November 13

The Musical Press Laments the Death of Rossini

L’Illustration, Vol. L (5 October 1867): 212, published in Les Gravures Musicales dans L’Illustration, Vol. 1  (Quebec: Presses del’Université Laval, 1982): 603

A portrait by Adolphe Mouilleron of Rossini, one year before his passing

 

On today’s date in 1868, 149 years ago, Gioachino Rossini—composer of more than three dozen operas, including the ever-popular opera buffa, The Barber of Seville—died in Paris at the age of seventy-six.  Though retiring from opera composition in 1829, nearly four decades before his passing, the success of Rossini’s prolific early years made him a widely renowned public figure.  This popularity is reflected in the attention given to his death in the musical press, with many journals reporting the news on their front pages. Here are some examples.

L’Art musical, Vol. 8 No. 51 (19 November 1868): 401.
The Musical Standard, Vol. 9 No. 225 (21 November 1868): 197.
Gazzetta musicale di Milano, Vol. 23 No. 47 (22 November 1868): 377.
Neue Berliner Musikzeitung, Vol. 22 No. 47 (18 November 1868): 373.

 

As eulogies of the composer appeared in the press, the Parisian illustrated newsweekly, L’Illustration, visually documented Rossini’s funeral proceedings.  As indicative of his widespread adoration, much of Paris attended.

L’Illustration, Vol. LII (28 November 1868): 340, published in Les Gravures Musicales dans L’Illustration, Vol. 1 (Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 1982): 619.

The sprinkling of holy water in the Church of the Holy Trinity

 

L’Illustration, Vol. LII (28 November 1868): 341, published in Les Gravures Musicales dans L’Illustration, Vol. 1 (Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 1982): 620.

The funeral procession leaving Church of the Holy Trinity

 

L’Illustration, Vol. LII (28 November 1868): 344, published in Les Gravures Musicales dans L’Illustration, Vol. 1 (Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 1982): 620.

Lowering of the coffin into  the vault of the city, in Père-Lachaise Cemetery

 

Rossini was sought out and courted, not merely on account of his fame as a composer, but for his wit, his humour, his amiability, and general goodness. With him has departed one of the most remarkable geniuses and one of the kindliest spirits of the nineteenth century.

The Musical World, Vol. 46 No. 47 (21 November 1868): 789.

 

RIPM search tip: For more on Rossini’s death, first, in both RIPM’s Retrospective Index and e-Library of Music Periodicals, set the span of years in the “Date” field from “1868 to 1869”.  This limits one’s search to the year of his death and one year following.  Then, search “Rossini” as a keyword.

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Posted November 13, 2017 by John Ehrenburg in category "Curios and Chronicles