1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sgambati, Giovanni

22314581911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24 — Sgambati, Giovanni

SGAMBATI, GIOVANNI (1843–), Italian composer, was born in Rome on the 28th of May 1843, of an Italian father and an English mother. His early education took place at Trevi, in Umbria, and there he wrote some church music, and obtained experience as a singer and conductor. In 1860 he settled in Rome, and definitely took up the work of winning acceptance for the best German music, which was at that time neglected in Italy. The influence and support of Liszt, who was in Rome from 1861, was naturally of the greatest advantage to him, and concerts were given in which Sgambati conducted as well as played the piano. His composition, of this period (1864-1865) included a quartet, two piano quintets, an octet, and an overture. He conducted Liszt’s Dante symphony in 1866, and made the acquaintance of Wagner’s music for the first time at Munich, whither he travelled in Liszt’s company. His first album of songs appeared in 1870, and his first symphony was played at the Quirinal in 1881; this, as well as a piano concerto, was performed in the course of his first visit to England in 1882; and at his second visit, in 1891, his Sinfonia epitalamio was given at the Philharmonic. His most extensive work, a Requiem Mass, was performed in Rome 1901. His many pianoforte works have won permanent success; but his influence on Italian musical taste has been perhaps greater than the merits of his compositions, which, though often poetical and generally effective, are often slight in style.