Beethoven’s Reception in Italy through the Editions of his Music Printed in Italy in the 19th Century
The years between the 1810s and 1830s mark the true beginning of the history of Beethoven’s reception in Italy: Milan was, along with Florence, one of the most active Italian centers, where Giovanni Ricordi and Giuseppe Lorenzi played an important role in publishing Beethoven’s works. In 1813, La Scala presented Salvatore Vigano’s ballet Prometeo, which included excerpts of Beethoven’s op. 43, some of which Ricordi published in a piano arrangement later that year, making it the first known Italian edition of Beethoven’s music. Many other Beethoven excerpts were included in ballets of Vigano and Gaetano Gioja, such as La vestaie, Didone, Gli ussiti, La vendetta di Venere, and II conte Essex, all performed at the Teatro alia Scala; most of them were then published in piano arrangements by Ricordi during the years 1815-1819, although the composer was not always acknowledged. Several early editions of Beethoven music were published in Italy, including an arrangement of op. 101 for piano and violin published by Ricordi in 1820 as well as other small, easy compositions. During the years 1817-1820, Lorenzi in Florence published almost 20 works by Beethoven, including piano and violin sonatas, and trios. Ricordi published Beethoven’s op. 85, Christ on the Mount of Olives in 1825. This became the first foreign edition of this work; several published librettos confirm that it was widely performed.
Luigi Bellofatto Born in Milan (Italy), studied piano and cello. He graduated in Physics-Electronic Engineering, has been organist making several recordings and performed several recitals. A lifelong devotee of Beethoven, Bellofatto has an extensive personal library on the subject and has given lectures on Beethoven and his music. He has written a book and contributed several articles on Alexander W. Thayer, the biographer of Beethoven, for the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, the American Beethoven Society, the Harvard Magazine, the Association Beethoven France and other journals. He is co-author of the Italian website dedicated to Beethoven: www.lvbeethoven.it for which he wrote many articles.