Leva, Enrico de


Born in Naples, where he studied piano under Pannain and Rossomandi, also lessons in harmony, counterpoint and composition from Puzone and D'Arienzo, professors at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He began at fifteen to compose piano-pieces and songs, and early showed his natural talent and individuality. His compositions attracted the attention of the firm of Ricordi, who engaged him to compose five songs each year for them. In 1890, Queen Margherita having admired his work, commissioned him to write a vocal piece for an open-air festival at the Royal Palace of Capodimonte. He composed a serenata, called A Capomote, and directed its performance. His  reputation was established and thereafter his songs were sung by the best talent of the day. He is well-known as a successful teacher of singing in its higher branches, and he advocates improved methods in teaching vocal music in the schools of his country. A few of his most successful songs are E spingole frangese, Triste aprile, Ammore piccerillo, and Lacrime amare. He has written many songs for popular local festivals, into which he has adroitly infused the spirit of the old Neapolitan folk-song. An important work is the setting to music of some verses from D'Annunzio's Gioconda, and he has composed piano and violin-music and orchestral suites. La Camargo, an opera in four acts, was produced in Turin in 1898, and also in Naples.