Max Klinger, (born February 18, 1857,
Leipzig, Germany—died July 5, 1920, near Naumburg), German painter,
sculptor, and engraver, whose art of symbol, fantasy, and dreamlike
situations belonged to the growing late 19th-century awareness of
the subtleties of the mind. Klinger’s visionary art has been linked
with that of Arnold Böcklin; the expression of his vivid, frequently
morbid imaginings, however, was not noted for technical excellence.
His work had a deep influence on Giorgio de Chirico.
Klinger, who had received some
training at the Karlsruhe art school, created a sensation at the
Berlin Academy exhibition in 1878 with two series of pen-and-ink
drawings—Series upon the Theme of Christ and Fantasies upon the
Finding of a Glove.
Their daring originality caused an outburst of
indignation; nonetheless, the Glove series, on which Klinger’s
contemporary reputation is based, was bought by the Berlin National
These 10 drawings (engraved in three editions from 1881)
tell a strange parable of a hapless young man and his obsessive
involvement with a woman’s elbow-length glove.
In 1887 The Judgment of Paris
caused another storm of protest because of its rejection of all
conventional attributes and its naively direct conception.
painting Klinger aimed at neither classic beauty nor modern truth
but at an impressive grimness with overtones of mysticism. His Pietà
(1890) and Christ in Olympus (1896) are also characteristic examples
of his work.
Klinger’s leanings toward the
gruesome and grotesque found further expression in his series of
etchings inspired by the work of Francisco de Goya, including
Deliverances of Sacrificial Victims Told in Ovid (1879), Fantasy on
Brahms (1894), Eve and the Future (1880), A Life (1884), and Of
Death (part 1, 1889; part 2, 1898–1909). In his use of the etching
needle he achieved a unique form of expressiveness.
Klinger’s late work was primarily
sculpture. Interested in materials and colour, he executed
polychromed nudes possessing a distinctly eerie quality, as well as
statues made of varicoloured materials in the manner of Greek
chryselephantine sculpture (e.g., Beethoven , Salome ,
and Cassandra ). His last project, a colossal monument to the
German composer Richard Wagner, remained unfinished at his death.
The Gleaners (Des
glaneuses) is an oil painting by
Millet Jean Francois
completed in 1857. It depicts three peasant women
gleaning a field of stray grains of wheat after the
harvest. The painting is famous for featuring in a
sympathetic way what were then the lowest ranks of rural
society; this was received poorly by the French upper
Jean Francois Millet was born October 4, 1814. He
was born into poverty and believed “a peasant he was
born and a peasant he would stay” , but his father
believed differently. His father told him he was
going to be a painter. Millet differed from other
artist in that he was easier for individuals to
relate to because his works and letters allowed for
the viewer to know the intimate thoughts of Millet.
Millet affirmed his belief in the “human side” of
art. He “would paint nothing that was not the result
of an impression directly received from Nature,
whether in landscape or in figures.” While his work
was heavily criticized for the focus on real things
he had experienced and not on portraits or art of
the time, Millet did not falter in his beliefs.
Millet's The Gleaners was preceded by a vertical
painting of the image in 1854 and an etching in
1855. Millet first unveiled The Gleaners at the
Salon in 1857. It immediately drew negative
criticism from the middle and upper classes, who
viewed the topic with suspicion: one art critic,
speaking for other Parisians, perceived in it an
alarming intimation of "the scaffolds of 1793."
Having recently come out of the French Revolution of
1848, these prosperous classes saw the painting as
glorifying the lower-class worker. To them, it was a
reminder that French society was built upon the
labor of the working masses, and landowners linked
this working class with the growing movement of
Socialism. The depiction of the working class in The
Gleaners made the upper classes feel uneasy about
their status. The masses of workers drastically
outnumbered the members of the upper class. The
drastic differences in numbers meant that if the
lower class was to revolt the upper class would be
With the French
Revolution still fresh on the upper class' minds,
this painting was not perceived well at all.
Millet's The Gleaners was also not perceived well
due to its enormous size. The size of the painting
is 33 inches by 44 inches or 2.75 feet by 3.7 feet.
This is huge for a painting depicting labor.
Normally this size of a canvas was reserved for
religious or mythological style paintings. Millet's
work did not depict anything religiously affiliated,
nor was there any reference to any mythological
beliefs. The painting illustrated a realistic view
of poverty and the working class. One critic
commented that "his three gleaners have gigantic
pretensions, they pose as the Three Fates of
Poverty…their ugliness and their grossness
unrelieved." While the act of gleaning was not a new
topic—representations of Ruth had existed in
art—this new work was a statement on rural poverty
and not Biblical piety: there is no touch of the
Biblical sense of community and compassion in the
contrasting embodiments of grinding poverty in the
foreground and the rich harvest in the sunlit
distance beyond. The implicit irony was unsettling.
After the Salon, Millet, short on money, sold his
piece for 3,000 francs—below his asking price of
4,000—after haggling with an Englishman named Binder
who would not budge for his meagre counter-offer;
Millet tried to keep the miserable price a secret.
While The Gleaners garnered little but notoriety
during his life, after his death in 1875, public
appreciation of his work steadily broadened. In
1889, the painting, then owned by banker Ferdinand
Bischoffsheim, sold for 300,000 francs at auction.
