Gioachino Rossini: Album Français – Morceaux Réservés

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Rossana Dalmonte (1989)

One-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. XL, 404
GR 08

In the last period of his life Gioachino Rossini composed numerous pieces that were not intended for publication and public performance but were written «for his personal use» and were usually performed in private venues, especially in the evenings held in the composer’s salon at the Chaussée d’Antin or the villa in Passy. The compositional process of these pieces was quite different from that adopted by Rossini during his theatrical career. The composer had plenty of time to elaborate these compositions, to revise them, and to supervise the work of his trusted copyists. In his last years he devoted himself, with many second thoughts, to their placement in the various Albums that are now kept at the Rossini Foundation in Pesaro according to the ultimate order he established.

The study of these manuscripts demonstrates the care with which Rossini jotted down his thoughts in the various nuances and with extremely subtle musical choices. The corrections introduced by the composer in the course of drafting or revising are meticulous, made by scraping the sheet so as to make it impossible, in many cases, to reconstruct the first version. There are rare oversights and abundant indications of articulation, even in repeated passages. Therefore, the preparation of the critical edition of the Péchés de vieillesse, presenting problems very different from those of all Rossini’s earlier production, demands an editorial criterion that takes into account the new way of facing the musical page by the late Rossini.

The critical edition aims to preserve the utmost fidelity to the autograph and to make its status known with extreme precision, highlighting almost all the editor’s interventions.

Rossini’s writing of the Péchés de vieillesse is quite different from that of the melodramas. The calmness with which Rossini created or reworked these works, repeatedly revised both on the autographs and on copies he had prepared under his own supervision, means that there are very few uncertainties compared to those so frequent in autographs from the period of his theatrical career. The articulation of the instrumental and vocal parts is very accurate, as are the indications of dynamics. However, the very richness of the indications can create misunderstandings, for example, in parallel passages notated differently. The basic criterion to which we have adhered, following the general rules set by the Editorial Committee for editions of the Péchés de vieillesse, is to preserve as much as possible the image of Rossini’s writing, even though this is not a diplomatic edition. This criterion is especially valid when one is in the presence of autographs, that is, in twenty cases out of twenty-four.

Wanting to maintain the physiognomy of the Albums prepared by Rossini, the two complete Albums have been published according to the definitive order of the Pesaro manuscripts. Each Album is followed by its own Appendix, in which are included those versions, either earlier or alternative, whose differences are significant enough to justify their independent edition. In these cases, not infrequently Rossini’s interventions were numerous and spaced out in time to such an extent as to permit the reconstruction not only of the printed versions but also of several intermediate stages. The most resounding case is that of the Chœur de chasseurs démocrates, for which (thanks to the survival of a large number of sources) it has been possible to identify up to eight levels of drafting, all documented in the Critical Commentary.

Such work has not been possible in other cases despite Rossini’s corrective interventions. Where it has been possible and seemed appropriate, attempts have been made to interpret the transformations of individual passages in the Footnotes, but this kind of information is necessarily less comprehensive.

Content and Instrumentations

Album Français
Toast pour le nouvel an (Ottettino)
(2 Soprani, 2 Contralti, 2 Tenori, 2 Bassi)

(Ténor e Piano)

La Grande Coquette (Ariette Pompadour)
(Soprano e Piano)

Un Sou Complainte à deux voix
(Ténor, Baryton e Piano)

Chanson de Zora La Petite Bohémienne
(Mezzo Soprano e Piano)

[La Nuit de Noel] La notte del Santo Natale (Pastorale)
(Basso solo, 2 Soprani, 2 Contralti, 2 Tenori, 2 Baritoni, Piano ed Harmonium)

Le Dodo des enfants
(Mezzo Soprano e Piano)

Le Lazzarone Chansonette de Cabaret
(Baryton e Piano)

Adieux à la vie! Élégie (sur une seule note)
(Chant e Piano)

Soupirs et sourire (Nocturne)
(Soprano, Ténor e Piano)

L’Orpheline du Tyrol Ballade élégie
(Mezzo Soprano e Piano)

Chœur de chasseurs démocrates
(Ténor I, Ténor II, Baryton, Basse, 2 Tambours e Tam-tam)

Appendice all’Album Français
Mi lagnerò tacendo
(Canto e Pianoforte)

Dodo des enfants [Mi lagnerò tacendo] Ariette
(Mezzo Soprano e Pianoforte)

Mi lagnerò tacendo (sopra una sola nota)
(Canto e Pianoforte)

Il cipresso, e la rosa (ossia Allegrezza e Melanconia) Notturno
(Soprano, Tenore e Piano)

Chœur de chasseurs
(Ténor I, Ténor II, Baryton, Basse, 2 Tambours e Tam-tam)

Morceaux Réservés
Chœur Quelques Mesures de Chant Funèbre. A mon pauvre ami Meyerbeer
(Premiers Ténors, Deuxièmes Ténors, Barytons, Basses e Caisse Roulante)

(Canto [Tenore] e Pianoforte)

Les Amants de Séville (Tirana pour deux voix)
(Contralto, Tenore e Piano)

Ave Maria
(Soprano, Contralto, Tenore, Basso ed Orgue)

Gammes. Des Montées et des Descentes
Deux Gammes Chinoises, suivies d’une Mélodie analogue [«L’Amour à Pékin»]
(Contralto e Piano)

Le Chant des Titans (Encelade, Hypérion, Crelus, Polyphème 4 fils de Titan, le frère de Saturne)
(4 Basses de haute Taille Soli à l’unisson, Piano ed Harmonium ad libitum)

Preghiera (per otto sole voci)
(2 Ténor I, 2 Ténor II, 2 Baryton, 2 Basse)

Au Chevet d’un mourant (Élégie)
(Canto e Piano)

Le Sylvain (Romance)
(Ténor e Piano)

Cantemus Chœur à 8 voix réelles
(2 Soprani, 2 Contralti, 2 Tenori, 2 Bassi)

Ariette à l’ancienne
(Canto e Pianoforte)

Le Départ des Promis. Quatuor. Tyrolienne sentimentale
(2 Soprani, 2 Contralti e Piano)

Appendice ai Morceaux Réservés
Prière à 8 voix
(2 Ténor I, 2 Ténor II, 2 Baryton, 2 Basse)

Ariette à l’ancienne
(Canto e Piano)