Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Googling Gazzaniga

Time for another tune theft installment. Most of the ones I've posted before (and most of the ones I find most interesting) are cases where some remnant of a classical tune shows up in a more popular genre, but I've just stumbled on a more likely case of real theft by none other than Wolfgang Amadeus. I was recently handed music for an upcoming recital with a tenor in which an obscure concert aria by J. C. Bach figures on the program. Here's the way the orchestral intro to the opening recitative begins [click music to listen - and apologies for the canned computer rendition]:

It doesn't take much of a musical detective to see (and hear) the Countess's famous aria, "Porgi, amor" from The Marriage of Figaro in the melody - it's even in the same key:
Now it would take more of a musicological detective than I feel like being to unearth the history of this J.C. Bach piece. As far as I can tell, it's a resetting of a recit/aria by the great Giuseppe Gazzaniga, of whom I know nothing - here one can hear a sampling of Gazzaniga's "Mi scordo a torti miei...Dolci aurette" sung by a self-billed modern Farinelli (!), but that sample doesn't include the recit intro above which is the only place where Mozart's famous tune shows up. (When I was growing up dreaming of being a great baseball player, it never would have occurred to me I'd type that last sentence.) Anyway, it's well-established that JCB was a big influence on WAM, so it's not at all unlikely that this admittedly simple melodic idea could have passed from one to the next.

I'm sure anyone who's run across this Gazzaniga/J.C. Bach concoction will have noticed this connection, but my extensive web-based research didn't come up with anything, so let me be the first to make this Gazzaniga grift Googleable. If nothing else, I'm almost certainly the first to type that last sentence.

TOMORROW (or soon): More Recent Tune Theft Discoveries!

1 comment:

Andrys said...

The aria jumped out at me when I saw it, but is it for real ? Someone didn't just play a joke appending that intro?