The following year its owner, Champagne heiress
Jeanne-Alexandrine Pommery, died, and following the
conditions of her will, the painting was donated to
the Louvre. It now resides in the Musée d'Orsay in
Millet. "The Gleaners"
does The Gleaners show? [The women] embody an animal
force deeply absorbed by a painstaking task. The
contrast between wealth and poverty, power and
helplessness, male and female spheres is forcefully
The Gleaners is an example of Realism. Millet worked
to capture the true essence of what these women’s
jobs were. He did not try to idealize the image, but
instead he captured the “ugliness” of poverty and
manual labor. It features three peasant women
prominently in the foreground, stooping to glean the
last scraps of a wheat harvest. Their gaze does not
meet the viewer, and their faces are obscured. In
the background, bountiful amounts of wheat are being
stacked while a landlord overseer stands watch on
the right. The landlord only oversees the workers in
the background, implying that the women in the
foreground are so low in class that they are not
worth watching. Millet has chosen to center the
women and paint them with a greater contrast. The
women are bent below the horizon and do not break
it. This aligns with the social structure that what
you are born into is what you stay. The women are
shown as being equal to the land. The colors of
their clothing flow into the landscape making them
seem like they belong in this field. The horizon
illustrates a visual class division and the sky
represents the unattainable upper class. Ironically
while these women are in poverty they are not
dressed in rags, they are dressed in decent
clothing. The softness of the women and the
untattered look of the clothing softens the image.
The image is only softened towards the women but
still portrays the ugliness and grittiness of the
labor that Millet intended to capture. Through the
misalignment of vanishing points among the three
women (as drawn along the backs of the women), and
in particular never aligning with the central focus
of the background, Millet conveys the message that
while the lowest-class women occupy the same canvas
as the abundance depicted in the background, they
will never be a part of that actual physical
abundance—they occupy their own space layered on top
of another space, in both the painting and in real
life. This is a commentary on the lower classes'
inaccessibility to upward mobility.
The Gleaners is one of Millet's best known works.
Its imagery of bending peasant women gleaning was
paraphrased frequently in works by younger artists
such as Pissarro, Renoir, Seurat, and van Gogh. Art
historian Robert Rosenblum says Millet's painting
introduced "imposing new presences in the repertory
of mid-century art, with endless progeny in city and
country. Daumier's and Degas's laundresses, and even
more so Caillebotte's floor-scrapers, are almost
unthinkable without Millet's epic hymn to labor."
The Gleaners provides
evidence of Millet's role as a contemporary social
critic. His brutal depiction of three hunched,
female paupers segregated from the laborers and the
abundant crop in the distance demonstrates his
attention to, if not necessarily sympathy for, the
plight of the poorest members of the community
around Barbizon and its larger neighbor, Chailly, as
the area experienced the growing pains of French
modernization. Only about thirty-five miles from the
French capital (whose population doubled between
1831 and 1851), the rich, broad plain bordering the
forest of Fontainebleau was among the earliest with
a rail link to Paris, readily lending itself to
feeding the burgeoning city.
Studies tracing the transformation of rural France
in the nineteenth century note that little change in
peasant life occurred beyond northern France and the
Paris basin until the last quarter of the century.
Millet's representation of class strife on a
large-scale farm was thus uniquely modern in the
inspired the name of the Gleaner Manufacturing
Company. The painting inspired, and
is discussed in, the film by Agnes Varda, The
Gleaners and I.
Johan Christian Claussen
Dahl (February 24, 1788 – October 14, 1857), often known
as J. C. Dahl or I. C. Dahl, was a Norwegian artist who
is considered the first great romantic painter in
Norway, the founder of the "golden age" of Norwegian
painting, and one of the greatest European artists of
all time. He is often described as "the father of
Norwegian landscape painting" and is regarded as the
first Norwegian Painter ever to reach a level of
artistic accomplishment comparable to that attained by
the greatest European artists of his day. He was also
the first acquire genuine fame and cultural renown
abroad. As one critic
has put it, "J.C. Dahl occupies a central position in Norwegian
artistic life of the first half of the 19th century.
Although Dahl spent much of his
life outside of Norway, his love for his country is clear in the
motifs he chose for his paintings and in his extraordinary efforts
on behalf of Norwegian culture generally. Indeed, if one sets aside
his own monumental artistic creations, his other activities on
behalf of art, history, and culture would still have guaranteed him
a place at the very heart of the artistic and cultural history of
Norway. He was, for example, a key figure in the founding of the
Norwegian National Gallery and of several other major art
institutions in Norway, as well as in the preservation of Norwegian
stave churches and the restoration of the Nidaros Cathedral in
Trondheim and Håkonshallen in Bergen.
Portrait of Johan Christian Dahl
Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein
Early life Dahl came from a very simple background – his father was a
modest fisherman in Bergen, Norway – and he would later look back at
his youth with bitterness. He regretted that he never had a "real
teacher" in his childhood and, despite all his spectacular success,
he believed that if he had been more fortunate in his birth, he
would have achieved even more than he had.
Time at Bergen As a boy, Dahl was educated by a sympathetic mentor at the
Bergen Cathedral who at first thought that this bright student would
make a good priest, but then, recognizing his remarkably precocious
artistic ability, arranged for him to be trained as an artist. From
1803-1809 Dahl studied with the painter Johan Georg Müller (no),
whose workshop was the most important one in Bergen at the time.
Still, Dahl looked back on his teacher as having kept him in
ignorance in order to exploit him, putting him to work painting
theatrical sets, portraits, and views of Bergen and its
surroundings. Another mentor, Lyder Sagen, showed the aspiring
artist books about art and awakened his interest in historical and
patriotic subjects. It was also Sagen who took up a collection that
made it possible for Dahl to go to Copenhagen in 1811 to complete
his education at the academy there.
As important as Dahl's studies at
the academy in Copenhagen were his experiences in the surrounding
countryside and in the city's art collections.
In 1812 he wrote to Sagen that the landscape artists he most wished to emulate were
Ruisdahl and Everdingen, and for that reason he was studying “nature
above all,” Dahl's artistic program was, then, already in place: he
would become a part of the great landscape tradition, but he would
also be as faithful as possible to nature itself.
