An interesting archive of 25 autograph letters and 11 associated manuscript and printed documents relative to the collaborative composition by 13 Italian composers of a requiem in Rossini's honor commemorate the first anniversary of the composer's death. The project was proposed by Giuseppe Verdi to Tito Ricordi, with a performance planned for 13 November 1869 in the Basilica of San Petronia in Bologna

Contents include:
- 25 autograph letters
- 2 telegrams
- manuscript list of contributing composers
- manuscript text of the mass
- 4 manuscript documents detailing activities of the Commission
- 3 printed documents detailing activities of the Commission

In Italian, with partial translations.

BAZZINI, Antonio 1818-1897
- 3 pp. of a bifolium, signed "A. Bazzini." Quarto. Brescia, 4 April 1869. To the "Honorable Commission.” Bazzini agrees "to participate in the composition of the Funeral Mass conceived by the illustrious Comm. Verdi to honor the memory of the great Pesaro-born composer on the first anniversary of his death. ... And in the same intent it will perhaps not be useless that, once the individual pieces and the masters who are to compose them have been decided, each of them should know in advance the name of one at least whom fate will have called upon to compose the previous piece."

BOUCHERON, Raimondo 1800-1876
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed "R. Boucheron. Quarto. 4 December 1868. To "Egregio Sigr. Direttore."
- 1 page of a bifolium signed "R. Boucheron." Quarto. 30 March 1868. To "Onoroevole Commissione." "Your invitation ... to participate in the composition of a grand Funeral Mass in honor of the immortal Rossini is very flattering." -

CAGNONI, Antonio 1828-1896
- 2 pp. of a bifolium, signed "Ant. Cagnoni." Octavo. Vigevano, 31 March 1869. To "Onoroevole Commissione." Cagnoni "willingly associates his poor name with that of the most distinguished representative of our Art of the supreme Master [Verdi], under whose auspices and thanks to whose collaboration the Opera will obtain the most splendid success."

CASARINI, Camillo 1830-1974
- 2 pp. of a bifolium, signed "Casarini." Octavo. 10 December 1868. To Liverari, expressing frustration at performance complications and, as he knows that his correspondent is going to Milan, begs him "to assure ... Ricordi and Verdi that everything we can do will be done, including allowing women to sing in our church."

CLAUSETTI, P. 1869-1943
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed "[?]P. Clausetti." Quarto. Naples, 12 January 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. On light blue paper with "R. Stabilimento Musicale Tito di G. Ricordi Milano - Napoli - Firenze" embossed at upper left, integral address panel. "I went to M[aestro] Mercadante and read the letter from the Commission addressed to him. He told me that he accepts the proposal in principle."

GASPARI, Gaetano 1807-1881
- 2 pp. of a bifolium, signed in full. Quarto. Bologna, 2 April 1869. To the "Onovevole Comitato."
- 3 pp. of a bifolium, signed "G. Gaspari." Octavo. Bologna, 11 August 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. "I regard it as a very high honor to be designated as part of the select ranks tasked with raising the beautiful fate of an imperishable artistic monument to the memory of the immortal Rossini. ... I am sending the composition given to me to set to music today. ... In writing the score I left a blank line for two additional trumpets and two additional bassoons. When I had finished the score, I saw that these parts were useless, and therefore I did not deal at all with the third and fourth bassoons, only a few notes here and there."

MABELLINI, Teodulo 1817-1897
- 3 pp. of a bifolium, signed "T Mabellini." Quarto. Florence, 30 March 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. "I cannot hide the fact that I am a somewhat concerned by this special invitation, thinking primarily that I shall have as companions in composition in this work dedicated to the memory of the great Pesarese the most distinguished masters of Italy."

MARIANI, Angelo 1821-1873
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. Vicenza, 11 August 1869. On black-bordered stationery. "I am pleased to be able to reply that it will be a supreme honor for me to place myself at the disposal of Your Most Illustrious Excellency and of the entire commission for all that concerns the performance of Rossini's Mass planned by the celebrated Verdi to take place on next September."

MASCIANGELO, Francesco 1823-1906
- 2 pp. of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. To Lauro Rossi. "Inspired by a love of art, and also wanting to lay flowers on the grave of the immortal who touched its summit, I boldly offer myself."

NINI, Alessandro 1805-1880
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Quarto. Bergamo, 3 April 1869. To the "Onorovole Commissiione."
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. Bergamo, 12 August 1869. To the "Onorovole Commissione."
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed "Alessdro. Nini." Octavo. Bergamo, 6 October 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. "The writer would like to know the name of the singer who is to perform the piece of music to be composed for the Funeral Mass."

