The Forms in Giovanni Simone Mayr’s Opera Arias: At the Turn of Classical And Romantic

Nina V. Pilipenko


The evolution of musical composition in the Italian opera aria during the 17th–19th centuries saw a number of periods when some structural principles of the musical form were gradually replaced by others. One of them occurred at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. It was at this time that the system of romantic opera forms emerged. The process of the aria transformation was especially clearly reflected in the work of Johann Simon Mayr (1763–1845), one of the most remarkable opera composers of the transitional era. The article considers some compositional solutions characteristic for the then arias. The evidence is taken from several solo pieces from Ginevra di Scozia (1801). They were compared with previous and subsequent musical and theatrical practice. On the one hand, these forms are based on structures typical for the grand aria of the late 18th century (two-tempo forms and rondó) that were widely used in the Viennese tradition, in particular, by Mozart. On the other hand, Mayr’s operas feature arias indicative of the development of la solita forma—the aria form, which was later used by many composers of the Romantic era, from Rossini to Verdi. The analysis of these arias concludes that Mayr’s works demonstrate a complex process of the development of a romantic operatic form and serve as a kind of a link between the two eras.

Keywords: Giovanni Simone Mayr, Ginevra di Scozia, rondò, la solita forma

For citation: Pilipenko N. V. The Forms in Giovanni Simone Mayr’s Opera Arias: At the Turn of Classical and Romantic Eras [Electronic source]. In: Sovremennye problemy muzykoznaniya / Contemporary Musicology, 2022, no. 4, pp. 42–63. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.56620/2587-9731-2022-4-042-063


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