Dahl held that a landscape painting
should not just depict a specific view, but should also say
something about the land's nature and character – the greatness of
its past and the life and work of its current inhabitants. The mood
was often idyllic, often melancholy. When he added snow to a
landscape he painted in the summer, it was not to show the light and
colors of snow; it was to use snow as a symbol of death. As one
critic has put it, “Unlike the radically Romantic works also
appearing at the time, Dahl softens his landscape, introducing
elements of genre painting by imbuing it with anecdotal materials:
In the background a wisp of smoke rises from a cabin, perhaps the
home of the hunter on the snow-covered field.” Thanks to Sagen's
recommendations and to his own personal charm, Dahl soon gained
access to the leading social circles in Copenhagen.
Dahl took part in annual art exhibitions in Copenhagen beginning in
1812, but his real breakthrough came in 1815, when he exhibited no
fewer than 13 paintings.
Portrait of J.C. Dahl
Christian Albrecht Jensen
Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark, who developed an
early interest in Dahl's artistic genius and saw to it that his
works were purchased for the royal collection, became a lifelong
friend and patron of the artist.
In 1816 C. W. Eckersberg returned from abroad with his paintings of
Roman settings; Dahl was impressed at once, and they became good
friends and exchanged pictures. Dahl's 1817 painting “Den Store Kro
i Fredensborg” marked the real beginning of his lifelong production
of oil paintings depicting natural subjects.
After his success in Copenhagen,
Dahl realized that he wanted to live as an independent,
self-supporting artist. One challenge facing him was that the
academic preference of the day was for historical paintings with
moral messages. Landscapes were considered the lowest kind of art,
and perhaps even not as art at all, but as a purely mechanical
imitation of nature.
The only landscapes that could be considered
art, according to the academy, were ideal, imaginary landscapes in
pastoral or heroic styles. In accordance with this reigning taste,
Dahl attempted to give his Danish themes a certain atmospheric
character in order to lift them up above what was considered a
merely commercial level. But at the same time it was his deepest
wish to provide a more faithful picture of Norwegian nature than
were offered by the old-fashioned, dry paintings of Haas and Lorentzen. This desire was partly motivated by homesickness and
patriotism, but it was also suited to the public taste of the day
for “picturesque” works.
Abroad in Dresden
Dahl traveled to Dresden in September 1818. He arrived with
introductions to the city's leading citizens and to major artists
such as Caspar David Friedrich, who helped him establish himself
there and became his close friend. One critic has written:
“Friedrich's still, meticulously executed landscapes - products of
an art informed by his strict Protestant upbringing and a seeking
for the divine in nature - were justifiably famous by the time he
and Dahl became acquainted. We are able to see his Two Men
Contemplating the Moon (1819), which ranks among his greatest works,
and features two "Rückfiguren," or figures seen from behind,
solemnly and companionably gazing at a young sickle moon from the
edge of an old forest. 'Greifswald in Moonlight' (1816–17) depicts
the artist's birthplace in Pomerania, on the Baltic coast: bathed in
an even, gauzy moonlight, the ancient university town assumes an
almost ethereal appearance.”
Friedrich was fourteen years Dahl's
elder and an established artist, but the two found in each other a
shared love for nature and a shared enthusiasm for a way of
depicting nature that was based on the study of nature itself rather
than on the academic cliches that they both profoundly despised. One
writer has put it this way:“A warm and sociable character, he soon
met and became friendly with the more introverted and reclusive
Friedrich, recording how they once walked together in the park of
the Grösser Garten among 'many lovely trees of different kinds, and
the moon looked beautiful behind the dark fir trees.'”
Together with Friedrich and Carl
Gustav Carus, Dahl would become one of the Dresden painters of the
period who exerted a decisive influence on German Romantic painting.
In Dresden, as in Copenhagen, Dahl
traveled around the area to draw subjects that could be of use to
him in larger works that would be painted later in his atelier. He
wrote to Prince Christian Frederik in 1818 that “most of all I am
representing nature in all its freedom and wildness.” Dahl found
enough material in the Dresden area to supply motifs for his
paintings, but he continued to paint imaginary landscapes with
forests, mountains, and waterfalls.
One such painting, completed in
1819, entitled “Norsk fjellandskap med elv” (Mountainous Norwegian
landscape with river”), garnered great attention among younger
artists who considered the striking natural quality of the painting
a breath of fresh air on Dresden's stagnant art scene. Another
monumental waterfall painting, completed the next year, was lavished
with praised by the critic for Kunstblatt who said that Dahl was
greater than Jacob van Ruisdael. Dahl was accepted into the Dresden
academy in 1820.
Abroad in Italy Prince Christian Frederik wrote to Dahl in 1820 from Italy and
invited him to join him at the Gulf of Naples. Dahl was at the time
courting a young woman named Emilie von Bloch, but felt he should
take the prince up on his offer, so he married Emilie quickly and
traveled to Italy the next day. He ended up spending 10 months in
Italy. Though he missed his bride, the sojourn was a decisive factor
in his artistic development. It was in Italy, with its strong
southern light, that Dahl's art truly flowered. It forced him to see
nature plain, without the mediation of the old masters' renderings
of light and color.
Dahl went to Rome in February 1821.
He spent a great deal of time visiting museums, meeting other
artists, and painting pictures to sell. In addition to painting
sights in Rome and pictures of the Gulf of Naples, he painted
landscapes inspired by the mountains of Norway. Dahl said that not
until he was in Rome did he truly appreciate Norwegian nature. In
June 1821 Dahl returned north to Emilie and a quiet life of family
Dahl quickly became a member of
Dresden's leading circles of poets, artists, and scientists, among
them the archeologist C. A. Böttiger, publisher of Artistisches
Notizenblatt, who ran a major article on Dahl in 1822.
