This newest volume in The Works of Giuseppe Verdi series comprises his only two surviving secular choral works: Inno popolare, or Hymn of the People, for unaccompanied male chorus, and Inno delle nazioni, or Hymn of the Nations, for tenor solo, chorus, and orchestra.
Verdi wrote the brief Inno popolare in 1848 at the behest of the Italian philosopher and patriot Giuseppe Mazzini, intending that it become an anthem for Italy at a time when the country had just driven away its Austrian overlords. He wrote no more independent patriotic pieces until he was asked in 1861 to represent his country with a patriotic composition at a musical jubilee during London’s International Exhibition of 1862. The resulting piece was Inno delle nazioni, the critical edition of which is based on Verdi’s autograph score, preserved at the British Library. Other important sources include the composer's musical sketches, recently discovered in the Verdi family villa, and the performing parts Toscanini used for a BBC broadcast in 1943.