During the second half of the 1800's the incredible spreading of a genre of compositions, now in disuse, became very popular in Italy. It consisted in fantasies, rimembranze and various kinds of reductions for every level of difficulty and kind of instrument, for opera music.At the time, melodramma was also a source of “music” and, precisely, because theatres weren't always running, or in the case of smaller towns, where there were no theatres, the people were content to listen to the music of the operas, or even just the most famous arias of the operas.
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Unlike "refined music" melodramma had its resonance also amongst the common people thanks to the use of automatic organs. Above all, however, the wealthier classes were staging the operas - or part of them - in their drawing rooms with the help of transcribed melodies for song (or violin) and piano. In Italy, it was Verdi's music that inspired the greater part of these transcriptions; these were made available for the press and thus became a means of publicity for the more complete form of opera performed at theatre.
Recorded at: Teatro Comunale, Casalmaggiore (CR),
Engineer: John Fuchs
Photo/paint on cover: studio.es (flickr.com), (CC BY 2.0)
master is copyrighted: OnClassical, 2001