Mentorship As a member of the academy, Dahl always dedicated his time to
young artists who sought him out. In 1824 he and Friedrich were
named “extraordinary professors” who had no chair but who received a
regular salary. In 1823 Dahl moved in with Friedrich, so that many
of his students, such as Knud Baade, Peder Balke, and Thomas
Fearnley, were equally influenced by both artists. “Well before
their meeting,” writes one critic, “Dahl had also painted a number
of 'moonlights' and, travelling in Europe, he was in the Bay of
Naples in 1821 when Mount Vesuvius was active. Here he painted
'Boats on the Beach Near Naples', where fishing crafts lie at anchor
in the calm, shimmering waters with the twin peaks of the mountain
smoking and flaming behind. Predictably, after his close association
with Friedrich began - the two families shared a house in Dresden
from 1823 - he was considerably influenced by him, but his own more
spontaneous and painterly style soon prevailed. Clients sometimes
commissioned pictures from them both, a tranquil coastal scene by
Friedrich to pair with a more stormy subject from Dahl.”
Dahl never formed a “school” around
himself, but rather preferred for his students to cultivate their
own styles; it was against his principles and his respect for
artistic freedom to try to inhibit his students' individuality. It
was this impulse toward individuality that later caused him to turn
down an offer of a permanent chair at the academy – he didn't want
to feel compelled to show up for class when he was busy working on a
Dahl continued his studies of nature in the area around Dresden when
he had the time, or on longer trips which provided him with themes
for his paintings. But most often he painted the view of the Elbe
outside his windows in various kinds of light. Like John Constable,
Dahl felt that the sky was an important part of a landscape
painting, and he never grew tired of watching the clouds move over
the flat plain. One critic has compared two paintings of Friedrich
and Dahl: “In...Dahl's 'Mother and Child by the Sea', there are
echoes of Friedrich's 'Woman by the Sea' (1818). Whereas in
Friedrich's work a woman dressed for the windy weather sits idly
watching five fishing boats sailing past, in Dahl's picture, there
seems to be a more personal note, with echoes of his own upbringing
in a seafaring community, as the mother and small child eagerly
await the return of the little ship from the sea.” The same critic
has written about one of his paintings of Dresden: “Dahl also
commemorated the magnificent Baroque buildings of his adopted city,
and a version of his View of Dresden by Moonlight (1838) has
travelled from the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design
in Oslo. This small picture, measuring only 18.5 x 34.5 cm, shows
the dome of the Frauenkirche and the tower of the Hofkirche
dominating the skyline; silvers and deep blue combine to give it a
wonderful jewel-like effect, together with a certain elegiac
quality, perhaps indicative of the artist's awareness that his long
friendship with Friedrich was nearing an end.”
Johan Christian Dahl. Two men contemplating the Moon, circa 1825–30
Return home As Dahl wrote in 1828 to the director of the Dresden academy, he
found the area around Dresden useful for nature studies, but the
“real thing” was always missing; that was something he could only
find in his mountainous homeland. He viewed himself as a “more
Nordic painter” with a “love for seacoasts, mountains, waterfalls,
sailboats, and pictures of the sea in daylight and moonlight.” He
longed to return to Norway, but not until 1826 was he able to make a
He made subsequent trips to Norway
in 1834, 1839, 1844, and 1850, mostly exploring and painting the
mountains, leading to the monumental works Fortundalen (1836) and
Stalheim (1842). During his visits to Norway he received “an
enthusiastic welcome as a painter of renown.”
A critic notes Dahl's late
stylistic changes: “In his late 'Fjord at Sunset' (1850), based on
studies made earlier, free and adventurous brush strokes represent
the cloud-swept sky and broken surface of the water. Here he has
moved far away from the purity and intensity of Friedrich's oeuvre.”
In 1827 Emilie Dahl died in childbirth while having their fourth
child, and two years later two of the older children died of scarlet
fever. In January 1830 Dahl married his student Amalie von Bassewitz,
but she, too, died in childbirth in December of that same year. Dahl
was crushed, and many months passed before he was able to paint
again. Some years later this youngest child also died, leaving Dahl
with two surviving children, Caroline and Siegwald.
Dahl's trip to Norway in 1850 would be his last. He was aging and
weak, but continued to paint landscapes in the mountains. This last
journey to his homeland resulted in several magnificent works,
including Måbødalen, Fra Stugunøset, and Hjelle i Valdres.
Dahl was also among the founding
fathers of the National Gallery of Norway (Norwegian:
Nasjonalgalleriet), now the National Museum of Art, Architecture and
Design, and donated his own art collection to the institution.
Together with Johan Sebastian Welhaven, Frederik Stang and Henrik
Heftye, he also founded the Art Society in Oslo (Oslo Kunstforening).
Johan Christian Dahl. Eruption of Vesuvius, 1826
Death Dahl died lonely and bitter after a brief illness and was buried
on October 17, 1857, in Dresden. In 1902, a statue of Dahl by
Norwegian sculptor Ambrosia Tønnesen (no) (1859-1948), was erected
on the facade of the Vestlandske kunstindustrimuseum (no) in Bergen.
In 1934, his remains brought back to Norway and buried in the
cemetery of St. Jacob's Church (Sankt Jakob kirke) in Bergen.
J.C. Dahl occupies a central
position in Norwegian artistic life of the first half of the 19th
century. His Romantic yet naturalistic interpretations of Norwegian
scenery were greatly admired in Norway as well as on the European
continent, particularly in Denmark and Germany. His place in the
pantheon of European artists is secure and his influence on the
course of art history is indelible.
