Pasquale Anfossi

(Taggia 1727, Rome 1797)

Anfossi was from Taggia, Liguria, and, after travelling throughout Europe, died in Rome. But in Naples he had studied during the early years (he, too, was a pupil of Francesco Durante).

That was enough to consider him forever a son and interpret of that school. Numerous are Mozart‘s borrowings from Anfossi: from the dramatic scene “Ah non sai qual pena sia…”(Oh you don’t know how painful it is…) taken from the ‘Zemira’, to the addition of three melodies for the Vienna performances of ‘Il Curioso Indiscreto’ (The Prying Curious) and the Counterdance K 607n of Februaru 1791, taken from ‘Il Trionfo delle Donne’ (The Triumph of Women) performed with great success in Vienna in 1786. Not surprisingly at the end of the ‘Andante’ of his Symphony “Venezia” (1775) there is short but strong refrain, repente twice. Listening to it we can find an immediate rhythmical assonace with the ‘incipit’ of the ‘Confutatis Maledcitis’, the last section of the Requiem that, in the part for bassand vocals, Mozart completed before he died. Quotation, subconscious memory: could we call it plagiarism if we forgot the common custom in the 18t century to lend and borrow material, widespread and allowed by the music community which still hadn’t invented royalties and the neurosis of originality at all costs (even when it is too expensive in relation to the product) and couldn’t count on the absence of any sound reproduction device? The vastness of Mozart‘s tragic inventions on that motive, while confirming the autonomous greatness of his genius, renders justice to the nobility of Anfossi’s measures which lead the lyric-pathetic trend of the movement toward a tragic end, conform to a sensibility that has by now asserted its expressive reasons.

(from the booklet by Sandro Cappelletto)

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