Javascript Menu by Deluxe-Menu.com

Donizetti

Domenico Donizetti (1797–1848) composed his opera Lucia de Lammermoor in 1836. He originally scored the `mad scene' for armonica, but later rewrote it for flute. William Ashbrook, Donizetti scholar, has this to say:

For the mad scene in Lucia, Donizetti conceived the daring notion of using a glass harmonica, the instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin, to add a novel timbre of eerie sweetness to this scene. It is not clear who suggested this notion to Donizetti, whether he knew the compositions for it by Mozart and Beethoven, or even where he had heard the instrument demonstrated, perhaps in Paris, where he had been not long before he started to compose Lucia. Neither is it clear why he discarded the idea of using the glass harmonica, whether it was impossible to find a proficient performer, or whether the instrument proved itself impracticable for its intended purpose during rehearsal. In any event, the music originally assigned to the glass harmonica (which Donizetti refers to in his autograph as armonico) was later written in for the flute.1

1 Ashbrook (1965), 416–417