Messae di Gloria by Giacomo Puccini stream

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Puccini is justly celebrated as one of the greatest opera composers, renowned particularly for La Boheme,Tosca and Madama Butterfly. He was the fourth generation of a family of church musicians from Lucca in northern Italy, and held the position of town organist and maestro di capella at the cathedral of San Paolino. He studied at the nearby Institute Musicale and in 1876 walked twenty miles from Lucca to Pisa and back to hear a performance of Verdi's Aida. It was this experience that finally decided him to pursue a career in the theatre rather than the church. Whilst he was still only eighteen he composed a setting of the mass for choir and orchestra as his graduation piece. It was tc "By this time, however, though he had not announced his decision, Puccini had already chosen the future direction of his career, which was to be in dramatic opera rather than liturgical music.  He had been sufficiently eager, during the spring of 1876, to walk the twenty miles from Lucca to Pisa and back for a performance of Verdi's Aida, and it is this experience which seems finally to have decided him on becoming a composer of musical theatre. He said later in life that he \"felt that a musical window had opened for me\".  More than a glimpse through that window into the future was offered by Puccini in his graduation exercise for the Pacini Institute, composed to be performed, as had been his earlier motet, on the eve of the Feast of San Paolino, in July, 1880."entitled simply Messa a quattro voci. The first performance in 1880 was a great success, praised by critics and public alike, but Puccini filed it away and it was not heard again in his lifetime.

 

In 1951 Father Dante del Fiorentino, an émigré Italian priest living in New York who had known Puccini when he was a young curate, was visiting Lucca to collect material for a biography of the composer. He came upon a copy of the mass and on his return home organised the first American performance of it in Chicago in 1952, seventy-two years after its premiere in Lucca. Regrettably, the notes in the preface of the published score perpetuated the fiction claimed by Father Dante that he had ‘rediscovered’ the ‘lost’ manuscript amongst the large collection of Puccini's works held by the family of his musical secretary, Vandini. In fact, the work was never lost; Puccini scholars had always known of its existence and Father Dante was by no means the first to have seen the manuscript. The real reason why it was not performed after its premiere was because Puccini quite clearly intended it to be a farewell to his association with sacred music.