(b Polizzi Generosa, nr Cefalù, Sicily; fl 1613–23). Italian composer and organist. A Carmelite friar, he was in the monastery of Termini Imerese near Palermo in 1613, and organist of his monastery at Catania at the time of his first publication in 1617. He may have been related to Giuseppe Ferraro, also a priest at Catania. Antonio Ferraro’s Sacrae cantiones … liber primus (Rome, 1617) consists of 32 concertato motets, for one to four voices, all with continuo. They are modest, short-breathed pieces similar to those of Malerba but markedly superior in expressive melodic invention: witness the attractive dialogue Aperi mihi for soprano and bass to words from the Song of Songs, and the trio O beate Gandolphe, an invocation to the protector of Ferraro’s birthplace in the style of an affective concertato madrigal. Ferraro published a further book of motets, Ghirlanda di sacri fiori: secondo libro degli ecclesiastici conserti (Palermo, 1623), which is lost.
P.Carrera: Memorie historiche della città di Catania, ii (Catania,1641), 368
G.B.Caruso: Notitie di Polizzi, ii (MS, I-PLcom QQ.F.46)
A.Mongitore: Bibliotheca Sicula, i (Palermo, 1708/R), 66
G.Azzopardi: ‘La cappella musicale della cattedrale di Malta e i suoi rapporti con la Sicilia’, Musica sacra in Sicilia tra Rinascimento e Barocco: Cattagirone 1985 47–68, esp. 52, 60
R.Musumeci: ‘Antonio Ferraro’, Nuove effemeridi, no.27 (1994), 66–8
(b Polizzi Generosa, Cefalù, Sicily; fl 1614–52). Italian composer, pupil of Michele Malerba, and possibly related to Antonio Ferraro. He was maestro di cappella of St Paul's Cathedral, Mdina, Malta, from 1638 to 1652. Malerba published a motet by him for two voices and continuo in his Sacrarum cantionum … liber primus (Venice, 1614).
G.Azzopardi: ‘ La cappella musicale della catedrale di Malta e i suoi rapporti con la Sicilia’, Musica sacra in Sicilia tra Rinascimento e Barocco: Caltagirone 1985, 47–67, esp. 52, 56
For further bibliography seeMalerba, Michele.
(b Le Touquet, 17 June 1933; d Paris, 14 Sept 1982). French violinist. He studied at the Nice Conservatoire (with Bistesi) and the Paris Conservatoire (with Calvet), making his début in Paris at the age of 13 and later working with Enescu. In 1948 he won the Scheveningen International Competition and also the Prix Long-Thibaud. He quickly established an international reputation and throughout the 1950s and 60s made numerous tours of Europe and the USA, being particularly well received in eastern Europe. Although his reputation was originally based on outstanding interpretations of the classical violin concertos, especially those of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, he was also a fine ambassador for French music, and in 1964 made a commanding recording of Berg's Concerto. That work was especially suited to his playing, which combined tonal beauty with intensity of feeling and power. He also recorded sonatas in a duo with Pierre Barbizet. He owned two Stradivari violins, the ‘Président’ dated 1721 and the ‘Minaloto’ of 1728.
S.Struth: ‘Gespräch mit Christian Ferras’, Das Musikleben, vii (1954), 16 only
‘Tête à tête avec Christian Ferras’, Musica-disques, no.132 (1965), 18
J.Creighton: Discopaedia of the Violin, 1889–1971 (Toronto, 1974, 2/1994)
(b Gradoli, nr Rome, 1 Jan 1865; dNew Orleans, 28 March 1928). American pianist and composer of Italian birth. At the age of 14 he enrolled at the Accademia di S Cecilia in Rome, where he studied piano with Sgambati and Liszt. He achieved some renown as both a pianist and a composer in Italy before emigrating to the USA in 1892. After holding a series of teaching posts in Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania, he became in 1909 the first professor of piano and composition at Sophie Newcomb College, New Orleans, where he remained until his death. Ferrata established a notable reputation in the USA by winning composition prizes in the Music Teachers' National Association Competition (1897), the Sonzogno Opera Competition of Milan (1903), and the Art Society of Pittsburgh Competition (1908). His success prompted periodic visits to Italy to promote his compositions, especially the operas Akrimane and Il fuoriuscito. Although he failed to secure either performances or publication of the operas, he was knighted by Vittorio Emanuele III in 1908 and in 1914.
Ferrata's advocates in the USA included Victor Herbert, who orchestrated two movements of his Italian Spring Melodies and conducted their première in 1905. Stokowski included performances of the orchestrations on his 1936 North American tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The song Night and the Curtains Drawn and the Messe solenelle were also popular and received numerous performances throughout the USA. Both works demonstrate a keen lyricism and a pervading chromaticism that were essential to his compositional style. He incorporated bitonal elements and some jazz idioms in his compositions after 1917, but few of these were published. Most of his publications were released by J. Fischer & Bro. of New York between 1901 and 1920.
Akrimane (4, L. Croci), 1894–1909, unperf.; Il fuoriuscito (1, Croci), 1903, unperf.; Nella Steppe (2, Croci, after A.S. Pushkin), 1903, rev. 1905, unperf.
Folk songs from the Spanish (H. Huntingdon), op.8, 4 solo vv, pf (1902); Messe solenelle, op.15, 4 vv, orch/org (1905); Night and the Curtains Drawn (Huntington), op.22, S, pf (1907); 8 Songs, op.35 (1917)