Introduction To The Composer | Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi was born on October 10th, 1813 in Le Roncole, Italy.
Widely considered to be one of the, if not the greatest composers of Italian opera, he started his musical journey at the age of only 3 when he began to learn the keyboard.
At the age of 10 he moved to Busseto to continue his education and in 1831, having previously been rejected by the Milan Conservatory, he travelled to Milan to study privately with Lavigna under the financial assistance of music-loving merchant Antonio Barezzi.
Although he respected composers such as Richard Wagner, who strove to create a new type of opera, Verdi had strong nationalistic convictions. His operas were deeply rooted in the centuries-old traditions of Italian composers such as Vincenzo Bellini and Giachino Rossini.
Having composed 26 operas in all, Verdi’s creativity may be divided into four distinct periods. The first of such periods includes the 15 operas composed between 1838 and 1850, such as “ I Lombardi” and “Macbeth”.
The second period produced what many believe to be his first 3 masterpieces, “Il Traviata” in 1853, “La Trovatore”, also in 1853, and “Rigoletto” in 1851, an unfortunate and tragic story of a hunchbacked court jester who mistakenly causes the death of his own daughter.
The third period includes two grand operas, “Les Verpes siciliennes” and “Don Carlos”, as well as “Aida” which was commissioned in 1871 for the opening of the Suez canal.
Two of Verdi’s finest works, “Otello” in 1887 and “Falstaff” in 1893 are both Shakespearean subjects and were worked on in collaboration with composer-librettist Arrigo Boito. These works works, composed within the fourth period, mark the cumulation of his career.
By the end of his life, Giuseppe Verdi was a national institution. Thousands mourned his passing when on January 27th 1901 he died in Milan, Italy at the age of 87.
Clara Schumann was born on September 13th, 1819 in Leipzig, Germany to an ambitious and dedicated music teacher named Friedrich Wieck, who had created his own method of piano teaching. By age 15, Clara had become known in the musical world as a brilliant piano prodigy. She composed her own pieces to play at concerts, including waltzes, opera aria variations, and a piano concerto.Her incredible musical skills caught the attention of fellow musician Robert Schumann who began to pursue her romantically when he was 24 and she was 15.