Dahl had both the Orders of Vasa and St. Olav bestowed on him by the
King of Norway and Sweden. He also received the Order of Dannebrog
from Denmark. The three honors testify to his extraordinary cultural
impact throughout Scandinavia.
Ruggero (or Ruggiero) Giacomo Maria Giuseppe Emmanuele Raffaele
Domenico Vincenzo Francesco Donato Leoncavallo (23 April 1857 – 9 August
1919) was an Italian opera composer. His two-act work Pagliacci
remains one of the most popular works in the repertory, appearing as
number 19 on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas
worldwide in the 2012/13 season.
The son of a judge, Leoncavallo was born in Naples on 23 April 1857. As child he moved with his father in the town of Montalto
Uffugo in Calabria where Leoncavallo lived during his adolescence.
He later returned to Naples and was educated at the city's San
Pietro a Majella Conservatory. After some years spent teaching and
in ineffective attempts to obtain the production of more than one
opera, he saw the enormous success of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria
rusticana in 1890, and he wasted no time in producing his own
verismo hit, Pagliacci.
Pagliacci was performed in Milan in 1892 with immediate success;
today it is the only work by Leoncavallo in the standard operatic
repertory. Its most famous aria "Vesti la giubba" ("Put on the
costume" or, in the better-known older translation, "On with the
motley") was recorded by Enrico Caruso and laid claim to being the
world's first record to sell a million copies (although this is
probably a total of Caruso's various versions of it made in 1902,
1904 and 1907).
The next year his I Medici was also produced in Milan, but
neither it nor Chatterton (belatedly produced in 1896)—both early
works—obtained much lasting favour. Much of Chatterton, however, was
recorded by the Gramophone Company (later HMV) as early as 1908, and
remastered on CD almost 100 years later by Marston Records.
Leoncavallo himself conducts the performance or at very least
supervises the production.
It was not until Leoncavallo's La bohème was performed in 1897 in
Venice that his talent obtained public confirmation. However, it was
outshone by Puccini's opera of the same name and on the same
subject, which was premiered in 1896. Two tenor arias from
Leoncavallo's version are still occasionally performed, especially
Subsequent operas by Leoncavallo were in the 1900s: Zazà (the
opera of Geraldine Farrar's famous 1922 farewell performance at the
Metropolitan Opera), and 1904's Der Roland von Berlin. In 1906 the
composer brought singers and orchestral musicians from La Scala to
perform concerts of his music in New York, as well as an extensive
tour of the United States. The tour was, all in all, a qualified
success. He had a brief success with Zingari which premiered in
Italian in London in 1912, with a long run at the Hippodrome
Theatre. Zingari also reached the United States but soon disappeared
from the repertoire.
After a series of operettas, Leoncavallo appeared to have tried
for one last serious effort with Edipo re (it).
It had always been
assumed that Leoncavallo had finished the work but had died before
he could finish the orchestration, which was completed by Giovanni
Pennacchio (it). However with the publication of Konrad Dryden's
biography of Leoncavallo it was revealed that Leoncavallo may not
have written the work at all (although it certainly contains themes
by Leoncavallo). A review of Dryden's study notes: "That fine Edipo
re ... was not even composed by [Leoncavallo]. His widow paid
another composer to concoct a new opera using the music of Der
Roland von Berlin.
Dryden didn't find one reference to the opera in Leoncavallo’s correspondence nor is there a single note by him to be
found in the handwritten score."
What is certain is that in Edipo re, a short one act work, the
composer (whoever it actually was) uses exactly the same melody for
the final scene "Miei poveri fior, per voi non più sole..." (with
the blinded Edipo) as in the act 4 soprano aria from Der Roland von
Berlin. It has been assumed (see The New Grove Dictionary of Opera)
that Leoncavallo left the opera more or less complete (except for
the orchestration). Pennacchio may either have concocted the opera
or may have had to do more to Leoncavallo's more or less complete
work to "fill in the gaps" using Leoncavallo's earlier
Another clue to demonstrate that Leoncavallo had no or little part
in Edipo re is that unusually, in fact exceptionally, Leoncavallo
did not write the libretto. The libretto for Edipo re was written by
Giovacchino Forzano, who also wrote Il piccolo Marat for Pietro
Mascagni and two of the one-act operas for Puccini's Il trittico.
Further, the orchestration of Edipor re, consisting all too often of
massed strings and a depressingly constant use of the cymbal, does
not seem the work of Leoncavallo whose own orchestration, whilst
sometimes uninspired, is at very least competent.
From the 1970s Edipo re has had a number of revivals, both as
concert performances (including Rome 1972, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam)
1977 and Konzerthaus, Vienna 1998) as well as fully staged
productions at the Teatro Regio, Turin, in 2002 and the Thessaloniki
Opera 2008. It remains to be seen who will be given the credit
for this opera in future revivals.
Little or nothing from Leoncavallo's other operas is heard today,
but the baritone arias from Zazà were great concert and recording
favourites among baritones and Zazà as a whole is sometimes revived,
as is his La bohème. The tenor arias from La bohème remain recording
Leoncavallo also composed songs, most famously Mattinata, which
he wrote for the Gramophone Company (which became HMV) with Caruso's
unique voice in mind. On 8 April 1904, Leoncavallo accompanied
Caruso at the piano as they recorded the song. On 8 December 1905 he
recorded five of his own pieces for the reproducing piano Welte-Mignon.
Leoncavallo was the librettist for most of his own operas. Many
considered him the greatest Italian librettist of his time after
Boito. Among Leoncavallo's libretti for other composers is his
contribution to the libretto for Puccini's Manon Lescaut.
