The Flame of Love
Chamber Romanze on Andrea Maffei’s texts

Odalisca_sdraiata dettaglio

Serena Gamberoni, soprano
Paolo Antognetti, tenore
Giulio Mastrototaro, baritono
Nicola Ulivieri, basso
Corrado Ruzza, pianoforte

1 Giuseppe Verdi Brindisi [2.15] Serena Gamberoni · Soprano

Dalle Odi di Anacreonte:
2 Alberto Randegger XL. Un sogno [3.34] Giulio Mastrototaro · Baritono
3 Antonio Bazzini III. Le pene di Amore [2.47] Paolo Antognetti · Tenore
4 Tito Mattei XLIII. Amore punto da un’Ape [4.14] Serena Gamberoni · Soprano
5 Vincenzo de’ Lutti XXXVIII. Vuol darsi ai Piaceri [4.18] Giulio Mastrototaro · Baritono
6 Angelo Mariani I. La Lira [3.00] Paolo Antognetti · Tenore
7 Franco Faccio XXXIV. Ad una rondine [2.45] Serena Gamberoni · Soprano
8 Tommaso Benvenuti XXXI. Vuol bere [2.45] Paolo Antognetti · Tenore
9 Ciro Pinsuti V. La donna [2.27] Giulio Mastrototaro · Baritono

10 Carlo Macario Romanza per pianoforte [2.36]
11 Angelo Panzini La sera [4.58] Nicola Ulivieri · Basso
12 Anonimo Son gemelli i nostri cuori. Duetto [3.01] Serena Gamberoni · Soprano, Giulio Mastrototaro · Baritono
13 Leopoldo Mililotti Ad una fanciulla [4.59] Paolo Antognetti · Tenore
14 Salvatore Auteri Manzocchi Fiamma d’Amore. Duettino [2.40]
Serena Gamberoni · Soprano, Paolo Antognetti · Tenore
15 Luigi Gordigiani L’addio del pastore [2.48] Paolo Antognetti · Tenore
16 Leopoldo Mililotti Povera madre [4.39] Serena Gamberoni · Soprano
17 Dario Fabiani Il pellegrino, il cavaliere, il trovatore. Terzetto [4.52]
Paolo Antognetti · Tenore, Giulio Mastrototaro · Baritono, Nicola Ulivieri · Basso

