Cesare Pugni: Quartetto for Flute, Viola, Cello and Piano


  • Composer(s): Cesare Pugni
  • Edition: Da Vinci Edition
  • Editor: Adriano Cirillo
  • Format: A4 - Paperback
  • Genre: Chamber
  • Instrumentation: Cello, Flute, Piano, Viola
  • ISMN: 9790216218443
  • Pages: 48
  • Period: Romantic
  • Publication year: 2022
SKU: DV 21964 Category:

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Cesare Pugni (b Genoa, 31 May 1802; d St Petersburg, 14/26 Jan 1870). Italian composer. From 1815 to 1822 he studied in Milan, with Rolla (violin) and Asioli (composition) among his teachers. In 1823 he contributed to the ballet Il castello di Kenilworth performed at La Scala, but Elerz e Zulmida in 1826 was the first wholly by him. In the following years he specialized in this genre, but from 1831 to 1834 attempted opera with a series of five works which began successfully with Il disertore svizzero and ended with the fiasco of Un episodio di San Michele. In this period, and rather unusually for an Italian composer, he also composed orchestral music, publishing two sinfonias, both in one movement and one of them for two orchestras in canon. From 1832 to 1834 he was maestro al cembalo and music director at La Scala. Then, however, he left, in disgrace (allegedly because of a passion for gambling), and he spent some years in poverty in Paris, where he was briefly associated with Bellini. In 1843 he began a long collaboration with the celebrated choreographer Jules Perrot, which resulted in more than 30 ballets, principally for Her Majesty's Theatre in London (under Benjamin Lumley). Some of these have remained famous (Ondine, 1843; La Esmeralda, 1844; Catarina, ou La fille du bandit, 1846; Le jugement de Pâris, 1846), and some are still performed. Other important productions resulted from collaborations with Cerrito, Saint-Léon, Paul Taglioni and Petipa. In 1851 Pugni went to St Petersburg as ballet composer to the imperial theatres. There he produced some 35 works, including revivals of former successes and new ones, such as Doch Faraona (‘Pharoah's Daughter’), 1862, and Konyok gorbunyok (‘The Little Hump-Backed Horse’), 1864.

The reasons for Pugni's success can be found in the music's brio, its imaginative fancy and expressive quality, and in its subservience to the functional requirements of the choreography, a subservience which is, at the same time, its greatest artistic limitation. The ballets to which Pugni contributed all or part of the music are said to number more than 300.