Ruggero Leoncavallo died in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, on 9
Pagliacci - Vesti La Giubba - Pavarotti
Ruggero Leoncavallo was an Italian opera composer. His two-act work
Pagliacci remains one of the most popular works in the repertory,
appearing as number 20 on the Operabase list of the most-performed
"Vesti la giubba" (Put on the costume) is a famous tenor aria
from Ruggero Leoncavallo's 1892 opera Pagliacci. "Vesti la giubba"
is the conclusion of the first act, when Canio discovers his wife's
infidelity, but must nevertheless prepare for his performance as
Pagliaccio the clown because "the show must go on".
The aria is often regarded as one of the most moving in the
operatic repertoire of the time. The pain of Canio is portrayed in
the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the "tragic clown":
smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. This is still
displayed today, as the clown motif often features the painted-on
tear running down the cheek of the performer.
Act! While in delirium,
I no longer know what I say,
or what I do!
And yet it's necessary... make an effort!
Bah! Are you not a man?
You are a clown!
Put on your costume,
powder your face.
the people pay to be here, and they want to laugh.
And if Harlequin shall steal your Columbina,
laugh, clown, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
your pain and sobbing into a funny face -- Ah!
at your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!
Sir Edward Elgar, in
full Sir Edward William Elgar (born June 2, 1857,
Broadheath, Worcestershire, Eng.—died Feb. 23, 1934,
Worcester, Worcestershire), English composer whose works
in the orchestral idiom of late 19th-century
Romanticism—characterized by bold tunes, striking colour
effects, and mastery of large forms—stimulated a
renaissance of English music.
Sir Edward Elgar
The son of an organist
and music dealer, Elgar left school at age 15 and
worked briefly in a lawyer’s office. He was an
excellent violinist, played the bassoon, and spent
periods as a bandmaster and church organist. He had
no formal training in composition.
After working in London (1889–91), he went to
Malvern, Worcestershire, and began to establish a
reputation as a composer. He produced several large
choral works, notably the oratorio Lux Christi
(1896; The Light of Life), before composing in 1896
the popular Enigma Variations for orchestra. The
variations are based on the countermelody to an
unheard theme, which Elgar said was a well-known
tune he would not identify—hence the enigma.
Repeated attempts to discover it have been
All but the last of the 14 variations refer
cryptically to friends of Elgar, the exception being
his own musical self-portrait. This work, highly
esteemed by Hans Richter, who conducted the first
performance in 1899, brought Elgar recognition as a
leading composer and became his most frequently
performed composition. In 1900 there followed
another major work, the oratorio The Dream of
Gerontius, which many consider his masterpiece.
Based on a poem by John Henry
Cardinal Newman, it dispensed with the traditional admixture
of recitatives, arias, and choruses, using instead a
continuous musical texture as in the musical dramas of
The work was not well received at its first performance in
Birmingham, but after it was acclaimed in Germany, it won
Elgar, a Roman Catholic,
planned to continue with a trilogy of religious oratorios,
but he completed only two: The Apostles (1903) and The
Kingdom (1906). In these less successful works,
representative themes are interwoven in the manner of the
leitmotivs of Wagner. Other vocal works include the choral
cantata, Caractacus (1898), and the song cycle for
contralto, Sea Pictures (1900).
Sir Edward Elgar
In 1904 Elgar was
knighted, and from 1905 to 1908 he was the
University of Birmingham’s first professor of music.
During World War I he wrote occasional patriotic
After the death of his wife in 1920, he curtailed
his music writing severely, and in 1929 he returned
to Worcestershire. Friendship with Bernard Shaw
eventually stimulated Elgar to further composition,
and at his death he left unfinished a third
symphony, a piano concerto, and an opera.
works of a programmatic nature are the overture
Cockaigne, or In London Town (1901), and the
“symphonic study” Falstaff (1913). Of his five Pomp
and Circumstance marches (1901–07; 1930), the first
became particularly famous. Also highly esteemed are
his two symphonies (1908 and 1911), the Introduction
and Allegro for strings (1905), and his Violin
Concerto (1910) and Cello Concerto (1919).
The first English
composer of international stature since Henry
Purcell (1659–95), Elgar liberated his country’s
music from its insularity. He left to younger
composers the rich harmonic resources of late
Romanticism and stimulated the subsequent national
school of English music.
His own idiom was cosmopolitan, yet his interest in
the oratorio is grounded in the English musical
tradition. Especially in England, Elgar is esteemed
both for his own music and for his role in heralding
the 20th-century English musical renascence.
The Light of Life, Op.
Orchestra - Richard Hickox, London Symphony Chorus -
Stephen Westrop, Judith Howarth - soprano, Linda
finnie - contralto, Arthur Davies - tenor, John
shirley-Quirk - baritone
Wilhelm Kienzl (17
January 1857 – 3 October 1941) was an Austrian composer.
Kienzl was born in the small, picturesque Upper Austrian
town of Waizenkirchen. His family moved to the Styrian
capital of Graz in 1860, where he studied the violin under
Ignaz Uhl, piano under Johann Buwa, and composition from
1872 under the Chopin scholar Louis Stanislaus Mortier de
Fontaine. From 1874, he studied composition under Wilhelm
Mayer (also known as W.A. Rémy), music aesthetics under
Eduard Hanslick and music history under Friedrich von
Hausegger. He was subsequently sent to the music
conservatorium at Prague University to study under Josef
Krejci, the director of the conservatorium. After that he
went to Leipzig Conservatory in 1877, then to Weimar to
study under Liszt, before completing doctoral studies at the
University of Vienna.
