For many years I've heard this piece. I've even wept over it, but I NEVER knew WHAT it was...
Last night, while searching for even more Advent and Christmas music, the name "Cavalleria Rusticana" caught my eye, and checked it out...
So, finally, THIS is the piece I've "known" for so long, but was completely ignorant of what it was!
Also, WITHOUT intending to do so, I've uploaded this on the day of the 154th anniversary of the composer's birth!
Pietro Antonio Stefano Mascagni (7 December 1863 – 2 August 1945) was an Italian composer most noted for his operas. His 1890 masterpiece Cavalleria Rusticana caused one of the greatest sensations in opera history and single-handedly ushered in the Verismo movement in Italian dramatic music. While it was often held that Mascagni, was a "one-opera man" who could never repeat his first success, L'amico Fritz and Iris have remained in the repertoire in Europe (especially Italy) since their premieres.
Mascagni wrote fifteen operas, an operetta, several orchestral and vocal works, as well as songs and piano music. He enjoyed immense success during his lifetime, both as a composer and conductor of his own and other people's music. He created a variety of styles in his operas: a Sicilian passion and warmth of Cavalleria, the exotic flavor of Iris, the idylls of L'amico Fritz and Lodoletta, the Gallic chiaroscuro of Isabeau, the steely, Veristic power of Il piccolo Marat, the over-ripe post-romanticism of the lush Parisina, which demonstrate a versatility.
I dedicate this performance to my wife, Gale. Before I played this for her, I said, "EVERYONE knows this piece, and you will too!" Well, she didn't... :-(
Oh, well, I imagine that at least some of you will know it, and will enjoy it! It really sings on the Salisbury Willis, and that's the Solo strings and harmoic flute (at 16' & 8') carrying the tune.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Mascagni.
And now, I return you to the Advent season! :-)