PEDROTTI, Carlo 1817-1893
- 3 pp. of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. Verona, 6 October 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. "I would have a few things to say, but confidentially, and that is why I prefer to write directly to you. How is it that you are only now thinking of resorting to a subscription, when there is but little more than a month to go before the performance of the Mass?"

PETRELLA, Errico 1813-1877
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. Milano, 10 April 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. "I accept with great pleasure your invitation to take part in the composition of the funeral mass in homage to Rossini, and thank Maestro Verdi."
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. Lecco, 25 June 1869. To Giulio Ricordi.

PLATANIA, Pietro 1828-1907
- 1 page of a bifolium. Octavo. Palermo 3 April 1869. To the "Commission for the Composition and Execution of the Messa da Requiem proposed by Giuseppe Verdi in honor of Gioacchino Rossini." On letterhead of the "Direzione del Real Collegio di Musica in Palermo" embossed at upper left. "Ready therefore for the call, and most grateful."

RICORDI, Giulio 1840-1912
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. 5 December 1868. To "Egregio Direttore." On letterhead with "Tito di Gio. Ricordi" etc. printed at upper left. "I really can't decide on the matter. Can you ask either Mazzucato or Ronchetti? If 3 members are not enough, the names you have proposed are excellent, especially, I think, Boniforti, who enjoys a good reputation."
- 1 page. Quarto. 16 March 1869. To Lauro Rossi. On letterhead with "Commissione per la composizione ed esecuzione della Messa da Requiem proposta da Giuseppe Verdi in onore di Gioachino Rossini" printed at upper left. "I have the honor of enclosing the minutes of the meetings and various letters: it is urgent to assemble the Commission in order to decide what to do." Ricordi was secretary of the Commission.

ROSSI, Lauro 1810-1885
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. 20 October 1869. To Eugenio Tornaghi. On letterhead with "Il Vice Presidente del Consiglio Accademico Direttore degli Studi del Regio Conservatorio di Musica in Milano" printed at upper left.
- 1 page of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. 28 October 1869. To Giulio Ricordi. "Although the attached letter from Mr. Mariani does not fully answer the questions asked, I still believe it should be kept in the official records because it guarantees us the cooperation of the greatest of living conductor's of Verdi's mass to Rossini ..."
- 2 pp. of a bifolium, signed in full. Small quarto. Undated. To Giulio Ricordi. On personalized letterhead with monogram printed in dark purple. "Verdi's telegram is clear and I cannot blame him, but it seems to me that we should not burn the composed music ... [It] should not be lost, because the musical work to which it alludes can very well exist without Rossini. Please cooperate, dearest Giulio, and don't talk any more about Rossini."

SESSA, Carlo 1843-1919
- 2 pp. of a bifolium, signed in full. Octavo. Modugno, Terra di Bari, 12 January 1869. "I would also like to contribute my work."

TIBERINI, Mario 1826-1880
- 1 page. Signed in full. Quarto. Undated. To Rossi, Mazzucato, and Ricordi. "But the illustrious Commission will not ignore my engagement with impresario Sigr. Rodriguez for the Teatro della Pergola, an engagement which begins in the middle of October and ends in the beginning of December."

- Verdi to Ricordi. Printed form completed in manuscript in an unidentified hand. 1 page. Large octavo. Sent from Milan. 27 October 1869. Cancelling the planned performance of the work. Large octavo.
- Casarini to Ricordi. Printed form completed in manuscript in an unidentified hand. 1 page. Large octavo. Sent from Bologna. 4 October 1869. "In the meantime, I would like to know if the Mass could be delayed until early December."

- 1 p. Large octavo. 7 pp. Quarto. A densely-written list of compositions, with texts, constituting the Mass for Rossini, e.g., "N. 13 Maestro Verdi. For solo soprano, with chorus, and fugue ... In C minor ... Libera me, Domine da morte aeterna." With numerous corrections, alterations, deletions, etc. Verdi's Libera me was later incorporated into his own Requiem.

- 3 pp. Folio. "Introito," "Sequentia," "Offertorio," "Prafatio," "Dopo la Comunione," and "Requiescant in pace Amen " with names of composers and the portions of the mass they composed to final page.