Corrado Ruzza · Pianoforte

Andrea Maffei, the disciple of the manifold Muse
Paola Ciarlantini

History, as often happens, has reserved a marginal role for Andrea Maffei, a genuine protagonist in the field of literature in his time: nowadays he is remembered almost exclusively for his collaboration with Verdi, as a consultant for the libretto of Macbeth, (taken from Shakespeare, Florence, T. La Pergola, 14th March 1847), already drafted by Francesco Maria Piave on Maffei’s translation of the tragedy, which had been printed by Pirola in Milan the year before, and also as author of the libretto for I Masnadieri (taken from Schiller, London, Queen’s Theatre, 22nd July 1847). The fact that during his long and fortunate literary career, he was close to great artists, such as Vincenzo Monti, to whom in his youth he was a favoured disciple, and Giuseppe Verdi, did not bring him posterity. Even today in Italy, a complete biography of him is lacking: his name, appears as one among many in the history of literature, school text books do not mention him, the Enciclopedia dello spettacolo does not list him as an entry, and even the first edition of the UTET Dizionario della Musica e dei Musicisti forgot him, with an attempt to partially amend the situation in the first volume of Appendice (Turin 1990), while the Garzanti Enciclopedia della letteratura brands him as a “classicist and Austrian sympathiser”, and author of “mediocre verses”. To compensate, in the last few decades the Riva del Garda council, to its credit, has promoted a series of cultural and publishing initiatives aimed at raising Maffei’s cultural status: of which L’Ottocento di Andrea Maffei, by Marina Botteri (1987) and Andrea Maffei e il giovane Verdi by Marta Marri Tonelli (1999) are of fundamental importance.
In effect, to think of Andrea Maffei simply as one of Verdi’s librettists, or as a poet for the theatre (he also wrote David Riccio for Vincenzo Capecelatro, Milano 1850) is reductive and misleading. First of all, his important literary work started in 1818, the year in which he made his debut as translator of Salomon Gessner’s Idilli (Milano, Pirotta), obtaining exceptional success in the saturated publishing market of the time, with further editions published right up to 1899. His regular involvement in bringing the catalogue of nationally published titles up to date, popularising literature and educating the reading public, aided by his friendship with Felice Le Monnier, the Florentine publisher, continued both in the period preceding unification and after, until he was considerably advanced in years. It was Maffei who brought German literature to the attention of theatre librettists, who at that time were completely dependent on French material, by systematically translating not only the masterpieces of Friedrich Schiller, but also Pirker, Klopstock, Goethe, and, in later years, Beer, Heine and Grillparzer, as well as works by English authors, such as Thomas Moore, Milton, Byron, Longfellow, not to mention Shakespeare. With his curious, eclectic temperament, he did not shy from comparison with French writers like the much-loved Alphonse de Lamartine, who had influenced his poetic style, or Victor Hugo and Ernest Legouvé. In addition to all this were his own published collections of poetry and theoretical reflexions (Studi poetici, Milano 1831).
Maffei’s work as a writer for the theatre was a natural consequence of the rest of his literary and intellectual activity, a consequence of the cultural customs of the time in which opera libretti occupied a pre-eminent position as a powerful cultural, political and linguistic vehicle. From this point of view, he comes into the small, privileged category of ‘intellectual’ theatre writers, all of whom shared a superior cultural level, neo-classical aesthetic ideals, and dedication towards the writing of high-quality texts: other companions in this category were Felice Romani (1788-1865), a famous and highly-regarded poet of the period, Luigi Romanelli (1751-1839) and, above all, Giovanni Gherardini from Milan (1778-1861), author of the Gazza ladra, set by Rossini in 1817. The latter was also a philologist and lexicographer, as well as the translator from the French of Corso di letteratura drammatica (in 1817) by August Wilhelm von Schlegel.
Writing as a person from Le Marche, I feel compelled to point out the similarities in life and artistic development between Maffei and Leopardi: both were born in provincial areas in 1798, both were influenced by and linked their first poetic works to idyllic lyrical verses (the former drawing inspiration from Gessner, the latter from the Greek author Mosco), both were indebted to writers of merit who acted as mentors to them (Monti for Maffei, Pietro Giordani for Leopardi) and they both had close connections with the cultural environment in Florence, meeting important figures such as Gino Capponi and Giovan Pietro Viesseux, founding authors of the «Antologia » (1821). If Leopardi drew inspiration at a very young age from the world of classical literature, using his genius to re-elaborate the stimulus he found, Maffei, being coherent with his classicistic attitudes in a sort of perfect closing of the circle, did the same in his later years as a translator, having dedicated his whole life to literary studies, humbly demonstrating his particular attachment to Anacreonte (Odi, Milano 1874) and Orazio Flacco (L’ode a Pirra, Milano 1880). In this sense, his project on Anacreonte, to which a large part of this CD is dedicated, should be seen as the spiritual testament of someone who consecrated his very existence to Beauty: in art (he was a great collector and a close friend of Francesco Hayez and Vincenzo Vela), in poetry and in music.
