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Gaspare Spontini and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia

Gaspare Spontini and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia

The Accademia di Santa Cecilia boasts a close and important relationship with Gaspare Spontini, who premièred as an opera composer in Rome in 1796. As an international artist, his career began first in Paris from 1803 to 1820, where, in 1811, he married Marie-Celèste Erard, member of the famous family of Parisien publishers and makers of musical instruments. He later moved to the court of Frederick William III in Germany.

In 1838, Spontini went to Rome and immediately became friends with Luigi Rossi, who was secretary of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, of which he had become an honorary member the previous year. The archive of the Accademia contains copious documentation, about 400 pieces, from that period, particularly from 1837 to 1846. Those were the years of the Accademia's great restoration, which took place thanks to a significant contribution from Spontini. Rossi availed himself of Spontini's international relationships to make honorary members of illustrious musicians, sovereigns and noblewomen. He also tried to create a "G. Spontini Conservatory" in Rome, with a programme designed by the composer himself. Moreover, thanks to the support of the Bishop of Jesi, he commissioned Spontini to write an interesting treatise on the reform of sacred music, which was never followed up on due to various intrigues and much resistance from leading figures in the ecclesiastic and music worlds of Rome.

 

Photogallery

Documents from the multimedia library of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

 
Listening guide by musicologist Giovanni Bietti - concert of October 12, 2015 (in Italian)

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