- 3 pp. of a bifolium. 18 December 1868. Minutes No. 1
- 1 page of a bifolium. 25 December 1868. Minutes No. 1
- 3 pp. of a bifolium, with autograph signatures of Giulio Ricordi as secretary and three of the Commission members: Lauro Rossi, Alberto Mazzuccato, and Stefano Ronchetti-Monteviti. Quarto. Milan, 24 March 1869. On letterhead with "Commissione per la composizione ed esecuzione della Messa da Requiem proposta da Giuseppe Verdi in onore di Gioachino Rossini" printed at upper left. An invitation to take part in the composition of the Funeral Mass for Rossini. 2 copies, one with a list of recipients to which the invitation was sent including Coccia, Nini, Mabellini, Pedrotti, Cagnoni, Petrella, Buzzolla, Ricci, Platania, Bazzini, Boucheron, and Gaspari.
- 2 pp. of a bifolium + 2 pp. laid in. Undated. Autograph minutes of the "Commission," addressed to Luigi Scalaberni (1823-1876). "Now that all manuscripts of the composers have reached the Commission, and the Commission has been able to examine them to form an opinion not only of the extraordinary importance of the works, of which there can be no doubt, but also of their quality ... it finds itself in the most delicate and difficult moment of its mandate, that is, that of choosing the performers best suited to perfect and splendid interpretation. ... The performance of the Mass will take place on November 14 next, and it is trusted that Ella will want to be in Bologna a few days earlier to take part in the necessary rehearsals."

- 1 page, with minor manuscript corrections. Milan, 29 September 1869. On blue paper. A letter from the Commission regarding the Mass. On Commission letterhead. Worn; creased at folds and overall; some margins frayed; upper left corner lacking with loss to printed letterhead.
- 1 page. Large octavo. Milano, 5 November 1869. On letterhead of the Commission, with printed signature of Giulio Ricordi, secretary of the Commission. The Commission "has found itself in the very unpleasant position of suspending all negotiations for the performance of the Bologna Mass."
- 1 page. Large octavo. Milano, 5 November 1869. To the editors of Il Pungolo. On letterhead of the Commission. With printed signature of Giulio Ricordi, secretary of the Commission.

Giuseppe Verdi proposed this collaborative effort to Ricordi in a letter dated 17 November 1868, four days after Rossini's death, requesting that manuscripts of contributions be deposited in the archives of the Liceo Rossini following the performance of the work. Both the Bologna City Council and the Bologna Philharmonic Academy welcomed this idea, and a committee consisting of Lauro Rossi, Alberto Mazzucato, and Stefano Ronchetti-Montevitii, was formed, with Giulio Ricordi as secretary. This committee asked specific composers to contribute single movements, with indication of timing, key, and musical forces. In addition, Luigi Scalaberni, impresario of Bologna's Teatro Comunale, was asked to provide the soloists, orchestra and chorus for the Nov. 13 premiere, and Angelo Mariani asked to conduct. On 6 October, however, Scalaberni refused on commercial grounds, as he felt that the proposed performance would jeopardize his theater's opera season. As a result, the municipal authorities suggested postponing the performance of the mass until December, after the opera season. Verdi strenuously objected to this, in part because of the committee's desire to move the performance to Milan. The scheduled performance of the work was thus cancelled.

"In 1868 the death of the great Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini led Giuseppe Verdi to reflect: "Rossini's reputation was the glory of Italy. When our other glory, Manzoni, is no more, what will be left to us?" asked Verdi in 1868 upon the passing of the great Italian composer. In his [Rossini's] memory Verdi proposed a requiem mass, with each movement to be provided by a different leading composer of Italy. Verdi himself would provide the final Libera me movement. The mass was completed and to be performed in Bologna, the city with which Rossini was most closely associated. Because of political forces working against the production, the performance never took place. The Messa per Rossini was shelved and Verdi moved on to other endeavors. In 1871 Alberto Mazzucato, Director of the Milan Conservatory and contributing composer to the Messa per Rossini, wrote to Verdi in praise of his Libera me movement. Verdi replied that Mazzucato's praise and encouragement had almost tempted him to write a complete requiem but it would be "pointless" to add yet another Requiem to a very full canon of sacred music. Additionally, after the recent premiere of Aida he had begun to contemplate retirement. During spring of 1873, however, Verdi changed his mind." Marsh: The Verdi Requiem,

The Libera me movement that Verdi had written for Rossini's requiem was subsequently incorporated into the final section of his own Messa di Requiem five years later, first performed in Milan at San Marco on 22 March 1874.

The manuscript of the Messa per Rossini lay forgotten in Ricordi's archives until 1970, at which time its discovery led to a number of studies by scholars aimed at reconstructing the work with a view towards performance and publication, including those associated with both the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani and Casa Ricordi. The premiere of the Requiem finally took place in September 1988, in the Evangelische Stadtkirche in Ellwangen, Germany, under Helmuth Rilling; the performance was both filmed and recorded on CD and later published in a modern performance edition.

Item #39263

Price: $9,500.00  other currencies

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