Donizetti: 6 arias

Donizetti Six arias for voice and piano, rev. C. Pestalozza. Ricordi


It seems to me that by 1844 Donizetti was far gone in brain-sickness, and that his creative fires were merely smouldering, if not entirely smothered. No wonder he chose to write songs, in that melancholy event; even a few flickers of ideas can be kept going by strophic repetition. The writer of the introduction takes a much more encouraging view. Indeed he goes so far as to assess this final phase as one of unimpaired “maturity”, and to appraise these previously unpublished songs as “felicitous”. How­ever, I see that this edition notates the Gs in the last two bars of the right hand, at the top of p.9, as sharp, not natural; and anyone who can believe that can believe anything.

    Let the prospective purchaser decide, bearing in mind that any substantial demand for this set will no doubt unleash another 200 or so Donizetti songs still left lying doggo in the archives. But the present price seems quite reasonable for 35 pages, even of repetitive music; all the work has a certain wan charm; and in any event I expect everyone would rather see genius smouldering than mouldering.


The Musical Times: Nov. 1976