Tommaso Giordani

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Tommaso Giordani (c. 1730 to 1733 – before 24 February 1806) was an Italian composer active in England and particularly in Ireland.

Contents

Life

Giordani was born in Naples between 1730 and 1733 and came from a musical family. His father was Giuseppe Giordani senior, born around 1695 in Naples, died after 1762, probably in London (no relation to the Neapolitan organist Carmine Giordani b. 1685). A possible younger brother was Giuseppe Giordani (1751–1798), called "Giordanello". Tommaso was trained in Naples and moved with his father and siblings (including singer Nicolina) via Graz (1747), Salzburg and Frankfurt (1750), Amsterdam (1752) and Paris (1753) to London, where they performed four burlettas at Covent Garden in the 1753–4 season. [1] Although the family performed in London for the next two years, Tommaso is not mentioned in the newspaper reports of the time.

His whereabouts in the following eight years are unknown. In 1764, he accepted an invitation to act as musical director of the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, where he stayed for the next three years, performing comic operas and co-produced the first ever opera seria to be performed in Ireland, L'eroe cinese (1766). Following accusations of plagiarism, he went back to London in 1767, where for the next 16 years he was relatively successful as an opera composer.

From 1783, Giordani returned to live in Ireland for the remainder of his life. He was particularly active in opera, as both composer and impresario. He had a stake in the short-lived 'English Opera House', which he founded in 1783 and which produced works by Irish composers and librettists, also in a music shop, neither of which was financially successful. Among his pupils were Lady Morgan, Thomas Simpson Cooke, and John Field, the inventor of the nocturne, who made his debut at one of Giordani's Rotunda concerts (4 April 1792). He died in Dublin.

Music

Among Giordani's compositions are a number of operas and theatrical pieces, including Genius of Ireland (1784) and The Island of Saints, or The Institution of the Shamrock (1785), the oratorio Isaac (1767), and a large quantity of overtures, sonatas, concertos, quartets (mostly string quartets, though some with flute, keyboard or guitar), trios for violin, flute and basso continuo, songs, etc. He is likely to have been composer and conductor at the Francis Street Chapel, Dublin, from approximately 1784 to 1798, and conducted a Te Deum of his own at the celebration upon the recovery of King George III, 30 April 1789. [2] His last opera, The Cottage Festival, was produced at the Theatre Royal, Dublin, 28 November 1796. Giordani composed in a tuneful, galant style and was often confronted with accusations of plagiarism.

The authorship of the popular arietta Caro mio ben (1783) is as yet uncertain. It is mostly ascribed to Tommaso, but sometimes to his father or to the younger Giuseppe Giordani. [3]

Selected works

Operas and other stage works (Dublin only)

Oratorios and cantatas (Dublin)

Songs

Orchestral music

Chamber music

Bibliography

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References

  1. Klein, Axel: "Giordani, Tommaso", in: Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG), biographical part, vol. 7 (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2002), cc. 990–992.
  2. Sharpe, Richard: "Tommaso Giordani, Gregorio Ballabene’s Messa a dodici cori con organo and Sacred Music in Late-Eighteenth-Century Dublin", in Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, 11 (2016) pp. 25–35.
  3. See Paton (1981) and Zanetti (1991) in the Bibliography below.
  4. "Keyboard" here is applicable to either harpsichord, piano or organ. Towards the end of the century, the harpsichord was increasingly superseded by the piano.