The newly-formed Italian state with its desire to create cultural role-models with the power to bring the mass population together, embraced Maffei, as it did with Manzoni and Verdi, presumably because of the great success of his published literary works. This is proven by the many invitations he received to represent the nation on solemn cultural occasions, as for example the transporting of Foscolo’s ashes to S.Croce in Florence in 1871. In the following period, however, the ‘militant’ critics never forgave him for his apparent coolness towards the Unification cause (in spite of the fact that Maffei had taken part in the Cinque Giornate di Milano, and had sought Venetian citizenship as a protest against the non-inclusion of his Trentino to the Kingdom of Italy after 1866, and the fact that King Umberto I had made him a Senator of the Kingdom in 1874 and then in Knight of the Civil Order of Savoy in 1883) or for his never-denied neoclassical aesthetic views or his ties with Monti and the “Biblioteca italiana”, even if he was effectively the most important translator and divulger of German romanticism in Italy. This dark, prejudicial cloud had a negative effect on his poetic work and, even now, despite the forward progress made by current research, the cloud obscures the poetry of the socalled “less-important” writers of Neoclassicism and the “sentimental” poetry of the late nineteenth century, represented by Giovanni Prati (who was Maffei’s friend and literary companion) and Aleardo Aleardi. As a translator, he has always been criticised for not having remained philologically faithful to the original texts but his way of working was entirely consistent with the practises of the period, and in this he acted no differently from his teacher Monti, the inimitable translator of the Iliad in blank hendecasyllabic verse.
Attention to the quality of texts (as part of systematic strategy to disseminate cultural values) was always of utmost importance to Maffei’s poetic inspiration. Very clear confirmation of this is provided not only by his ambitious project on the Anacreontic odes, but it is also testified by other verses of his, used in works written for the salotti at that time. The selection of pieces presented on this CD are good examples: excluding the Anacreonte translations (where Maffei chose to adopt short metres with various types of rhyme “to make that lovable poetry sound Italian”), the majority of the other texts (La sera, two strophes of 8 decasyllabic lines; Sai tu fanciulla, three strophes of 6 decasyllabic lines; Son gemelli i nostri cuori, two strophes with 8 octosyllabic lines; Il pellegrino, il cavaliere, il trovatore, four strophes of 8 octosyllabic lines), come from the Melodie section of Versi editi e inediti, that Maffei published with Le Monnier in 1858 and that, with the title Liriche, reached its fifth edition in 1901, outliving its author.
It is probable that many of these poems were written well before their year of publication, as Il pellegrino, il cavaliere, il trovatore, written before 1839, shows. The term Melodie, given to a section of the book, would also at first suggest that Maffei’s decision to provide composers of the period with good quality poetry for their songs was made at an earlier date than declared. Another explanation, however, could be that the poet simply collected lyrics with more obvious musicality provided by the parasyllabic metres, which were the most commonly used by librettists of the period, and put them together in the Melodie section, recalling ancient Greek melic poetry in indirect homage.
The texts are not all on the same level: they range from the sentimental conventionalism of Son gemelli i nostri cuori (“They are twins, our hearts/ Of one dear sympathy:/ One magic harmony/ Like the echo and the song [...]”) to the refined lightness of La sera (“I love the time of the dying day/ When the sun already weary declines/ And in the wave of the still sea/ I see the last ray languish [...]”), but together they offer an interesting rhythmic and thematic variety, catering for the tastes of the average reader of the period.
To conclude, we sincerely hope that this research project on the de’ Lutti and Andea Maffei music collection by the “F. A. Bonporti” Music Conservatory of Trento and Riva del Garda, put together on this CD by Corrado Ruzza and presented at the Andrea Maffei e la romanza vocale da camera convention (by P. Ciarlantini and C. Ruzza, Riva del Garda, 3-4 May 2010) helps to underline the importance of the collection and contributes to bringing about a welldeserved reassessment of Maffei’s artistic work. (Translation: Robin Fox)

