LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904 - 1975)
The Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola was born and spent his childhood in Istria, now part of Croatia, and a meeting-point of cultures. He had his first experience of Wagner during his familys internment in Graz in 1917, later studying music in Trieste and then in Florence, where a performance of Schoenbergs Pierrot Lunaire persuaded him to work as a composer, rather than as a pianist, his earlier choice of career. Concert tours had taken him to Vienna and to London, leading to a connection with the circle of Schoenberg. In Germany and later in Italy he met politically inspired opposition, although his opera Volo di notte (Night Flight), based on Saint-Exuprys Vol de nuit, had performances in both countries. After the war his Canti di prigionia (Songs of Imprisonment), with texts based on Mary Queen of Scots, Boethius and Savonarola, was heard at an ISCM festival in London, marking the post-war re-admission of Italy, and in 1950 his opera Il prigionero (The Prisoner) was staged in Florence, to be heard also in Germany, as Italy regained something of her earlier position in contemporary music. In the 1950s Dallapiccola established closer ties with the United States, where he undertook teaching assignments, with performances of his works throughout the Americas. He was among the first Italian composers to absorb the principles of Schoenberg and to make continuing use of the latters serial techniques. Dallapiccola died in Florence in 1975.
Dallapiccolas Variazioni for orchestra of 1954 is an orchestral version of the Quaderno musicale di Annalibera for piano of 1952, a work reflecting a refinement of the composers applications of serialism.