Tag: Peter von Winter

Newly Digitized Manuscript: Peter von Winter, Fratelli Rivali, Act I

Peter von Winter (1754-1825), violinist, conductor, and composer, began writing music for the stage in the early 1780s; his initial foray into opera came at Munich’s Nationaltheater in 1782. Even after his appointment to positions in the electoral court (as assistant Kapellmeister in 1787, and Kapellmeister in 1798), he continued to supply works for Munich’s stages and maintained a second, peripatetic career in the theatre, taking multiple, years-long leaves in the 1790s and 1800s to compose for opera houses around Europe. The products of these journeys included well-reviewed opere seria for London, tepidly-recieved tragédies lyriques for Paris, a Singspiel sequel to Die Zauberflöte (Das Labyrinth oder Der Kampf mit den Elementen, Vienna, 1798), and works fusing multiple styles, like his greatest success, Das unterbrochene Opferfest (Vienna, 1796).1


Peter von Winter, "Qual diletto in sen m'inonda," Fratelli Rivali, seq. 103-104. Merritt Room Mus 867.3.602 (click to enlarge)

Peter von Winter, “Qual diletto in sen m’inonda,” Fratelli Rivali, seq. 103-104. Merritt Room Mus 867.3.602 (click to enlarge)

  • [Fratelli rivali. Act 1]. I fratelli rivali / musica [di?] sigr Pietro Winter. L’autunno 1793. Merritt Mus 867.3.602

Between 1791 and 1794, Winter’s travels took him to Naples and Venice, where he supplied works for performances at San Carlo and San Benedetto. This working manuscript of the first act of Peter von Winter’s I Fratelli Rivali was likely prepared for the opera’s premiere at Venice’s San Benedetto in November, 1793. The score not only shows evidence of extensive revisions to both text and music, but also contains some of the annotations – such as stage directions – necessary for its production.


Peter von Winter, "Amor in questo secolo," Fratelli Rivali, seq. 58. Merritt Room Mus 867.3.602 (click to enlarge)

Peter von Winter, “Amor in questo secolo,” Fratelli Rivali, seq. 58. Merritt Room Mus 867.3.602 (click to enlarge)

The manuscript is written in multiple hands, including that of Winter and at least one copyist. Although their handwriting is fairly similar, it seems likely that the copyist was responsible for transcribing most of the music and text, including clefs, key signatures, and much of the instrumentation. Some of the arias, including Silvio’s cavatina “Qual diletto in sen mi’nonda,” do appear to be primarily in Winter’s hand. This is unquestionably still a working draft of the score: small corrections to the music are visible throughout, while at the close of Dorinda’s aria “Amor in questo secolo,” Winter’s completion of the instrumental parts spills past the copyist’s vocal line and the printed staves, reaching into the margin and nearly to the edge of the page.


Peter von Winter, Scenes 3 and 4, Fratelli Rivali, seq. 49. Merritt Room Mus 867.3.602 (click to enlarge)

Peter von Winter, Scenes 3 and 4, Fratelli Rivali, seq. 49. Merritt Room Mus 867.3.602 (click to enlarge)

Meanwhile, in contrast to the compressed, delicate, even scratchy notation of the vocal numbers – written in several different inks now varying in color from black or brown to a faded grey – the recitatives are uniformly set down in a much looser hand, written with a broader pen nib and the same shade of ink (and on pages much more frequently splattered with water, paint, or ink wash). Whether this implies that they were all added to this draft at close to the same time is a question for further investigation.

With its clear picture of a work still very much in progress, this manuscript offers an intriguing look at the business of creating opera for the late-18th century stage.

-Kerry Masteller


1. Abert, Anna Amalie and Paul Corneilson. “Winter, Peter,” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, Web. 11 Sep. 2013. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.ezp-pro… (Harvard access).

Tyler, Linda. “Winter, Peter,” The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Ed. Stanley Sadie. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 11 Sep. 2013. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.ezp-pro… (Harvard access).

Newly Digitized: Cherubini and von Winter

In this overview of recently digitized materials, we add vocal scores by Luigi Cherubini and Peter von Winter to the works already in our collection of Digital Scores and Libretti. They belong to the Ruth Neils and John M. Ward Collection of Opera Scores, a set of over 8000 scores begun by the conductor Jean-Marie Martin, expanded by collector and book dealer Bernard Peyrotte, and now held at the Music Library and the Harvard Theatre Collection1.

Luigi Cherubini, 1760-1842

Whether the peril is an avalanche (Eliza), an importunate lover-turned-kidnapper (Faniska), a burning castle (Lodoïska AND Faniska), or the smaller spectacles of simple human jealousy and ambition, Cherubini can be relied upon for operas full of high drama. See our earlier digitization posts for links to other editions of these operas (both full and vocal scores), as well as a number of others.

Luigi Cherubini, Overture, Faniska. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5

Luigi Cherubini, Overture, Faniska. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5

  • [Deux journées. Vocal score. German & French]. Les Deux journées = Der Wasserträger: auch unter den namen, Graf Armand, oder Die beiden gefahrvollen Tage: ein Singspiel in drey Aufzügen / von Cherubini; Klavierauszug. Neue Ausgabe. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, [1818?]. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5
  • [Faniska. Vocal score. German & Italian]. Faniska: (italienisch und deutsch): eine Oper in drei Akten / von Cherubini; im Klavierauszug von Bierey. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, [1806?]. RISM A/I, CC 2028,I,234. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5

Peter von Winter, 1754-1825
One of four operas that Peter von Winter, Munich’s Kapellmeister, wrote for the King’s Theatre during his stay in London from 1803-1805. Unlike the tragédies lyriques Winter composed for Paris, these works, all with libretti by Da Ponte, were considered successes. Grotta di Calipso was revived in Munich in 1807, as Calypso, and received a lengthy review in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung.2


Peter von Winter, Title page, Grotta di Calipso. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5

Peter von Winter, Title page, Grotta di Calipso. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5

  • [Grotta di Calipso. Vocal score. German & Italian]. Calipso: dramma per musica in due atti = Calypso / dal Sigr. P. Winter; im Klavierauszuge vom Musikdir. M.G. Fischer. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, [1809?].
    RISM A/I, W 1296. Merritt Room Mus 637.1.618.5

-Kerry Masteller


1. The collection includes scores in both the Loeb Music Library and the Harvard Theatre Collection. HOLLIS search results for catalogued scores in each library: Ruth Neils and John M. Ward Collection of Opera Scores (Loeb Music Library) and John Milton and Ruth Neils Ward Collection (Harvard Theatre Collection). Many thanks to Andrea Cawelti and Christina Linklater, for their help in constructing the correct search for scores from the Harvard Theatre Collection.

2. [Review], Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung 9 (1 January 1807): 560-563, http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433069052367?urlappend=%3Bseq=299.

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