The de’ Lutti Collection and the chamber Romanze on Maffei’s texts
Corrado Ruzza

Villa de Lutti
In the hamlet of Sant’Alessandro near Riva del Garda on a gentle hill overlooking Lake Garda stands the villa of the de’ Lutti family, whose nobility was documented back in 1614. Inside the villa one can see evidence of a family history certainly not characterized by luxury, but rather by the rich intellectuality of its owners and the guests who loved to stay there: the furnishings, sculptures, paintings, books, correspondence and documents found within all point to a refreshing, forward-looking vitality of thought that clashes with the dryness of the catalogue lists.
Amongst the villa de’ Lutti collections, music occupies an important position. The estimated 900 works (according to an, as yet incomplete, assessment) that constitute the music library are the fruit of a passion for collecting, that took place over the whole of the nineteenth century, and whose principal enthusiasts were Count Filippo Capolini, an amateur musician closely related to the de’ Lutti family, and Vincenzo de’ Lutti junior (1833-1896), a musician and politician. The collection is extraordinary both for its size but also for its quality: it is, in fact, a slice of nineteenth century musical culture devoted almost entirely to Italian music, particularly vocal music, according to tastes which are perfectly in line with the ideals of the Risorgimento, so passionately pursued by the family. These ideals take on a special significance, when one considers the geographical and political position of Riva del Garda, being a border region suspended between its yearning to be Italian and the fact that it was under Austrian rule. Vincenzo, as an artistic and patriotically-minded citizen and as a town official, played an important role in local political affairs and in the life of the local musical institutions: the band, the philharmonic society and the theatre, which was built thanks to his patronage.
The person who undoubtedly helped to fire the de’ Lutti family’s artistic interests and orientate their civil undertakings was the poet and writer Andrea Maffei (1798-1885). Born in the nearby Val di Ledro, Maffei often stayed in Riva, encouraging Vincenzo’s musical talent and his sister, Francesca’s, literary talent. Over the years, the de’ Lutti household became a fixed point of reference, his ‘adopted’ family so-tospeak. In fact, on his death, he named them as heirs to his large collection of works of art and requested to be buried in the de’ Lutti villa chapel.
It is not surprising, therefore, that much of the sheet music in the de’ Lutti library testifies Maffei’s presence in Riva. There are pieces of music which belonged to the poet, as is shown, for example, by the embossed initials on Donizetti’s setting of the XXXIII canto from Dante’s Inferno - not by chance a musical and literary work at the same time - or pieces that were dedicated to him, as is made clear by the dedications signed by the composers on the front covers. But there is also an abundance of compositions using Maffei’s texts, the master of translators and the prince of salotti. His convincing lines and verses are well-suited to the chamber song genre which became more and more popular during the second half of the century and which won over the middle classes both in Italy and abroad. The presence of such quality works in the de’ Lutti music library obviously had a strong influence on the choice of repertoire to be recorded on this CD, which is the result of the first stage of a research project, open to numerous lines of investigation and discovery.1
Maffei’s activity in the field of music was not dissimilar to what he did in other areas; it was that of stimulating artists and directing their creativity towards the goal of quality, which was his unchanging priority everywhere. This role meant that he was rarely in the limelight, but it was a very important role when one sees the final results. With this in mind, what Maffei conceived at the beginning of the 1870’s was highly significant. It was a period which saw a great flowering of chamber romanze and many musicians, famous, not-so-famous and complete amateurs, were hard at work composing in this genre. An inevitable consequence of such a great number of compositions was the variable quality of both texts and music. Maffei, who was very much aware of the risks associated with the superficiality of untrained poets and musicians, set about providing composers with a series of his translations of Anacreonte’s Odes - with themes that were perfect for private “gettogethers”- “so that composers, if they wish, can set them to music and throw away those terrible verses that lack both imagination and style” that were often heard in salotti. His project came to fruition in two phases, both in collaboration with the publishers Ricordi: firstly, a book containing the translations of the odes with illustrations by some of Maffei’s artist friends (first and foremost Francesco Hayez) came out in 1874, and a collection of romanze on a selection of odes was published in various issues between 1877 and 1878.
Giuseppe Verdi should have been the patron of the musical part and the dedicatee of the work. Maffei wrote to Ricordi in 1871: “I myself would like to ask my illustrious friend Giuseppe Verdi and then other renowned masters if they would like to set to music some of the 58 odes of their choice; I hope that they are not only meritorious but also agreeable to our distinguished Verdi, to you and to me.” In this statement it is clear that Maffei’s aim was to raise the genre to its maximum level, by mobilizing his wide circle of musical friends. Surprisingly Verdi refused the invitation with the excuse that he was not able to set poetry like Anacreonte’s to music. Verdi did not change his mind even when Maffei reminded him of his settings of drinking songs in Macbeth and in I Masnadieri, or the text that he had previously commissioned from Maffei, Mescetemi il vino! Tu solo o bicchiero. [Track 1] All that Maffei could do in the end was comment bitterly: “blessed is he who has a strong enough temperament to be able to turn down everything that he doesn’t feel like doing, even when it is the desire of an old friend!”.2
Despite this rejection, the motives for which are not clear, the figure of Verdi remains present in our project. Two people who worked closely with Verdi and who contributed greatly towards the success of his operas were the excellent orchestral conductors Angelo Mariani (1821-1873) and Franco Faccio (1840-1891). Mariani set to music La lira [track 6], a sweet, nostalgic piece with an Art Nouveau feel, in which the piano arpeggios imitate a stringed instrument in close dialogue with the vocal part. Faccio composed Ad una rondine [track 7] a delightful musical picture written with lightness and transparency.
