One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Complete Songs for Soprano and Piano
Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano)
Maria Prinz (piano)
rec. Studio 2, Bayerischen Rundfunk, Munich, Germany, 4-7 January 2016
Italian texts and an English translation available online
NAXOS 8.573501 [46:39]

Like Verdi, and several other opera composers, Puccini occasionally wrote songs but his true metier was of course opera. However, one shouldn’t neglect his songs and, as we will see, there are several references to his operatic writing. The texts are of variable provenance: there are four opera librettists, some minor poets, three texts by Puccini himself and the two duets (tr 14 and 19) are settings of the Evangelist Luke and 6th century Latin poet Venantius Fortunatus. There are simple little songs like La Primavera and Ave Maria Leopolda but also big dramatic ones like Mentia l’avviso and grandiloquent patriotic ones Inno a Roma with fanfare like piano accompaniment.

Canto d’anime to a text by Luigi Illica was composed in 1904 and the melody became a model for Rinuccio’s aria in Gianni Schicchi. In the next song, Sole e amore, composed in 1888 we find a blueprint for Mimi’s farewell in act 3 of La bohème. E l’uccellino is a lullaby written in 1899 while La Primavera, to his own text, was written probably while he was a student at the Milan Conservatory in 1880. Ave Maria Leopolda is a setting of a letter to the conductor Leopoldo Mugnone with greetings to his wife from Puccini’s wife. It is from 1896.

Antonio Ghislanzoni wrote the libretto for Verdi’s Aida. The setting of Ad una morta! is from 1882. Morire? Was written as a contribution to a music album sold for the benefit of the Italian Red Cross towards the end of the Great War in 1917. The melody was reused for Ruggero’s entrance aria in La Rondine. Salve Regina is another setting of Ghislanzoni, composed in 1882 and here the accompaniment is played on the organ. A te is an anonymous text and it was composed in 1875, when Puccini was just 17. Casa mia is a setting of a popular nursery rhyme from 1908, while Sogno d’or is a poem by the son of Puccini’s sister. Puccini set it for the Christmas edition of a magazine in November 1912 and the melody got a second life in La Rondine. Terra e mare from 1902 is a dramatic song which sounds typically operatic and is fervently sung by Krassimira Stoyanova, who sings the big Italian opera heroines at the leading houses of the world. She is also cut out for the rather overblown Inno a Roma, which is the latest of the songs here, composed in 1919, when the Fascism was gaining power in Italy. Beata Viscera (1875) was probably written for Puccini’s sister Iginia, who later became abbess of a convent near Lucca. The text is from Luke 11:27 and the beautiful duet – where Ms Stoyanova sings both parts – is discretely accompanied by an organ. Avanti, “Urania”! was composed in 1896 for the launch of a ship named “Urania”, owned by a friend of Puccini’s. The melody has a vague air of Tosti but there are also elements that point forward to Tosca and Madama Butterfly, which were due within a few years. The little love story Storiella d’amore, text by Ghislanzoni, was composed in 1883 and six years later he was to reuse parts of it in a trio in Edgar. It is truly beautiful. Inno a Diana (1897) was written for Puccini’s hunting companions – Diana of course being the goddess of the hunt. Mentia l’avviso was composed in 1883 to a text by Felice Romani and is operatically dramatic. The melody was later used for Des Grieux’s Donna non vidi mai in Manon Lescaut. The final song, Vexilla Regis prodeunt, a setting of a 6th-century hymn, was commissioned in 1878 by a little church in a mountain resort near Lucca. Accompanied again by organ this duet is beautiful and noble.

This collection of songs is valuable in many ways, not least to find out how many melodic motives later were recycled and developed in Puccini’s operas. Krassimira Stoyanova has a grand voice, vibrant, beautiful and expressive and she easily scales it down to the dimensions suitable for the simpler songs but used with impressive power and intensity for the more operatic items. Maria Prinz is a pliable accompanist and the sung texts are available at the Naxos website.

A valuable collection of rarely heard songs excellently sung by Krassimira Stoyanova.

Göran Forsling

Canto d’anime (Luigi Illica) [1:42]
Sole e amore (Giacomo Puccini?) [2:03]
E lúccellino (Renato Fucini) [1:28]
La Primavera (Giacomo Puccini) [1:11]
Ave Maria Leopolda (Giacomo Puccini) [1:00]
Ad una morta! (Antonio Ghislanzoni) [3:40]
Morire? (Giuseppe Adami) [3:15]
Salve regina (Antonio Ghislanzoni) [2:42]
A te (anon.) [3:59]
Casa mia (Italian popular nursery rhyme) [0:32]
Sogno d’or (Carlo Marsili) [1:11]
Terra e mare (Enrico Panazacchi) [1:25]
Inno a Roma (Fausto Salvatori) [2:20]
Beata Viscera (after Luke 11:27)* [1:15]
Avanti, Urania! (Renato Fucini) [1:27]
Storiella d’amore (Antonio Ghislanzoni) [5:10]
Inno a Diana (Carlo Abeniacar) [2:01]
Mentìa l’avviso (Felice Romani) [5:35]
Vexilla Regis prodeunt (Venantius Fortunatus)* [4:44]

*The mezzo-soprano part is sung by Krassimira Stoyanova



We are currently offering in excess of 50,400 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger