(Longiano, Forlì, 26.2.1856 - Roma, 25.1.1921)
He studied the clarinet at Liceo Musicale in Bologna with Domenico Liverani (1805-1877), getting his diploma in 1874 with Francesco Biancani (1868-1940), and studied composition with Alessandro Busi (1833-1895). In 1875 he started as 1st clarinet in the orchestra of Concordia Theatre in Jesi (Ancona) ad contextually he was municipal teacher of music in Canino (Viterbo). Afterwards , from 1877 to 1883, he taught at Liceo Musicale “B. Marcello” in Venice. In this role, in July 1878, he was asked to write the relative curriculum which scheduled at least a five years’attendance: “During the first four years the pupils will have to pass the whole Lefevre method divided in four parts, already adopted. During the fifth year they’ll have to practice on different studies of Cavallini and Carulli, plus some pieces of classical music”. During his stay in Venice, he played as 1st clarinet for the Opera at Teatro La Fenice and in 1882 at Teatro Petrarca in Arezzo. Having then moved to Rome, from 1883 since his death, he taught at Liceo Musicale of Santa Cecilia. At the same time, he played as a clarinet soloist with the famous Court quintet of Queen Margherita of Savoia and for several years he was 1st clarinet in the orchestra of Teatro Augusteo in Rome. Abroad, “ maestro Magnani is, we can say, more famous and esteemed than ever, so much fame he was able to gain with his excellence, in the numerous artistic tours in South and North America, in England, in Russia, in France, countries and regions were he gained the appreciation of nearly all the reigning families that acclaimed and appreciated the sweet clarinet soloist”. After a concert with his music held in Paris, in duo with his friend clarinetist Cyrille Rose(1830-1902), the French press wrote: “ The whole audience were enthusiastic for the pure beauty of the voice and for the virtuosity of the talented player, as well from his compositions.” For his noble style of playing, too much refined for the time in which he lived, during an orchestra performance he was affably admonished from the director Leopoldo Mugnone (1858-1941) for having performed a bit exaggerated diminuendo: “Eh! Do not extinguish so much or we’ll stay in darkness!”. Everywhere acclaimed as a concert player, in France he was also very appreciated as a composer and author of the famous Methode complete de clarinette systeme Boehm (Paris, Evette & Schaeffer, 1900) awarded in 1900 with the gold metal at the International Exibition in Paris. This method –which follows another one published in Lipsia in 1895 and entirely dedicated to the clarinet “Sistema Pupeschi” – was translated in French, Spanish and English and afterward adopted by the main Conservatories in Europe and America. As Agostino Gabucci (1896-1976) reminds us, ha was “correct artist, with a very pure voice, he was able to transmit the beautiful qualities of the smooth and homogeneous sound mainly to his numerous pupils, insomuch to distinguish them from all the other schools”. Qualities that were the basis of the unification of the Italian clarinet school, made in the first decades of the twentieth century also thanks to his numerous pupils, that progressively occupied the chairs of the most important Music Conservatories of the time: Bianco Bianchini (1868-1940) in Bologna, Umberto Blonk-Steiner (1881-1934) in Milan, Carlo Luberti (1885-post. 1945) and Fernando Gambacurta (1899-1973) in Rome, Giuseppe Marasco (1860-1930) in Venice, Antonio Micozzi (1888-1948) in Naples, Ulderico Perilli (1873-1955) in Palermo, Lucio Jucci (1892-1974) in Pesaro and Mario Romani (1892-1962) in Alessandria.
To these ones, we also have to add Luigi Cancellieri (1893-1959) e Alberto Luconi (1893-1984), who export his teaching to the U.S.A, where they were very appreciated as teachers and orchestra players. Before 1918, Giacomo Setaccioli (1868-1925) wrote for him the Sonata op. 31 for clarinet and piano, published in 1921 from Ricordi in Milan. For his high artistic values, during his career he was appointed Academician of Accademia of Santa Cecilia in Rome (1891), Academician of Filarmonica in Bologna, Esquire of the Italian Crown, Official Esquire of S. Marino Republic, Officeholder of the Academy of France (1902). As a composer, he wrote the opera La morte di Fausto, on libretto of the lawyer Bertocci, which the French composers Theodore Dubois (1837-1924) and Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) considered “clear, musical, very dramatic” and the famous Jules Massenet (1842-1912 pointed out to the Milan publisher Sonzogno for a possible performance. Nevertheless, the opera remained unedited, as well as Odette, his second opera in a prologue and two acts on libretto of Benvenuto Bartoli. In addition to two marches for band (Camicia rossa and Reminiscenze di Macerata) and two sestets for winds (unedited) he also wrote a Preludio e scherzo for orchestra, performed in March 1912 at Teatro Augusteo in Rome and a Gavotta for strings Orchestra, awarded at the contest of Società Orchestrale Romana and published by Ricordi in Milan. After the latter’s performance, which took place in 1897 at Sala Dante in Rome, the composer and musical critic Alessandro Parisotti (1853-1913) wrote: “It is a soft composition…sober in the ideas and clear in the development, it moves with elegance, and it acquires value from fair modulations .It is a credit to our 1st clarinet and points out the refined taste of the author”. To his instrument he devoted two Methods, ten Studies and two Collections of Duets and some valuable compositions with accompaniment of piano. The latter ones – for the first time grouped in this cd, except for the Mazurka-Caprice, already recorded in 1937 from the great French clarinetist Louis Cahuzac (1880-1960)- represent a significant example of the evolution of the Italian clarinet literature: from the traditional opera fantasies, very fashionable all through the Nineteenth century, searching for new forms and languages decidedly instrumental. In the groove of the opera fantasies, we can put the Divertimento Romanza e Valzer nell’Opera Faust of C. Gounod, published in 1880 in Milan by editions Lucca and focused on the revision of the instrumental introduction to the kermesse (act II) and of the famous waltz and chorus Ainsi que la brise légère (act II). Similarly, the two Divertissements, published in Paris in 1903, are focused on the revision of the main themes present in the Concertstück op. 44 (1st Divertissement) and in the Concertstück op. 49 (2nd Divertissement) for clarinet and orchestra by Carl Baermann (1811-1885). Intimist and inspired to the Italian “bel canto” are “Elegia Originale”, published in Florence in 1880 and reprinted in Paris in 1909, and Mèlodie Originale Romantique” published in Paris in 1907.
On pure virtuosity, finally, are centred the nineteenth century Mazurka-Caprice, published in Paris in 1897 and very appreciated by the French clarinetists, and the chromatic Solo de Concert, equally published in Paris in 1902 and dedicated to his friend Charles Turban (1845-1905), professor of clarinet at the Conservatory of Paris.