10. ^ "Manuscript page". RISM.
  11. ^ a b Gabriele Giacomelli, Felici, Alessandro, in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik begründet von Friedrich Blume, edited by Ludwig Finscher, serie I: Personenteil, vol. 6: E-Fra, Kassel-Basel-London-New York-Praha, Bärenreiter/Stuttgart-Weimar, Metzler, 2001, columns 921-922 (text in German).
  12. ^ "Manuscripts by Felici". SBN. (Italian site)
  13. ^ a b c "Search for "Alessandro Felici"". RISM.
  14. ^ Susan Parisi (ed.), The Music Library of a Noble Florentine Family, Sterling Heights (MI), Harmonie Park Press, 2012, pp. 132-133 (catalogue: Secular Music, 55-57). Digitalization of Louisville documents are available in [imslp.org/wiki/Category:Felici,_Alessandro IMSLP].
  15. ^ ""Credo" by Felici in Siena". RISM.
  16. ^ Hiroko Kishimoto (ed.), Il Fondo musicale Venturi nella Biblioteca comunale di Montecatini Terme: catalogo, Firenze, Giunta Regionale Toscana/Milano, Editrice Bibliografica, 1989.
  17. ^ "Recording page with a link for online listening". SBN.

Further readingEdit

  • Mario Fabbri, La giovinezza di Luigi Cherubini nella vita musicale fiorentina del suo tempo, in Luigi Cherubini nel II centenario della nascita. Contributo alla conoscenza della vita e dell'opera, Firenze, Olschki, 1962, pp. 16–19.
  • Mario Fabbri, Alessandro Felici: il terzo maestro di Luigi Cherubini, in Adelmo Damerini, Gino Roncaglia (a cura di), Musiche italiane rare e vive da Giovanni Gabrieli a Giuseppe Verdi. Per la XIX settimana musicale, 22-30 luglio 1962, Siena, Ticci, 1962, pp. 183–194.
  • Felici. Famiglia di musicisti italiani, in Dizionario enciclopedico universale della musica e dei musicisti, edited by Alberto Basso, serie II: Le biografie, vol. 2: BUS-FOX, Torino, UTET, 1985, p. 726.
  • Marcello De Angelis (ed.), Melodramma, spettacolo e musica nella Firenze dei Lorena, Firenze, Giunta Regionale Toscana/Milano, Bibliografica, 1991, documents 119, 154, 170, 178, 180, 197, 208, 224, 427.
  • Cristina Ciccaglione Badii, Felici. Famiglia di musicisti attivi a Firenze nel sec. XVIII, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 46, Roma, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996, available on-line at Treccani.it (Italian site).
  • Gabriele Giacomelli, Felici, Alessandro, in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik begründet von Friedrich Blume, edited by Ludwig Finscher, serie I: Personenteil, vol. 6: E-Fra, Kassel-Basel-London-New York-Praha, Bärenreiter/Stuttgart-Weimar, Metzler, 2001, columns 921-922 (text in German).
  • Robert Lamar Weaver, Felici, Alessandro, in The New Grove of Music and Musicians. Second Edition, edited by Stanley Sadie, executive editor John Tyrrell, vol. 8: Egypt to Flor, London, Macmillan, 2001-2002, pp. 654–655.
  • Alessandro Felici, Sei sonate da cimbalo, modern edition edited by Roberto Becheri, Mantova, Quaderni di Musicaaa!, no date [2014], available on-line at Quaderni di Musicaaa! official site (text in Italian) and in pdf online format (text in Italian).

External linksEdit