Francesco Azopardi (1748 - 1809) Maltese Classical Composer and Theorist by Dion Buhagiar.
In the last few years, more interest and demand has been generated in performing the music of Francesco Azopardi, particularly by Maltese musicians, European choirs and orchestras. The strength of Azopardi's music lies in the fact that it was always written with a specific purpose or commemoration in mind - such as the famous Requiem Mass in F minor which was commissioned for the death of King Leopold II of Austria. The book demonstrates Azopardi as a prolific composer who was in touch with the mainstream ideas of the most important European musical centres such as Naples, Paris and Monaco di Baviera (Munich), among other places. Azopardi composed several larger works such as the Oratorio La Passione di Cristo, three Grande Messa (also known as Messa di Gloria) for two choirs, soloists and two orchestras, with arias and choruses reflecting the Neapolitan operatic style of Nicola Piccinni and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, as well as a large number of psalms, te deums, solemn hymns and sequences. There have also been attempts at editing and publishing, performing and recording of his instrumental music, especially the sinfonias.
Azopardi's musical dedication, however, was directed towards the composition of music for the cathedral, in concordance with his role as Maestro di Cappella, as well as teaching composition through his own treatises: Il Musico Prattico (I) and Il Musico Pratico (II). These two treatises are here presented for the first time in their proper historical perspective.
Francesco Azopardi (1748 - 1809) Maltese Classical Composer and Theorist is in a Hardback edition.
Prof Dion Buhagiar is an Associate Professor of Music and was Head of the Music Studies Programme at the Mediterranean Institute of the Univesity of Malta (retired 2015). He is also Maestro de Cappella and Organist Emeritus of St Johns Co-Cathedral, Valletta and St Pauls Cathedral, Mdina, Malta. He is the founder and conductor of the Collegium Musicum choir and orchestra in both cathedrals in large works including Francesco Azopardis Messa di Gloria for eight voices and eight soloists, Mozarts Requiem and Coronation Mass, Haydns Paukenmesse and Creation, Verdis Requiem and Rossinis Stabat Matar for exclusive German audiences. His compositional output includes four large-scale Oratorios and an Opera in Maltese (Libretto from Francis Ebejers Il-Ħarsa ta Rużann), as well as a vast amount of sacred works.
Francesco Azopardi, by any measure the preeminent Maltese musician of his day, enjoyed a diverse and fruitful career as a music theorist, composer, teacher, and organist. The publication of Franceso Azopardi (1748 - 1809) Maltese Classical Composer and Theorist treats him, for the first time, to a comprehensive and authoritative account. Leading the reader on a carefully organized tour of his subjects accomplishment, Buhagiar explains Azopardis resourceful assimilations and distillations of Italian and French theory, his command of modern as well as learned styles, his faultless clarity of presentation in introducing the aspiring composer to the elements of compositional technique, and his novel pedagogical concepts of simplification and analytical reduction. The endeavor brought him recognition not only locally but internationally, as Buhagiar shows, for example, by identifying the palpable influence of his writings on French theory and pedagogy well into the nineteenth century.
The author has brought to this volume a welcome pedagogical gift of his own, calling his protagonist to life as he illuminates the integral connections between Azopardis theory and his practical compositions. The depth and richness of Buhagiars insights are informed by his own lifes work as a distinguished Maltese composer, organist, and choir director. Indeed, the reader can readily sense how a profound, generation-spanning kinship between author and subject has guided the books engaging, thoroughly convincing argument for Azopardis rightful membership in the pantheon of European music theory and practice of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
June 20, 2018