Il sogno [track 2] is an original contribution from the baritone Alberto Randegger (1832-1911), one of a substantial number of musicians who became successful in London in the principal musical institutions of the period as teachers, performers or impresarios. Amongst this group were also Tito Mattei (1841- 1914), and Ciro Pinsuti (1828-1888), both composers of hundreds of romanze, some of which earned considerable popularity. The collection includes Mattei’s Amor punto da un’ape [track 4], in which the noble beauty of the vocal line and the crystalline sonority of the piano accompaniment are worthy of special mention – the composer was in fact also a talented pianist. Pinsuti, who directed a production of Il Trovatore, composed the energetic La donna [track 9], with its symphonic concept, condensed form and amusing moments of recitative.
The celebrated violinist, Antonio Bazzini (1818- 1897) (famous for his Dance of the Goblins), in Le pene di Amore [track 3], played with the musical tastes of the eighteenth century, when interest in the Anacreontic genre was at its peak, evoking, not wiand winged infants.
Vincenzo de’ Lutti’s contribution to Maffei’s collection is almost taken for granted, given the frequent collaboration between the two figures, both for private occasions - where romanze often marked the most important moments of family life, such as birthdays, marriages, etc - and in previous publishing projects.3 Amongst Anacreonte’s amorous allegories, de’ Lutti preferred the convivial ones, which were maybe more in line with his own character, and chose Vuol darsi ai piaceri [track 5] to set to music, producing a composition which ranks among the best in the cycle.
The Venetian operatic composer Tommaso Benvenuti (1843-1906) worked on the same theme with the ode Vuol bere [track 8], rendered with dash and richness of harmony, and made special by the final effect of the drunkard protagonist’s gradual disappearance into the distance.
If the settings of Anacreonte’s odes recorded on this CD - selected according to musical quality from a total of 19 pieces - already make clear how much influence Maffei had on the composers of his time, the indirect influence of his best poems was no less strong. Without doubt, the poet’s charismatic personality and ability to arouse feelings that went beyond mere admiration helped in this. Confirmation of precisely this is found in the Romanza [track 10] by the abbot Carlo Macario who was the composer of piano pieces published by Ricordi in the 1820’s and who presented Maffei with a manuscript on his name-day “as testimony to my high esteem and reverence”. In spite of the title, it is a piano piece, showing how often in Italy instrumental music was considered to be an extension of vocal music, where a taste for melody line pervades all musical forms.
The pianist, composer and teacher at the Milan Music Conservatory, Angelo Panzini (1820-1886) reveals his skills as a master of melody in La sera [track 11]. This piece stands up very well to comparison with Verdi’s setting of the same text in his romanza Il tramonto. The bass register, not often used in Italian chamber romanze, gives depth to this substantial composition, written with close adherence to the words and in which there are effective harmonic and melodic touches.
The composer of the duet Son gemelli i nostri cuori [track 12], which is conserved hand-written on manuscript in the de’ Lutti collection, is unknown. This quality piece successfully conveys the text’s invitation to chase after the voices in an affectionate imitative game.
The remaining pieces on the CD are all compositions based on Maffei’s texts which have appeared in various settings and which almost constitute separate genres that composers frequently drew from. Ad una fanciulla [track 13] is an elegant poetic eulogy which would have delighted any nineteenth-century lady of class. Of the numerous versions, we have chosen to include the one by Leopoldo Mililotti (1835- 1911), he, too, a specialist in romanze and chamber melodies, a piece full of pathos and requiring a wide dynamic range in the voice part.
Fiamma d’amore [track 14] – which uses an arbitrary title from one of the many musical versions of this fortunate text by Maffei – is an ode to infinite love, set to music by the opera composer Auteri Manzocchi (1845-1924); while pathos, involving tragic everyday situations created by the precarious living conditions of the time, is represented in Povera madre [track 16], in an intense setting by Mililotti.
If nineteenth century Italian chamber works for voice still suffer today from widespread prejudice, of ideological rather than aesthetic origins, it is also due to the fact that several important composers, who were well-known during their lifetimes, have fallen into incomprehensible oblivion, often undeserved from a musical point of view. Luigi Gordigiani (1806- 1860) was one of these. As the composer of about 400 chamber pieces for voice, he was defined by contemporary critics as the “Italian Schubert”. L’addio del pastore [track 15] displays his predilection for popular music style, the spirit of which he loved to recreate. The composer found congenial material in the text, taken from the prologue of Schiller’s William Tell, translated by Maffei, and provides us with a piece that stands out for its arioso character sustained by a brilliant dancing accompaniment, introduced by an original imitation of an Arcadian-sounding wind instrument. Despite the fact that this was his only composition on a text by Maffei, it seems likely that the two of them often met in salotti in Florence, building a bond that continued with Gordigiani’s artist son, Michele, who painted some of the best portraits of the poet (one of which is reproduced on this CD).
To conclude this short anthology of composers, who may not be well-known but are undoubtedly protagonists in our musical heritage, we have selected an ensemble piece by Dario Fabiani. Even if we have little information about his life, one of his compositions, Rimembranze del lago di Garda, which can be dated at about 1875, reveals that the presence of his music in the de’ Lutti library is far from merely casual. In the trio Il pellegrino, il cavaliere, il trovatore [track 17] – a text which appears in the de’ Lutti collection in at least three different versions – Fabiani accomplishes a summary of mid-nineteenth century vocal style, virtually imitating the finale of an opera act, in which the characters are treated theatrically. Maffei’s verses, through the three figures (representing the spiritual, heroic and artistic), who have been brought together to lament the loss of a woman who is now far away and inaccessible, remind us that human achievements have no purpose or worth except when pushed by the forces of universal love. The self-same “flame of love” that fuelled Maffei’s ceativity and the passions of his age, leaving us an inestimable artistic heritage that is up to us today to re-discover. (translation: Robin Fox)

