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Gian Francesco Malipiero

March 18, 1882 - August 1, 1973
born in Venice, Italy, composed during the Modern period
Extremely prolific, highly uneven, and tremendously influential, Gian Francesco Malipiero came to be regarded -- even by other Italian composers -- as the most original musical mind of his day and place. His music fused modern techniques with the stylistic qualities of early Italian music.

In his youth Malipiero briefly enrolled as a violin student at the Vienna Conservatory, and also studied in Venice and Bologna (where he obtained a diploma in composition from the G.B. Martini Music School in 1904). In 1913 he traveled to Paris, where he was influenced by French Impressionism, with its fondness for enriching harmonies with sixths, ninths, and elevenths. He was also transformed by attending the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which so caused him to rethink his aesthetics that he suppressed all the music he'd written to that time. Yet, something of a paleo-nationalist, Malipiero found even greater inspiration in Italian Baroque polyphony, which he had discovered on his own and begun transcribing from library manuscripts as early as 1902. His academic interests also led him to accept intermittent teaching and administrative appointments. In 1921 he became professor of composition at the Parma Conservatory for two years. Later he was director of the Instituto Musicale Pollini at Padua, and in 1939 he became director of the Liceo Benedetto Marcello in Venice.

Malipiero initially produced works that, although often harmonically dense and oddly structured, reflect the spirit of seventeenth and eighteenth century Venetian music. His compositions are characteristically contrapuntal, with some dissonance resulting from the counterpoint. What is usually judged to be his best music bases its tonality on free use of diatonic material, although Malipiero employed chromaticism more aggressively in his old age.

Malipiero's principal works, among the hundreds he churned out during his long career, include the operas L'orfeide (1918-1922) and Venere prigioniera (Captive Venus, 1957); the cantata or "mystery" San Francesco d'Assisi (1922); the oratorio La Passione (1935); and about a dozen free-form symphonies, only seven of them numbered. Among his other orchestral works are Pause del silenzio (1917), a response to World War I, which deeply traumatized him even though he was a non-combatant; Impressioni dal vero (Impression of Truth, 1910-1922); and Fantasie di ogni giorni (Fantasy of Every Day, 1954). His chamber works include seven string quartets, of which the first, Rispetti e strambotti (Regards and Folderol, 1920), has circulated more widely than any of his other compositions.

Much of this work is characterized by varying degrees of Expressionism, dissonance, and modality. Malipiero's most original and cohesive period was 1917-1929, although certain pieces from his predominantly diatonic middle period, such as the First Violin Concerto (1932), have found greater audience favor, using as they do a rather aimless lyricism that replaced the more focused agony of his earlier work. His compositions from the late 1940s on became more chromatic, subdued, and meandering. Malipiero also made important contributions to musical scholarship. He edited the complete works of Monteverdi, a widely criticized yet pioneering endeavor. He also collaborated on a collected edition of the works of Vivaldi; edited works of Corelli, Frescobaldi, and others; and wrote many articles for scholarly journals. ~ James Reel, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Malipiero Endecatode

Title: Epodi E Giambi, For Oboe, Violin, Viola & Bassoon
Title: Mondi Celesti, For Voice & 10 Instruments
Title: Serenata Mattutina, For 10 Instruments
Title: Canzonette Veneziane (7), For Voice & Piano
Title: Serenata For Bassoon & 10 Instruments
Title: Macchine, For 14 Instruments
Title: Endecatode, For 14 Instruments & Percussion
x

Track List: Gian Francesco Malipiero: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Sinfonie del silenzio e della morte

Title: Sinfonie Del Silenzio E De La Morte

1. Sinfonie Del Silenzio E De La Morte: I. Danza Tragica

2. Sinfonie Del Silenzio E De La Morte: II. Sinfonia Del Silenzio

3. Sinfonie Del Silenzio E De La Morte: III. Il Molino Della Morte

Title: Symphony No. 1 "in Quattro Tempi, Come Le Quattro Stagioni"

4. Symphony No. 1 "in Quattro Tempi, Come Le Quattro Stagioni": I. Quasi Andante. Sereno

5. Symphony No. 1 "in Quattro Tempi, Come Le Quattro Stagioni": II. Allegro

6. Symphony No. 1 "in Quattro Tempi, Come Le Quattro Stagioni": III. Lento, Ma Non Troppo

7. Symphony No. 1 "in Quattro Tempi, Come Le Quattro Stagioni": IV. Allegro, Quasi Allegretto

Title: Symphony No. 2 "elegiaca"

8. Symphony No. 2 "elegiaca": I. Allegro Non Troppo

9. Symphony No. 2 "elegiaca": II. Lento Non Troppo

10. Symphony No. 2 "elegiaca": III. Mosso

11. Symphony No. 2 "elegiaca": IV. Lento

x

Track List: Gian Francesco Malipiero: Works For Piano

Title: Cavalcate ("Rides")

1. Cavalcate ("Rides"): I. Recalcitrante (Somaro). Non Ritenuto

2. Cavalcate ("Rides"): II. Dondolante (Camello). Lento

3. Cavalcate ("Rides"): III. Focoso (Destriero). Mosso, Ma Ben Ritmato

Title: Poemetti Lunari For Piano

4. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: I. Salmodiando, Gravemente

5. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: II. Mestamente, Ma Non Lento

6. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: III. Lugubre

7. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: IV. Presto

8. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: V. Mestamente (Quasi Senza Ritmo)

9. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: VI. Molto Lento

10. Poemetti Lunari For Piano: VII. Agitatissimo

Title: Preludi Autunnali, For Piano

11. Preludi Autunnali, For Piano: I. Lento, Ma Carezzevole

12. Preludi Autunnali, For Piano: II. Ritenuto, Ma Spigliato

13. Preludi Autunnali, For Piano: III. Lento, Triste

14. Preludi Autunnali, For Piano: IV. Veloce

Title: Tre Danze Antiche

15. Tre Danze Antiche: I. Gavotta Da La Sinfonia Del Silenzio: Allegretto

16. Tre Danze Antiche: II. Minuetto: Carezzevole

17. Tre Danze Antiche: III. Giga: Presto

Title: Risonanze, For Piano

18. Risonanze, For Piano: I. Calmo

19. Risonanze, For Piano: II. Fluido

20. Risonanze, For Piano: III. Non Troppo Mosso

21. Risonanze, For Piano: IV. Agitato, Non Troppo

Comments

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tdisarlo3
Malipiero wrote eight string quartets, not seven. - tomd.home@ve r i z o n . n e t

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