(b Rome, 16 July 1784; d Rome, 7 March 1852). Italian librettist. He was born into a cultured middle-class Roman family, and his father introduced him to literature and music. In particular, he was led to appreciate the elegance and clarity of Metastasio, and he began writing verse at an early age. He became fluent in Latin, Greek, French and English, and translated many French plays into Italian.
In 1814 he took up an appointment in the tobacco monopoly, which he held until 1845 (scarcely a suitable environment for an asthmatic whose health was never robust). Six years later he married Teresa Terziani, a fine musician and singer, and their house became a meeting-place for visiting poets and musicians. He was an open-hearted and generous man who remained on the most friendly terms with the composers he worked with; Donizetti, in particular, became a firm friend and they corresponded regularly, often in verse of a jocular and witty nature, until 1836.
Ferretti turned his hand to any and every form of literary output – odes for funerals, weddings and other occasions; sonnets; love letters; necrologia; and speeches of welcome (including one for Verdi) – and was in constant demand. He is best remembered for his 70 librettos, over three-quarters of them written for Rome, in collaboration with such composers as Carafa, Coccia, Coppola, Donizetti, Grazioli, P.C. Guglielmi, Mercadante, Pacini, the brothers Ricci, and Zingarelli. His first great success was La Cenerentola for Rossini (1817), but his later collaboration with the same composer (Matilde di Shabran, 1821) was rather less successful. He wrote five texts for Donizetti: L’ajo nell’imbarazzo (1824) and Il furioso nell’isola di S Domingo (1833) brought out the best in him, in witty verse and sympathetic characterization. Some of his most successful librettos came from the mid-1830s, particularly La casa disabitata (Lauro Rossi, 1834), Eran due or sono tre (Luigi Ricci, 1834) and La pazza per amore (Pietro Coppola, 1835).
His best work was in light-hearted genres, and he was a master of quick-moving, sparkling verse; in the writing of shorter, five-syllable lines (quinari) he was unsurpassed. His serious librettos were, on the whole, less successful, and not so tightly organized, but even his least satisfactory betray a sure-footed theatricality. He was held in great respect by other librettists, and received the rare accolade of a warmly complimentary notice from Felice Romani for the text of La pazza per amore. The versatility and spontaneity of his writing mark him out as one of the very few true poets of the Italian romantic opera.
GroveO (J. Black) [with full list of works]
F.Regli: Dizionario biografico (Turin, 1860)
A.Cametti: Jacopo Ferretti (Milan, 1898)
L.Miragoli: Il melodramma italiano nell’Ottocento (Rome, 1924)
Ferretti, Paolo M(aria)
(b Subiaco, Rome province, 3 Dec 1866; d Bologna, 23 May 1938). Italian scholar and teacher of Gregorian chant. He took his vows as a Benedictine monk at Subiaco on 12 March 1884 and was ordained priest on 20 December 1890; from 1900 to 1919 he was abbot of the monastery of S Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. In 1922 he was appointed director of the Scuola Pontificia (from 1931 the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra) in Rome. Up to his death he taught every aspect of the study and practice of Gregorian chant there. He took up a subtle and prudent stance on the controversy over rhythm; in his writings, however, he seemed gradually to incline towards Mocquereau’s views. His chief work is in the first volume of the Estetica gregoriana (1934); he was engaged on a second volume at the time of his death.
Principii teorici e pratici di canto gregoriano (Rome, 1905, 2/1946)
Il cursus metrico e il ritmo delle melodie gregoriane (Rome, 1913)
‘Etude sur la notation aquitaine d’après le Graduel de Saint-Yrieix’, PalMus, xiii (1925), 54–211
ed. P.Ernetti: Estetica gregoriana dei recitativi liturgici (Venice, 1964) [pt.ii of the pre-1930 Scuola Pontificia course]
ed. P.Ernetti: ‘Harmonica e ritmica nella musica antica’, in L. Rossi-Leidi: Jucunda laudatio (Venice, 1969), 99–294
(b Córdoba, Argentina, 21 June 1937). Argentine composer. Her early musical studies included piano lessons with Celia Bronstein in Buenos Aires (1950–56). As a composer she was largely self-taught, although she spent a year in Paris (1962–3), studying harmony and musical analysis with Nadia Boulanger, and then went on to study electronic and electro-acoustic music with Edgardo Cantón at the RAI sound studio in Milan. She was a member of Pierre Schaeffer’s Groupe de Recherches Musicales (1964–70), and participated in the creation of Schaeffer’s ‘Solfège de l’objet sonore’ recordings. She attended courses given by Ligeti and Earle Brown at the 1967 Darmstadt summer school and was a collaborator on Bernard and François Baschets’ structures sonores; she has also undertaken research in both music therapy and ethnomusicology. In 1969–70 she conducted seminars at the Paris Conservatoire in music and audio-visual techniques and in 1975 worked at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, on their digital computer system; she has otherwise lived in France and devoted herself entirely to composition. In her music Ferreyra demonstrates an intuitive handling of sound materials – electronic, concrète or instrumental – and a freedom of approach to form. Her most representative works are Siesta blanca, Petit poucet magazine (awarded at the Concours International de Création Radiophonique ‘Phonurgia Nova’, 1986), Mirage contemplatif and Souffle d’un petit Dieu distrait, all for tape.
Tape: Médisances, 1968; L’Orvietan, 1970; Siesta blanca, 1972; Canto del loco, 1974; Tierra quebrada, tape, vn, 1976; Echos, 1978; Bruissements, tape, ob, 1982; Cercles de rondes, 1982, version with pf as Jeux de rondes, 1984; Passacaille déboîtée pour un lutin, tape, lute/gui, 1984; Petit poucet magazine, 1985; The UFO Forest, 1985; L’Autre … ou le chant des marécages, tape, 1987; Souffle d’un petit Dieu distrait, 1988, rev. 1997; Mirage contemplatif, 1991; Río de los pájaros, 1993
Inst: Arabesques autour d’une corde raide, cl, 1984; Remolinos, fl, cl, pf, vn, va, vc, 1990; Tata, tocame la toccata, pf, 1990
Film scores: Documentary on J.L. Borges, 1969; Antartide (dir. J.J. Flori), 1971; Mutations (dir. Flori), 1972; Homo sapiens (dir. F. Mariani), 1975, version for insts el-ac, elecs, 1998; La Baie St James (dir. M. Lamour), 1980