Wolf-Ferrari, Ermanno

Triptychon for orchestra

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Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari – Triptychon (Triptych) Op. 19 (1936)

(b. Venice, 12. January 1876 – d. Venice, 21. January 1948)

Vorgesang (= ‘Pre-song’ (sic), ‘In excelsis’ in the Italian edition) p. 3
Den toten Helden (‘To the fallen heroes’) p. 14
Gebet (‘Prayer’) p. 19

Baptised as Hermann Friedrich Wolf, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was the son of a Venetian mother (Emilia Ferrari) and a Bavarian father, August Wolf, an artist who specialized in making copies of 15th and 16th century paintings for aristocratic patrons. Ermanno took piano lessons in his native Venice from the age of six, but he had inherited his father’s artistic abilities, and so during his adolescence he was pulled in two directions. He attended the Accademia di Belli Arti in Rome (1891-2) and moved to Munich to continue his art studies; having been deeply moved by hearing the music of J.S.Bach, he also entered the Munich Akademie der Tonkunst where he studied counterpoint with Rheinberger. In 1894, now aged 18, he composed and conducted his youthful Serenade in E flat. Without having completed his final exam Wolf-Ferrari returned to Venice to pursue intense private study into his Italian musical inheritance. He also spent time in Milan where he conducted a choir, came under the sway of Boito, and met Verdi and Giulio Ricordi, who, however, did not want to accept his early compositions for publication. After his opera Cenerentola had failed to elicit much enthusiasm at Venice’s La Fenice, he moved back to Munich. A revised version of the opera met with much greater success in Bremen in 1902; in fact, in general his music would find readier acceptance in Germany than in Italy. The beautiful Dante-based oratorio La Vita Nuova Op.9 was heard for the first time in Munich in 1903, and it cemented his reputation there. In the same year emerged the first (of five) Goldoni-inspired comic operas, Le Donne Curiose, and in 1906 the even more successful I Quattro Rusteghi. These works demonstrated the composer’s melodic facility, his stylistic charm and the artfulness of his orchestration. To witness this brilliant style in miniature, one has only to listen to the scintillating overture to his one-act opera Il Segreto di Susanna. After a spell as director of the Liceo Musicale in Venice (1903-9) he settled just outside Munich and henceforth devoted himself almost entirely to composition. He made regular return trips to Venice as well, visited the States in 1911-12 and took refuge in Zurich during the First World War – an event that wounded him emotionally for several years and severely limited his output. Having become more active again from the mid-1920s onwards he was in 1939 appointed professor of composition at the Salzburg Mozarteum. After a return to Zurich in 1946 he spent the last year of his life in Venice. Wolf-Ferrari is buried on the island of San Michele in the archipelago. …


Read full English and German preface > HERE

Score No.



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210 x 297 mm






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