Raimondi, Pietro



Italian composer and contrapuntist; born at Rome. His parents were poor, and the expenses of his musical education were paid by a relative. He spent six years as a pupil of La Barbara and Tritto at the Conservatory called "della Pieta di Turchini," Naples, while quite young, then led a wandering life for  some years, living at various times in Rome, Florence and Genoa; in the latter place he brought out a comic opera, La Bizzarria d'amore. Here he remained for two more years, producing as many operas, then began his travels once more, and up to 1824 spent a year at a time in Florence, Naples, Milan and Rome, until proffered the directorship of the Court Theatre at Naples. In 1832 his first marked success, II ventaglio, a comic opera produced the previous year, which became popular, and was performed all over Italy, was instrumental in obtaining for him a professorship in composition in the Palermo Conservatory, where he remained for eighteen years. Two years after his retirement from this post, he succeeded Basili as chapelmaster of St. Peter's, Rome, in which city occurred in August, 1852, the performance of three separate oratorios of his own composition, viz., Potiphar, Pharaoh and Jacob. This musical feat aroused overwhelming applause, which, it is said, so overcame the composer that he fainted, and is thought to have led to the causes which produced his death the next year. Raimondi was a most prolific composer, having brought out in all about sixty operas, and over twenty ballets, most of which were successful at the time; also, besides the oratorios mentioned, five others; four masses with orchestra, two masses for double choir without accompaniment; two four-part requiems with orchestra; one requiem in eight, and one in sixteen parts; a sixteen-part credo; much other sacred music, including the entire book of Psalms set in the style of Palestrina and two Sinfonie religiose. These prodigious contrapuntal intricacies were, however, but the culminating works among a number of similar efforts, as Raimondi had also written a set of four vocal four-part fugues and another of six for four voices. Raimondi published several treatises explaining the methods he used in making these combinations; but, notwithstanding the skill, energy and patience requisite to such productions, his works have proved of little value to posterity.