Selected Vocal Works by Progressive Italian Composers of the Twentieth Century: The Confluence of Nationalism and Internationalism from the Eve of World War I through Post-World War II Reconstruction
This dissertation project explored the non-operatic vocal music (i.e., art song, chamber music, solo works, and other more experimental media) by Italian composers of the 20th century. This body of repertoire suffers from poor availability and quality of scores, recordings, performances, and information. Research took place in the U.S. and Italy-through musical investigations, personal collections and contacts, libraries, and online resources. The project was designed with several parameters in mind: 1. work was centered on the composers who cast the text and the piano or other "accompaniment" in important roles, with correspondingly complex rhythms and harmonies, and who melded cosmopolitan influences with Italianate lyricism, as opposed to those who merely continued in the simplistic, insular manner of their predecessors; 2. settings by Italian composers of texts in other languages were included (Apollinaire, Ibn-Ezra, Machado, Verlaine, etc.) in addition to settings of Italian poetry (d'Annunzio, Pavese, Ungaretti, etc.); 3. works were chosen that were not just for single voice and piano but also utilized other performing forces (i.e., chamber music, electronics.. .). Other selection factors included: score availability; range, voice type, and ability level of the works; performer availability; time restrictions for a given recital; and whether the pieces made sense musically and textually. The works selected for the three recitals at the University of Maryland were grouped in pairs of decades to provide flexibility and variety in language and style, while also illustrating trends within a given chronological period: Italian Vocal Music of the 19-teens and 1920s, Italian Vocal Music of the 1930s and 1940s, and Italian Vocal Music of the 1950s and 1960s. The composers represented were: Luciano Berio, Bruno Bettinelli, Valentino Bucchi, Alfredo Casella, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Luigi Cortese, Luigi Dallapiccola, Vincenzo Davico, Giorgio Federico Ghedini, Barbara Giuranna, Roberto Lupi, Bruno Maderna, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Franco Margola, Virgilio Mortari, Luigi Nono, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Ottorino Respighi, Giacinto Scelsi, and Antonio Veretti. Numerous future projects are planned (lectures, recitals, database, website, translations, articles, recordings, anthologies), with the objective of acquainting people with these 20th-century Italian vocal works and making them and information about them more readily available.