1 Where the de’ Lutti library lacked information, in order to document the impact of Maffei’s texts on the musical world more accurately using a greater number of examples, other sources were examined, particularly those kept in the libraries of the Milan, Brescia and Rome Music Conservatories.
2 Marta Marri Tonelli in L’Ottocento di Andrea Maffei
3 In the translation of Goethe’s Faust (Le Monnier, Florence, 1866) Maffei wanted to include a composition by de’ Lutti, introduced by these words: “I believe I will make all music-lovers happy, by presenting to them the romanza Ghita all’arcolajo, composed at my request, by my dear young friend Vincenzo de’ Lutti, expert in this art”.

Photo of Villa de’ Lutti in S. Alessandro: Emanuele Tonoli

© 2010 Tutti i diritti riservati · All rights reserved
Comune di Riva del Garda
Un progetto di ricerca di · A reserch project by:
Corrado Ruzza
Consulenza musicologica · Musicology consultant:
Paola Ciarlantini
Immagini · Pictures:
Copertina · Front cover: Francesco Hayez, Odalisca sdraiata (1839), Collezione privata
Inlay card: Michele Gordigiani, Ritratto di Andrea Maffei, Riva del Garda, Museo Civico
Stampa e duplicazione · Printing and duplication:
Metalsistem S.p.A
Viale dell’Industria 2, Rovereto (TN)
Graphic Design:
Jairo Trimeloni,
Si ringraziano per la collaborazione · Warmest thanks to the following people:
Giovanni de’ Lutti, Marina Botteri Ottaviani, Federica Fanizza, Giovanni Pellegrini, Franco Ballardini, Sara dell’Antonio, Giovanni Giannini, Ginevra Petrucci