Luigi Dallapiccola

(1904—1975) Italian composer

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(b Pisino d'Istria, 1904; d Florence, 1975).

It. composer and pianist. At the time of his birth, Pisino was in the Austro‐Hungarian empire, being transferred to It. in 1918 (later part of Yugoslavia). Because Dallapiccola's father was suspected in 1917 of It. nationalism, the family was forcibly moved to Graz where Dallapiccola learned to admire opera and where he conceived the passionate love of liberty which inspires several of his works. In 1922 he entered the Cons. Cherubini, Florence, studying comp. under Frazzi. In 1924 a perf. of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire made a deep impression on him, in addition to his existing passion for Debussy, Monteverdi, and Gesualdo. In the late 1920s he taught, gave pf. recitals, and in 1934 joined the pf. staff of the Cons. Cherubini. Travelling abroad he met Berg, Malipiero, and Casella. He fell out of favour with the authorities because of his opposition to Fascism, but after 1945 he spent a considerable time in the USA. Known as the principal (and probably the first) It. composer to adopt 12‐note methods, Dallapiccola also remained a lyrical, thoroughly It. composer. But he did not adopt dodecaphony until he was nearly 40. His early works, such as the first pair of Cori di Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane (1933), reflect his interest in the Italian madrigalists. The later pairs (1934–6) combine the influence of Busoni with his own typically sensuous warmth. The culmination of this period of his work was the Canti di prigionia (1938–41). In 1942 he adopted serialism, but never the purely academic variety. His natural It. aptitude for elaborate polyphony led him, in such works as Piccola musica notturna (1954), to use the all‐interval row. His opera Il prigioniero (1944–8) exemplifies his unorthodoxy in using several different note‐rows and ignoring other standard serial procedures. From about 1956 his music showed a Webernian intricacy in its textures and angularity, yet was never wholly devoid of the lyricism and colour of his earlier phases. Prin. comps.:


Volo di notte

(Night Flight) 1 act, lib. by composer after Saint‐Exupéry (comp. 1937–9, prod. 1940);


prigioniero (The Prisoner) (1944–8);




(prol. and 2 acts, lib. by composer after Homer, comp. 1959–68, prod. 1968). (See Ulysses.)



(comp. 1942–3, prod. Venice 1948).


Piccolo Concerto per Muriel Couvreux

, pf., chamber orch. (1939–41);

VariationsQuaderno musicale di Annalibera

(1954) (adapted from, pf. 1952);


, divertimento, vn., chamber orch. (1951);

Piccola musica notturna

(1954) (also arr. for chamber ens., 1961);


, vc., orch. (1960).

chorus & orch.:

Cori di Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane Canti di prigionia

6 in 3 pairs: 1 (1933), unacc. mixed ch., 2 (1934–5), women's vv., 17 instr., 3 (1935–6), ch., orch.; 3 (Songs of Imprisonment) (1938–41);



Canti di Liberazione


solo voice & orch.:


, orch. (sop. solo in finale) (1930–2); 3 , high v., 13 instr. (1936–7);

Liriche GrecheFive Sappho FragmentsTwo Anacreonte Lyrics6 Songs of AlcaeusAn Mathilde

(Greek Lyrics): I, , v., 15 instr. (1942), II, , v., E♭ cl., cl. in A, va., pf. (1944–5), III, , v., 11 instr. (1943): , sop., orch. (1955);


Subjects: Music.

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