Rossini, Gioachino Antonio

He caused the works of those who had gone before him to be shelved, while his own and those of his immediate followers continued to be played to the exclusion of all others, till the period of Verdi. Even Verdi was to some extent indebted to the school of Rossini. There is no depth or sincerity in the music of Rossini. It is sensuous, and emotional, melodious, of unrestrained sweetness, animation and pathos, and is theatrical in the extreme. He cared little or nothing for the lasting value of anything that he wrote. His music was an expression of his life and habits, and lacks the higher expressions of truth and reverence which characterize the melodies of Handel, Mozart or Beethoven. His standards were those of the Italian operatic composer, formed among Italian musical traditions and art practise, and he wrote frankly to please his public. In William Tell, however, he showed that he could do something worthy when he chose. Considered in any light it must be conceded that he inaugurated the reforms that led to the school adopted by Verdi, Boito, Mascagni, Leoncavallo and others of the modern composers. Rossini was of an amiable disposition, generous to a fault, extremely witty and humorous, with a touch of cynicism; was easy-going, happy-golucky, liked to pass his days with his' friends and loved ones around him, eating, drinking and enjoying the best that life had to offer. He has been called the most wayward, laughterloving, indolent of men, and one of his friends once described him as a mixture of Punchinello and Jupiter Olympus. In appearance he was portly with a rather heavy face, that revealed the luxuriousness and indolence of his nature, with a kindly mouth and quizzical eyes, sometimes kindly in expression, at others cynical His manners were simple and yet polished and urbane, and he was at home in any society. Rossini had a good voice and used to delight his friends with his singing and also played the piano and cello in a manner far above the average, being considered a master of the latter instrument. With all his faults and taking into consideration all his limitations, Rossini is without doubt one of the brightest geniuses in all musical history.