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Bruno Maderna
1920 - 1973
Picture Picture
B. Maderna
Bruno Maderna -born as Bruno Grossato- (21/04/1920 - 13/11/1973), an Italian-born (from Venice) German conductor, composer, and teacher. He commenced musical studies at 4, and soon took violin lessons. He began touring as violinist and conductor when he was only 7, appearing under the name Brunetto in Italy and abroad, He studied at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan, with Bustini at the Rome Conservatory (diploma in composition, 1940), and with Malpiero at the Venice Conservatory. He also took conducting course with Guarnieri at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna in 1941. He then served in the Italian Army during World War II, eventually joining the partisan forces against the Fascists. After the war he studied conducting with Hermann Scherchen in Darmstadt.
Bruno Maderna taught composition at the Venice Conservatory from 1947 to 1950. In 1950 he made his formal conducting debut in Munich. He subsequently became a great champion of the avant-garde. With Luciano Berio, he helped to form the Studio di Fonologia in Milan in 1954. Also with Berio, he was conductor of the RAI’s Incontri Musicali from 1956 to 1960. He taught conducting and composition in various venues, including Darmstadt (from 1954), the Salzburg Mozarteum (1967-1970), the Rotterdam Conservatory (from 1967), and the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (1971-1972). He was chief conductor of the RAI in Milan from 1971. In 1963 he became naturalised German citizen. Stricken with cancer, he continued to conduct concerts as long as it was physically possible.
Bruno Maderna was held in great esteem by composers of the international avant-garde, several of whom wrote special works for him.
Composed in:1946
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Label(s):Capriccio C 5231
Requiem for Soli, Choir and Orchestra (1946) contains:
Part 1
01: Requiem
02: Kyrie eleison
03: Dies irae
Part 2
04: Domine Jesu
05: Sanctus
06: Benedictus
07: Agnus Dei
08: Lux aeterna
09: Libera me

♫ 04: Domine Jesu
© Capriccio C 5231
Source:booklet of cd Capriccio C5231
Bruno Maderna composed in 1946 a Requiem, scored for 4 soloists, double choir, and an huge orchestra including strings, brass, percussions and 3 pianos. This work was long considered lost until its rediscovery on September 2006 in the library of the Purchase College (NY University) by Italian musicologist Veniero Rizzardi.
Author:Gianluca Cangemi
“I have resumed work on the Requiem, interrupted for many months for obvious reasons, and I hope to bring it to a satisfactory end. This work will be a real landmark for me,” Bruno Maderna wrote in a letter to his teacher and mentor Gian Francesco Malipiero on 31 August 1945 (p. vi). Maderna had been called to the Italian army of Benito Mussolini during World War II, but during the last months of the war he entered the Italian Resistance. For a short time in February 1945, the German SS detained him under arrest.
Presumably composed between 1944 and 1946, the Requiem for soloists, choirs, and orchestra by Maderna, one of Italy’s most eminent composers and conductors of the post-World War II avant-garde, has come to light only after sixty years. For a long time it was believed lost. The discovery of the autograph score in a United States library occurred thanks to the perseverance and expertise of Veniero Rizzardi, who was supported by the Istituto per la Musica of the G. Cini Foundation in Venice. Following the publication of a facsimile (Esumazione di un Requiem: Edizione anastatica della partitura e note informative sul ritrovamento del giovanile Requiem di Bruno Maderna, ed. Veniero Rizzardi, Studi di musica veneta, Archivio G. F. Malipiero, 3 [Florence: Leo Olschki, 2007]) and first performed on 19 November 2009 at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice (Andrea Molino conducting the Orchestra and Choir of the Teatro La Fenice and soloists Carmela Remigio, Veronica Simeoni, Simone Alberghini, and Mario Zeffiri), the score of Maderna’s Requiem is now available in a critical re-edition of Maderna’s works compiled by Mario Baroni and Rossana Dalmonte, a collection of Maderna’s early and some of his mature compositions “in a form best suited to study and performance” (p. iii; with the prefix “re,” Baroni and Dalmonte intend to distance themselves from the idea of a “Complete Works”). An additional goal of the collection is to promote research into Maderna sources, in the hope of discovering further materials concealed in archives or in private possession. A starting point for work in this direction was the volume Bruno Maderna: Documenti (ed. Mario Baroni, Rossana Dalmonte, and Francesca Magnani [Milan: Suvini Zerboni, 1985]).
In the introduction to the critical re-edition, Rizzardi describes the context of the Requiem’s genesis and destiny. While he was completing his Requiem (the date appearing in the autograph score is September 1946), Maderna had the opportunity to conduct for the first time at the Biennale di Venezia in a concert dedicated to the “giovane scuola italiana” (Young Italian School), presented by Malipiero, a member of the “generazione dell’Ottanta” (generation of the Eighties). The concert included his piece Serenata, which is now lost. Around the same time, Maderna met the American composer and critic Virgil Thomson, to whom he was introduced in July 1946 by Malipiero. Having scrutinized the Requiem still to be finished, Thomson praised it enthusiastically in an article he wrote for the European edition of the New York Herald Tribune, “Venice and Its Musical Life” (Paris, 10 August 1946), and called for a performance in the United States. A letter from Maderna to Thomson dated 3 March 1947 (published in Esumazione di un Requiem, p. xvii) reveals that Maderna sent him a cyanotype copy of the manuscript, which became the motivation for Rizzardi’s search for the lost work. Maderna asked for no backup copy, according to Rizzardi, once the composer learned that attempts to perform the work in the United States were in vain. Maderna’s decision may have been also connected with his increasing interest in twelve-tone techniques and new compositional idioms. Nonetheless, the few people who were fortunate enough to see the work were impressed by its monumental style. Luigi Nono, as Maderna’s pupil, saw the score at the time of its composition, and remembered how agile fugal writing runs throughout in large parts (Luigi Nono, “Un’autobiografia dell’autore raccontata da Enzo Restagno,” in his Scritti e colloqui, eds Angela Ida De Benedictis and Veniero Rizzardi, 2 vols., La sfere, 35 [Milan: Ricordi; Lucca: LIM, 2001], 2:478).