Sunday, 20 July 2014

One-hit wonder

When one thinks of composers of classical music one usually thinks of the likes of Beethoven or Mozart, composers with numerous works to their names, many of which are played regularly today.  But there are a number of composers who are known principally for one piece, one-hit wonders.  Perhaps I am rather overstating it when I describe Pietro Mascagni as a one-hit wonder.  He was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1863 and died in Rome in 1945.  During his lifetime he composed no fewer than 15 operas as well as a selection of other works.  However, it is for his first opera that he is best known - and, indeed, for one piece from that opera.  Cavalleria Rusticana is that opera - it was an immediate hit when it was first performed in 1890 - and the Intermezzo is the tune from it.  The music was used as the main theme in the 1980 film, Raging Bull.  I have never seen the film but I find it quite hard to see the gentle, haunting strains of the Intermezzo with the violence of the film.

Personally, I think that if I had managed to compose a piece of music as near to perfection as this, I would never have written another note.  And so, without further ado, here it is, played by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan.

No comments: