Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/79

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RAIMONDI, PIETRO, an Italian composer, Maestro di Capella at St. Peter's, who is characterised by Fétis as possessing an extraordinary genius for musical combination. He was born at Rome of poor parents, Dec. 20, 1786. At an early age he passed six years in the Conservatorio of the Pieta de' Turchini at Naples, and after many wanderings, mostly on foot—from Naples to Rome, from Rome to Florence, from Florence to Genoa—and many years, he at length found an opportunity of coming before the public with an opera entitled 'Le Bizarrie d'Amore,' which was performed at Genoa in 1807. After three years there, each producing its opera, he passed a twelvemonth at Florence, and brought out two more. The next 25 years were spent between Rome, Milan, Naples, and Sicily, and each year had its full complement of operas and ballets. In 1824 he became director of the royal theatres at Naples, a position which he retained till 1832. In that year the brilliant success of his opera buffa 'Il Ventaglio' (Naples 1831) procured him the post of Professor of Composition in the Conservatorio at Palermo. Here he was much esteemed, and trained several promising pupils. In March 1850 he was called upon to succeed Basili as Maestro di Capella at St. Peter's; a post for which, if knowledge, experience, and ceaseless labour of production in all departments of his art could qualify him, he was amply fitted. Shortly before this, in 1848, he had after four years of toil completed three oratorios, 'Potiphar,' 'Pharaoh,' and 'Jacob,' which were not only designed to be performed in the usual manner, but to be played all three in combination as one work, under the name of 'Joseph.' On Aug. 7, 1852, the new Maestro brought out this stupendous work at the Teatro Argentini. The success of the three single oratorios was moderate, but when they were united—the three orchestras and the three troupes forming an ensemble of nearly 400 musicians, the excitement and applause of the spectators knew no bounds, and so great was his emotion that Raimondi fainted away. He did not long survive this triumph, but died at Rome Oct. 30, 1853.

The list of his works is astonishing, and all the more so when we recollect that Raimondi's existence was all but unknown on this side of the Alps. It embraces 55 operas; 21 grand ballets, composed for San Carlo between 1812 and 1828; 7 oratorios; 4 masses with full orchestra; 2 ditto with 2 choirs à capella; 2 requiems with full orchestra; 1 ditto for 8 and 16 voices; a Credo for 16 voices; the whole Book of Psalms, à la Palestrina, for 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 voices; many Te Deums, Stabats, Misereres, Tantum ergos, psalms and litanies; two books of 90 partimenti, each on a separate bass, with three different accompaniments; a collection of figured basses with fugued accompaniments as a school of accompaniment; 4 fugues for 4 voices, each independent but capable of being united and sung together; 6 fugues for 4 voices capable of combination into 1 fugue for 24 voices; a fugue for 16 choirs; 16 fugues for 4 voices; 24 fugues for 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 voices, of which 4 and 5 separate fugues will combine into one. Besides the above feat with the 3 oratorios he composed an opera seria and an opera buffa which went equally well separately and in combination. Such stupendous labours are, as M. Fétis well remarks, enough to give the reader the headache: what must they have done to the persevering artist who accomplished them? But they also give one the heartache at the thought of their utter futility. Raimondi's compositions, with all their ingenuity, belong to a past age, and we may safely say that they will never be revived. His operas especially belong to the præ-Rossinian epoch, and it would have been good for them if they had never been made.

[ G. ]

RAINFORTH, Elizabeth, born Nov. 23, 1814, studied singing under George Perry and T. Cooke, and acting under Mrs. Davison, the eminent comedian. After having fledged her wings at minor concerts, she appeared upon the stage at the St. James's Theatre, Oct. 27, 1836, as Mandane, in Arne's 'Artaxerxes,' with complete success. She performed there for the remainder of the season, and then removed to the English Opera House. Subsequently to her public appearance she took lessons from Crivelli. In 1837 she sang in oratorio at the Sacred Harmonic Society, and continued to do so for several years. She made the first of many appearances at the Philharmonic, March 18, 1839. In 1840 she was introduced at the Concert of Ancient Music, and in 1843 sang at the Birmingham Festival. After performing at Covent Garden from 1838 to 1843 she transferred her services to Drury Lane, where she made a great hit by her performance of Arline, in Balfe's 'Bohemian Girl,' on its production, Nov. 27, 1843. In 1844 she had a most successful season in Dublin. She was engaged as prima donna at the Worcester Festival of 1845. She continued to perform in the metropolis until about 1852, when she removed to Edinburgh, where she remained until about 1856. She then quitted public life, and in 1858 went to reside at Old Windsor, under the wing of her friend Miss Thackeray, and taught music in Windsor and its neighbourhood until her complete retirement in March 1871, when she removed to her father's at Bristol. Her voice was a high soprano, even and sweet in quality, but deficient in power, and she possessed great judgment and much dramatic feeling. Although her limited power prevented her from becoming a great singer, her attainments were such as enabled her to fill the first place with credit to herself, and satisfaction to her auditors. She died at Redland, Bristol, Sept. 22, 1877.

[ W. H. H. ]

RALLENTANDO, RITARDANDO, RITENENTE, RITENUTO—'Becoming slow again,' 'Slackening,' 'Holding back,' 'Held back.' The first two of these words are used quite indifferently to express a gradual diminution of the rate of speed in a composition, and although the last is commonly used in exactly the same way, it seems originally and in a strict sense to have