While Kienzl was at Prague, Krejci took him to Bayreuth
to hear the first performance of Richard Wagner's Ring
Cycle. It made a lasting impression on Kienzl, so much so
that he founded the "Graz Richard Wagner Association" (now
the "Austrian Richard Wagner Company, Graz Office") with
Hausegger and with Friedrich Hofmann. Although he
subsequently fell out with "The Wagnerites", he never lost
his love for Wagner's music.
In 1879 Kienzl departed on a tour of Europe as a pianist
and conductor. He became the Director of the Deutsche Oper
in Amsterdam during 1883, but he soon returned to Graz,
where in 1886, he took over the leadership of the
Steiermärkischen Musikvereins und Aufgaben am Konservatorium.
He was engaged by the manager Bernhard Pollini as
Kapellmeister at the Hamburg Stadttheater for the 1890-91
season, but was dismissed in mid-January 1891 because of the
hostile reviews he received (his successor was Gustav
Mahler). Later he conducted in Munich.
In 1894, he wrote his third and most famous opera, Der
Evangelimann, but was unable to match its success with Don
Quixote (1897). Only Der Kuhreigen (1911) reached a similar
level of popularity, and that very briefly. In 1917, Kienzl
moved to Vienna, where his first wife, the Wagnerian soprano
Lili Hoke, died in 1919, and he married Henny Bauer, the
librettist of his three most recent operas, in 1921.
After World War I, he composed the melody to a poem
written by Karl Renner, Deutschösterreich, du herrliches
Land (German Austria, you wonderful country), which became
the unofficial national anthem of the first Austrian
Republic until 1929. Aware of changes in the dynamics of
modern music, he ceased to write large works after 1926, and
abandoned composition altogether in 1936 due to bad health.
As of 1933, Kienzl openly supported Hitler’s regime.
Kienzl's first love was opera, then vocal music, and it
was in these two genres that he made his name. For a while
he was considered, along with Hugo Wolf, one of the finest
composers of Lieder (art songs) since Schubert. His most
famous work, Der Evangelimann, best known for its aria Selig
sind, die Verfolgung leiden (Blessed are the persecuted),
continues to be revived occasionally. It is a folk opera
which has been compared to Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel,
and contains elements of verismo. After Humperdinck and
Siegfried Wagner, the composers of fairy-tale operas, Kienzl
is the most important opera composer of the romantic
post-Wagner era. However, Kienzl's strengths actually lie in
the depiction of everyday scenes. In his last years, his
ample corpus of songs achieved prominence, though it has
largely been neglected since then.
Despite the fact that opera came first in his life,
Kienzl by no means ignored instrumental music. He wrote
three string quartets and a piano trio.
He died in Vienna and is buried in the main cemetery
A Faust Symphony
in three character pictures (German: Eine Faust-Symphonie
in drei Charakterbildern), S.108, or simply the "Faust
Symphony", was written by Hungarian composer
was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's drama,
Faust. The symphony was premiered in Weimar on September
5, 1857, for the inauguration of the Goethe–Schiller
The first clue as to the work's structure is in Liszt's
title: "A Faust Symphony in Three Character Sketches after
Goethe: (1) Faust, (2) Gretchen, (3) Mephistopheles." Liszt
does not attempt to tell the story of Goethe's drama.
Rather, he creates musical portraits of the three main
protagonists. By doing so, though this symphony is a
multi-movement work and employs a chorus in its final
moments, Liszt adopts the same aesthetic position as in his
symphonic poems. The work is approximately seventy-five
minutes in duration.
This large-scale movement (usually lasting around 30
minutes) is a very loose sonata-form with a short
central development and a protracted recapitulation.
One might say that this movement represents the very
synthesis of the whole symphony, since many of its
themes and motives appear throughout the score in
various guises, a process of thematic transformation
which Liszt mastered to the highest level during his
Weimar years. The basic key of the symphony (C
minor) is already rather blurred by the opening
theme made up of augmented triads and containing all
twelve notes of the chromatic scale.
This theme evokes the gloomy Faust, a dreamer, in
everlasting search for truth and knowledge. Next
follows the so-called 'Nostalgia' theme introduced
by the oboe. At the end of a slow crescendo, there
appears a violent Allegro agitato ed appassionato
theme, depicting Faust's insatiable appetite for the
pleasures of life – this theme establishes a gingery
C minor threatened with collapse under the weight of
highly chromatic elements.
A melody of the oboe and clarinet represents the
hero's 'painful delights'. The last theme is
pentatonic and resolute. From all these elements
Liszt weaves a musical structure of power and
grandeur, in which some critics recognise the
This slow movement is in the mellow and affectionate
key of A flat major. Following the introduction on
the flutes and clarinets, we are given the pure
oboe's melody figurated by the viola's tender
decorations, which expresses Gretchen's virginal
innocence. A dialogue between clarinet and violins
describes her naively plucking the petals of a
flower, in a game of 'he loves me, he loves me not'.
She is obsessed by Faust, and therefore we may hear
Faust's themes being introduced progressively into
the music, until his and Gretchen's themes form a
passionate love duet. This draws the second movement
to a peaceful and short recapitulation.
interpretation of the Gretchen movement is that, as
Lawrence Kramer writes, "What we have been calling
Gretchen's music is really Faust's." The entire
Gretchen movement could be seen as representing her
from the perspective of Faust. Consequently, the
listener really learns more about Faust than about
Gretchen. In Goethe's drama, she is a complex
heroine. In Liszt's symphony, she is innocent and
one-dimensional—a simplification that could arguably
exist exclusively in Faust's imagination. The
listener becomes aware of this masquerade when the
"Gretchen" mask Faust is wearing slips with the
appearance of the Faustian themes in bars 44 through
51 and bar 111 to the end of the movement.
