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Filippo Maria Gherardeschi
1738 - 1808
Italy
Picture
F.M. Gherardeschi
Filippo Maria Gherardeschi [Gheerkin, Gherardesca] (11/10/1738 - 18/06/1808), an Italian composer, born in Pistoia, died in Pisa. He was a pupil of Padre Martini. He was court conductor to Leopold I of Tuscany.
Source: Grove’s dictionary of music and musicians
Contributor:Tassos Dimitriadis (picture)
Requiem e responsori per la morte di Ludovico I di Borbone
Period:Early Romanticism
Composed in:1803
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:Ludovico I of Bourbon-Parma (1773-1803)
Label(s):Bongiovanni GB 2350-2
For SATB soli, mixed choir and orchestra.
“Pisa, renowned for grave citizens,” as Shakespeare once put it, is also renowned for its excellent choral ensembles, such as the time-established Corale Pisana or the younger Coro Polifonico di San Nicola, founded in 1991. The latter’s activities are expanding to rediscoveries and premieres of modern performances of scores related to the city’s historical heritage, such as the repertory of the music chapel attached to the church of the knightly order of Santo Stefano. Besides fighting the Turkish fleets in the Mediterranean, the proud white-cloaked knights used to emphasize with music and pageants diverse public events – both happy and mournful – such as major church festivals, military victories or the dynastical celebrations (coronations, marriages, deaths) occurring within the ruling family of Tuscany, whose sovereigns were, since 1561, the statutory Grand Masters of the Order.
One such ceremony was performed, exactly two centuries ago, for Ludovico (Louis) I of Bourbon-Parma (1773 - 27/05/1803), who by the grace of Napoleon reigned for a mere three years over the kingdom of Etruria (another name for Tuscany). He died at the age of 30, and for his mild rule was reportedly much mourned by his subjects. Under the vaults of the beautiful church designed for the knights by Giorgio Vasari in the mid 16th century, hundreds of masses resounded for the king’s soul, and a solemn Requiem was commissioned to the ‘maestro di cappella’ in charge, Filippo Maria Gherardeschi (1738-1808). The piece was widely appreciated;in 1809, shortly after the composer’s death, the Paris journal Magazine Encyclopédique labeled it "a masterpiece in its genre, well deserving publication." The suggestion having remained a dead letter, musicologists Stefano Barandoni – the founder of the aforesaid Coro di San Nicola – and Marco Bargagna have worked hard on manuscript sources (a score in Naples and sets of separate parts preserved in Pisa), to prepare a performing edition. Barandoni himself was finally able to conduct the performance in the original location; a live recording (Bongiovanni) is also forthcoming.
Municipal pride apart, the ‘masterpiece’ label is perhaps not too far-fetched. In the three sections of the mass proper ("Introitus", "Kyrie", and "Dies irae") – preceded by three responsories and a ‘Sinfonia lugubre’ whose manuscript is preserved in Neuchâtel, Switzerland – Gherardeschi displays an astounding variety of styles: from virtuosic solo arias, through ensembles, to contrapuntal sections for the choir. The whole is kept together with clever orchestral writing featuring a wide palette, as well as with finely wrought transitions of tempos, spectacular fast shifts in the performing forces, tasteful contrasts in harmony. One may add that a polyphonic setting of the responsories for the dead is quite a rare bird, plainchant being usually employed for such parts of the Catholic liturgy; that clarinet and horn parts often amount to delight (as in the opening of the ‘Liber scriptus’ and in the ‘Tuba mirum’ numbers, respectively); that both ‘Dies irae’ and ‘Confutatis’ show a strong dramatic temperament. What a pity that Gerardeschi’s operatic output has been lost!
As to the quality of the performance itself, soprano Maria Billeri may improve her interesting color if she gets rid of some redundant vibrato in high and loud passages; countertenor Alessandro Carmignani commands a mellow central register but should strive to acquire more power and assurance in his lowest notes (in that respect, one might note, he has improved already from earlier performances). Tenor Leonardo Melani and bass Alessandro Manghesi rounded up the soloists’ quartet. The choir was up to their usual good standard. Notwithstanding their respectable number of 70, they can also produce chamber-like subtleties – as does the accompanying orchestra, young professionals picked up from various regional ensembles. Their thoroughly respectable, at times sparkling, rendering of such a multi-faceted score does maestro Barandoni much credit.
Author:Susanna Migli and Herman Ram
Contributor:Arye Kendi
The three responsories are:
1) Credo quod Redemptor (Responsorio primo) for soloists, chorus and orchestra
2) Qui Lazarum (Responsorio secondo) for soloists, chorus and orchestra
3) Domine, quando veneris (Responsorio terzo) for soloists, chorus and orchestra
The first performance of the three responsories and the Requiem Mass took place in Bologna on 15/07/1803.
Source:Booklet of Bongiovanni GB 2350-2, “Responsori e Requiem”
Contributor:Tassos Dimitriadis
Messa di requiem contains:
- Introitus: Requiem aeternam
- Kyrie
- Sequentia: Dies irae
- Tuba mirum
- Liber scriptus
- Recordare
- Ingemisco
- Preces meae
- Confutatis
- Oro supplex
- Amen
Picture
Ludovico I di Borbone
(dedicatee)
Messa da Requiem
Period:Early Romanticism
Composed in:1805c
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
No details available.
Source:Robert Chase, Dies Irae: A Guide to Requiem Music, Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2003