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Ildebrando Pizzetti (September 20, 1880 – February 13, 1968) was an Italian composer of classical music.



Pizzetti was born in Parma in 1880. He was part of the "Generation of 1880" along with Ottorino Respighi and Gian Francesco Malipiero. They were among the first Italian composers in some time whose primary contributions were not in opera. (The instrumental and a cappella traditions had never died in Italian music and had produced, for instance, the string quartets of Antonio Scontrino (1850-1922) and the works of Respighi's teacher Martucci; but with the "Generation of 1880" these traditions became stronger.)

Ildebrando Pizzetti was born in Parma, the son of Odoardo Pizzetti, a pianist and piano teacher who was Ildebrando's first teacher. At first Pizzetti seemed headed for a career as a playwright—he had written several plays, two of which had been produced—before he decided in 1895 on a career in music and entered the Conservatorium of Parma.

There he was taught from 1897 by Giovanni Tebaldini and gained the beginnings of his lifelong interest in the early music of Italy, reflected in his own music and his writings.

He taught at the Conservatory in Florence (director from 1917 to 1923), directed the Milan Conservatory from 1923, and was Respighi's successor at the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome from 1936 to 1958[1]) His students included Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Olga Rudge and Franco Donatoni. Also a music critic, he wrote several books on the music of Italy and of Greece and co-founded a musical journal.

A disciple of poet, playwright and revolutionary Gabriele d'Annunzio, Pizzetti wrote incidental music to his plays, and was highly influenced by d'Annunzio's dark neoclassic themes. One of Pizzetti's later operas is a setting of d'Annunzio's La Figlia Di Jorio.

As noted by Sciannameo, his relations with the Fascist government of the 1940s were often positive, sometimes mixed; he received at one point high awards, and the one symphony of his mature years was the product of a commission from their Japanese allies to celebrate the "XXVI Centennial of the foundation of the Japanese Empire" (Benjamin Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem was also commissioned for this event, though it was rejected on account of its finale; its original finale was rediscovered after Britten's death and only premiered then. Pizzetti's Symphony in A was premiered as noted in the article, and recorded in 1940 (its only recording as of 2005).[2])

His Violin Concerto in A was premiered in 1944 by Gioconda de Vito; this seems to be the only 20th century violin concerto she ever played.

His works have not been frequently performed; their less than emotional, almost minimalist quality has made them difficult to appreciate. He died in Rome in 1968.

Selected works


Orchestral music

  • Symphony in A in celebrazione del XXVIo centenario della fondazione dell'Impero giapponese. 1940[1]
  • Incidental music, especially to plays by d'Annunzio, especially
    • La Pisanelle (1912-3)[3]
  • Suite from La Pisanelle (premiered 1919)[4]
  • Harp concerto in E-flat (1960)[5][6]
  • 3 Sonetti del Petrarca
  • Tre composizioni corali
  • Other vocal works, e.g. Epithalamium (1939? 1940, played at a Library of Congress concert in April 1940 and again in 1977)
  • Cello concerto in C (1933-4)[1]
  • Violin concerto in A, 1944[1][7]
  • Canti della stagione alta : concerto for piano and orchestra
  • Sinfonia del fuoco (from music for the silent film Cabiria)
  • Rondo veneziano (1929)
  • Concerto dell'Estate


Chamber music

  • Violin sonata in C minor (1900)
  • String Quartet n.1 in A major (1906)[9]
  • Violin sonata in A (championed by Yehudi Menuhin) written 1918–9 [10], pub. 1920
  • Cello sonata in F 1921, pub. 1922
  • Tre canti for cello and piano (1924)[11]
  • Piano sonata pub. 1942
  • Piano trio in G minor (1900)
  • Piano trio in A (from 1925)[12]
  • String Quartet n.2 in D (written 1932-33, pub. 1934.)

Sacred music

  • Messa di Requiem (1922-1923)[13]
  • Cantata: Filiae Jerusalem, Adjuro Vos (1966)[14]



  1. ^ a b c d e Randel, Don Michael (1996). The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 697. ISBN 0-674-37299-9. OCLC 34553491. Retrieved 2007-12-23.  
  2. ^ Sciannameo, pp. 46-7.
  3. ^ Sciannameo, p. 29.
  4. ^ ibid.
  5. ^ According to "Description of CD "Clelia Gatti Aldrovandi: Historical Series I and II" of Harp and Orchestra Music by Rota, Pizzetti, Vlad and Zafred". Retrieved 2009-01-04.  , commissioned by Clelia Gatti Aldrovandi.
  6. ^ Sciannameo, p. 49 gives 1960 for year of composition.
  7. ^ Sciannameo, p. 47.
  8. ^ Sciannameo, pp. 28-9
  9. ^ op. cit., p. 26.
  10. ^ op. cit., p. 30
  11. ^ op. cit., p. 31
  12. ^ op. cit., p. 31
  13. ^ Begun 31 October 1922 and completed 2 January 1923 according to Sciannameo, p. 30.
  14. ^ Sciannameo, p. 49.

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