Some critics suggest that, like Gretchen, Mephistopheles can
be seen as an abstraction—in this case, one of the
destructive aspects of Faust's character, with Faust mocking
his humanity by taking on Mephistopheles' character.
Regardless of which interpretation a listener chooses, since
Mephistopheles, Satan, the Spirit of Negation, is not
capable of creating his own themes, he takes all of Faust's
themes from the first movement and mutilates them into
ironic and diabolical distortions. Here Liszt's mastery of
thematic metamorphosis shows itself in its full power –
therefore we may understand this movement as a modified
recapitulation of the first one. The music is pushed to the
very verge of atonality by use of high chromaticism,
rhythmic leaps and fantastic scherzo-like sections. A
modified version of Faust's second and third themes then
creates an infernal fugue. Mephistopheles is, however,
powerless when faced with Gretchen's innocence, so her theme
remains intact. It even pushes the Spirit of Negation away
towards the end of the work.
It is here that the two
versions of the Faust Symphony merit different
interpretations. Liszt's original version of 1854 ended with
a last fleeting reference to Gretchen and an optimistic
peroration in C major, based on the most majestic of themes
from the opening movement. Some critics suggest this
conclusion remains within the persona of Faust and his
imagination. When Liszt rethought the piece three years
later, he added a 'Chorus mysticus', tranquil and positive.
The male chorus sings the words from Goethe's Faust:
ist nur ein Gleichnis;
hier wird's Ereignis;
hier ist es getan;
zieht uns hinan.
is only an allegory;
what could not be achieved
here comes to pass;
what no one could describe,
is here accomplished;
the Eternal Feminine
draws us aloft.
The tenor soloist then rises
above the murmur of the chorus and starts to sing the last
two lines of the text, emphasizing the power of salvation
through the Eternal Feminine. The symphony ends in a
glorious blaze of the choir and orchestra, backed up by held
chords on the organ. With this direct association to the
final scene of Goethe's drama we escape Faust's imaginings
and hear another voice commenting on his striving and
The work is scored for an orchestral complement of piccolo,
two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four
French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba,
timpani, cymbals, triangle, organ, harp, and strings. A
tenor soloist and male TTB choir are also employed.
Hector Berlioz, who wrote his own version of Faust
and became the eventual dedicatee of Liszt's Faust
Symphony, introduced Liszt to Goethe's Faust in the
1830s through the French translation of Gérard de
Nerval. Although sketches exist from the 1840s, he
was hesitant about composing this work. He commented
wryly to one correspondent, "The worst Jesuit is
dearer to me than the whole of your Goethe." In an
1869 letter, Liszt makes a revealing comparison
between Faust and Manfred:
In my youth I
passionately admired Manfred and valued him much
more than Faust, who, between you and me, in spite
of his marvellous prestige in poetry, seemed to me a
decidedly bourgeois character. For that reason he
becomes more varied, more complete, richer, more
communicative ... (than Manfred) ... Faust's
personality scatters and dissipates itself; he takes
no action, lets himself be driven, hesitates,
experiments, loses his way, considers, bargains, and
is interested in his own little happiness. Manfred
could certainly not have thought of putting up with
the bad company of Mephistopheles, and if he had
loved Marguerite he would have been able to kill
her, but never abandon her in a cowardly manner like
Despite Liszt's apparent
antipathy toward the character of Faust, his residency in
Weimar surrounded him with Goethe and the Faust legend at
practically every turn. He had barely served out his first
year as Kapellmeister when Grand Duke Carl Alexander decreed
that the city would celebrate the centennial of Goethe's
birth on August 28, 1849. During this celebration Liszt
conducted, among other things, excerpts from Robert
Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust for orchestra and
choir. After the centennial remembrance, he helped in the
creation of a Goethe Foundation; this culminated in the
publication of Liszt's brochure De la foundation-Goethe à
Weimar. In the summer of 1850 Gérard de Nerval himself
stayed as Liszt's guest. There was much talk about Faust and
the topic would spill over into their subsequent
performance of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust in 1852,
conducted by the composer, encouraged Liszt further, though
he still hesitated, writing Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein,
"Anything having to do with Goethe is dangerous for me to
handle." However, the final catalyst for the symphony came
in a two-month period between August and October 1854. This
period coincided with a visit to Weimar by English novelist
Mary Ann (Marian) Evans, better known by her pen name George
Eliot. Her consort George Henry Lewes was gathering
information for his biography of Goethe. During visits to
Liszt's residence, the Altenburg, Lewes and Eliot had
several discussions with both him and Princess Carolyne
about Goethe and his place in German literature. Once Liszt
began writing, it was all-consuming; the work was produced
in a white heat of inspiration.
The symphony was revised
three years after it was completed. Additional parts for
heavy brass were added, as was a Chorus Mysticus to the
finale; in the latter, words from Faust Part II are sung by
a male chorus and a tenor soloist to music from the middle
movement. Other minor changes were made but much of the
original score remained unchanged. In 1880, Liszt added some
ten bars to the second movement.
After its premiere under Liszt's baton, the symphony was given its
second performance under Hans von Bülow in 1861, the year the score
was published. Thereafter, apart from one or two sporadic
performances, the symphony was neglected for roughly 50 years. Lack
of interest was so great that the orchestral parts were not
published until 1874. Felix Weingartner became the work's first
modern interpreter but he stood practically alone in his advocacy of
the score until modern times, when Thomas Beecham and Leonard
Bernstein, among others, began championing the piece.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Liszt: Faust Symphony - 1857
Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus - tenor S. Jerusalem -
conductor Sir Georg Solti