ABOUT THIS BOOK
This brilliant cantata was first performed on January 1, 1847 as part of a day of grand festivities honoring the recently elected Pius IX, who was widely welcomed in Europe as a reforming pope. Not heard again until it was revived in 1992 to great acclaim, the Cantata calls for large performing forces including four solo singers (STTB), mixed chorus with solo voices, full orchestra with serpentone, and stage band.
Rossini, in poor health at the time, had only reluctantly accepted the commission to compose the Cantata. To facilitate the task he based five of the movements on pieces from his Neapolitan operas Armida (1817) and Ricciardo e Zoraide (1818), and the Parisian opera Le Siège de Corinthe (1826). These he modified and joined together with newly-composed recitatives, the whole set to a new libretto by Count Giovanni Marchetti. A spectacular work in its own right, the Cantata in onore del Sommo Pontefice Pio IX also provides an illuminating example of Rossini's recompositional practices in adapting previous compositions to new contexts.