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About Luigi Cherubini

Luigi Cherubini led a productive, successful and stimulating life. This Italian composer was a contemporary of Mozart, was alive during the completion of early operas by Wagner, and witnessed the travels of C. Franck through the halls of the Paris Conservatoire. Cherubini composed multiple masses, dixits, litanies, hymns, cantatas, a plethora of arias and other song-types, sonatas, quartets and quintets, et cetera. Cherubini also contributed to the theoretical aspects of music including the important work "Cours de contrepoint et du fugee" (A study in counterpoint and the fugue). This was a systematic didactic work illustrating, thoroughly, the methods for fugal compositions. He influenced and was admired (contextually) by Weber, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms and Wagner. Cherubini transformed the operatic stage. From early comic operas few innovations can be discerned; but, his later and more dramatic works demonstrate sonorous orchestration combined with more ensemble work (this was to be followed by later French operatic composers). Most of Cherubini's operas were successful and forward looking. The only operas that could be characterized as failures were those suffering from bad librettos. ~ Keith Johnson