Messa per Rossini

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Messa per Rossini
Requiem by 13 Italian composers including Giuseppe Verdi
Gioachino Rossini in 1865, in whose memory the project was conceived
Occasion Anniversary of Rossini's death
Text Requiem
Language Latin
Composed 1869 (1869)
Performed 1988 (1988)
  • five soloists
  • chorus
  • orchestra

The Messa per Rossini is a Requiem Mass composed to commemorate the first anniversary of Gioachino Rossini's death. It was a collaboration among 13 Italian composers, initiated by Giuseppe Verdi. The composition was intended to be performed on 13 November 1869 in the Basilica of San Petronio, Bologna, where Rossini grew up and spent a large part of his life.

Composition history[edit]

Verdi had proposed this collaboration in a letter from 17 November 1868, four days after Rossini's death, to his publisher at Casa Ricordi, Tito Ricordi (1811–1888), stating that after the performance, the manuscripts should be sealed in the archives of the Liceo musicale Rossini.

The city council of Bologna and the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna received this idea favourably and a committee of three members (Lauro Rossi, Alberto Mazzucato, Stefano Ronchetti-Monteviti) of the Milan Conservatory was established in Milan with Giulio Ricordi as secretary. The committee chose the composers and assigned their tasks; Angelo Mariani agreed to conduct.[1]

Mariani was also involved in Rossini commemorations in Pesaro, Rossini's birthplace, which were planned for August 1869. Despite Mariani's pleading invitation to Verdi on 19 August 1869, Verdi replied on the same day indignantly that he would not attend. In a letter from 24 August, Mariani expressed his distress at that response. Meanwhile, the committee had asked the impresario of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Luigi Scalaberni (1823–1876), to lend the performers, orchestra and chorus for the performance in Bologna on 13 November. Scalaberni refused on 6 October for commercial reasons because the performance of the mass would impede the success of his opera season. The municipal authorities then suggested to defer the commemorations until December, after the opera season. Verdi objected to such a delay and also to a suggestion by the committee to relocate the performance to Milan. In a letter from 27 October 1869 to Ricordi, Verdi rails against delay or relocation, and not only blames Mariani for the situation, but remarks: "Who would be the conductor at Milan? It cannot and must not be Mariani." The performance of the composition, which was finished by the summer of 1869, was then cancelled.[1] The manuscript subsequently fell into oblivion.

Giuseppe Verdi adapted his own contribution, the concluding Libera me, as the basis for that section when composing his own Messa da Requiem.

Performance history[edit]

The complete Messa per Rossini was discovered by American musicologist David Rosen in 1970 and premiered in 1988 by the Gächinger Kantorei conducted by Helmuth Rilling at the European Music Festival in Stuttgart and later at other festivals, such as the Rheingau Musik Festival in 2001. The first performance in the United States took place in October 1989 in New York at Avery Fisher Hall, also conducted by Rilling, with the soprano Gabriela Beňačková, the mezzo Cornelia Kallisch, the tenor James Wagner, the baritone Jacob Will and the bass Brian Matthews, the Gächinger Kantorei and the New York Philharmonic.[2] The work has subsequently been recorded on CD. The first performance in France takes place in 1998 at the Radio France-Montpellier Festival in Montpellier, under the direction of Enrique Diemecke, with the soprano Luana DeVol, the mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, the tenor Rockwell Blake, the baritone Stefano Antonucci, the bass Felipe Bou, the Latvian Radio Choir and the Montpellier-Languedoc-Roussillon Philharmonic Orchestra. The first performance in the United Kingdom was given in 2003 at the Royal Academy of Music (London) by the Trinity Chorale and Trinity Orchestra, conducted by John Wyatt (Director of Music, Aldenham School). In 2017, Riccardo Chailly conducted this Requiem for the first time at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.


Structure of the work and contributors[edit]

Composer Section Movement Setting
Antonio Buzzolla
I. Introitus Requiem e Kyrie chorus
Antonio Bazzini
II. Sequentia 1. Dies irae chorus
Carlo Pedrotti
2. Tuba mirum solo (baritone) and chorus
Antonio Cagnoni
3. Quid sum miser duet: soprano, alto
Federico Ricci
4. Recordare Jesu quartet: soprano, alto, baritone, bass
Alessandro Nini
5. Ingemisco solo (tenor) and chorus
Raimondo Boucheron
6. Confutatis
6. Oro supplex
solo (bass) and chorus
Carlo Coccia
7. Lacrimosa
7. Amen
A Capella chorus and chorus
Gaetano Gaspari
III. Offertorium Domine Jesu
Quam olim Abrahae
Quam olim Abrahae
quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and chorus
Pietro Platania
IV. Sanctus Sanctus
solo (soprano) and chorus
Lauro Rossi
V. Agnus Dei Agnus Dei solo (alto)
Teodulo Mabellini
VI. Communio Lux aeterna trio: tenor, baritone, bass
Giuseppe Verdi
VII. Responsorium Libera me
Dies irae
Requiem aeternam
Libera me
solo (soprano) and chorus


Year Orchestra, chorus,
Soloists Label, format: catalog no. Notes
1988 Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Gächinger Kantorei,
Prague Philharmonic Choir,
Helmuth Rilling
Gabriela Beňačková,
Florence Quivar,
James Wagner,
Alexandru Agache,
Aage Haugland
Hänssler classic, CD: 98.949,
Kultur Films Inc., DVD: 4166
Studio recording made in September in Stuttgart



  1. ^ a b Walker, Frank (1962). The Man Verdi. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 350 ff. 
  2. ^ "Philharmonic's New Season", The New York Times (31 March 1989)