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T. Maidanevich

Italian author’s songs in instrumental music: some features of the genre adaptation

Italian author’s songs, created at different time periods, constantly attract the attention of composers. Several directions have been formed in their adaptation in academic instrumental music: from simple rearrangement for various instrumental ensembles, quotation and development in large symphonic works to rethinking and creation of significant philosophical concepts based on these songs. This article examines the Neapolitan song “Funiculì Funiculà” and the Venetian song “La biondina in gondoletta”.

“Funiculì Funiculà” is one of the most popular Neapolitan songs, written by composer Luigi Denza and poet Giuseppe Turco to celebrate the opening of the world’s first funicular on the slope of Vesuvius in 1880. An energetic melody with an elastic rhythm became the basis of the final sections of a number of works that glorify Italy, among which the author highlights the symphonic fantasy “From Italy” by R. Strauss and the orchestral rhapsody “Italy” by A. Casella. N. Rimsky-Korsakov made an orchestral arrangement of the song, naming the composition “Neapolitan Song”.

The song “La biondina in gondoletta”, popular in Italy and outside the country, has found various interpretations in the works by L. Beethoven, F. Liszt, F. W. Kalkbrenner, F. Paer, B. Maderna. F. Donatoni’s “Duo pour Bruno” (1975), written on the death of Maderna, is considered in more detail. The author establishes a connection between this work and one of Maderna’s last compositions “Venetian Journal” (1972), where he also uses the named song.

The analysis leads to the conclusion that there are new forms of implementation of the Italian author’s song in the second half of the 20th century, including the use of quotation as an impulse for the formation of an original concept of a composition within the framework of instrumental theatre – one of the main genres of contemporary musical art.

Key words

Italian author’s song, instrumental music by European composers, “Funiculì Funiculà”, “La biondina in gondoletta”, Bruno Maderna, Franco Donatoni, “Duo pour Bruno”, musical quotation, instrumental theatre.

For citation

Maidanevich T. Italian author’s songs in instrumental music: some features of the genre adaptation // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 4. Pp. 95-101.