Denza, Luigi

1846-

Popular composer of songs, who was born at Castellamare di Stabia, Italy. He entered the Naples Conservatory when only sixteen years of age and studied under Serrao, Mercadente and Carlo Costa, a brother of Sir Michael Costa, the eminent conductor. Denza won a scholarship in 1862 and shortly afterward was appointed a sub-professor in the institution. His songs soon began to attract attention. In 1876 he wrote an opera, Wallenstein, which was brought out in Naples and which was successful; but it was with his songs that he won his greatest successes. He has written over six hundred, many with a world-wide reputation. The most popular is Funiculi Funicula, which he composed in 1880, and which has had a most remarkable vogue. Half a million copies of this song, in various languages, are scattered over the world. When Richard Strauss, the eminent composer was preparing his orchestra suite, Aus Italien, he inserted Denza's Funiculi Funicula, believing it to be an Italian folk-song, and was much surprised when he learned it was the composition of a modern composer. Denza, although an Italian by birth and training, is fond of English life and English people and has resided in London for many years, settling there in 1883. In 1898 he was appointed a professor of singing at the Royal Academy of Music, a position which he still holds. He has traveled through Italy, Russia, France and England, giving recitals of his most popular song successes. He is a Chevalier de 1'Ordre de la Couronne, Italy, and has received many other honors. Denza has written songs to English, French and Italian texts, and many of the bestliked of these compositions are in the Neopolitan dialect. Among them may be mentioned II Telefono; Guardaine sulo, Fuggimi and Giulia.

Among his English songs are A May Morning; 'Tis June; Sea Days; Your Voice; Call Me Back, and many others. He has also written many part-songs and choruses for women. His Amorita; Merrily Row; and a cantata, The Garden of Flowers, being the best known. To the latter, the composer added a string accompaniment. Signer Denza's latest compositions are Sleepy Eyes; a Sleighing Duet; and Vieni, especially composed for the famous tenor, Signer Caruso.