June 13

Leoncavallo and Montemezzi as Seen by Viafora 
in Musical America

Last week, we featured Gianni Viafora’s caricatures of Puccini and of Mascagni from the artist’s “Gallery of Celebrities” in Musical America. Today we showcase his drawings of two more Italian composers, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Italo Montemezzi. We also include several texts about the composers from Musical America, a remarkable, though little-explored documentary resource, and include links to articles sampled below! Read a section of a remarkable review of Montemezzi’s now-rarely performed opera, L’amore Dei Tre Re, “one of the most deeply affecting and full-blooded scores since Wagner,” and an absolutely scathing obituary of Leoncavallo, a man whose passing was, for one writer, “of no significance to music.”


Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Vol. 24 No. 11 (15 July 1916): 7; Vol. 4 No. 9 (14 July 1906): 5.

Vol. 18 No. 25 (25 October 1913): 3.



Vol. 4 No.9 (14 July 1906): 10. 

Vol. 30 No. 16 (16 August 1919): 2.

“…the demise of Leoncavallo is of no significance to music. So far as he mattered artistically the man might have died a quarter of a century ago.”

Read the entire blistering obituary here: Leoncavallo Passes


Another Viafora caricature of Leoncavallo
Vol. 18 No. 25 (25 October 1913): 4.



*           *           *


Vol. 19 No. 10 (10 January 1914): 3. 

Read a section of this article by clicking here: Montemezzi “Success Unequivocal”


Italo Montemezzi
Vol. 24 No. 23 (7 October 1916): 7; Vol. 19 No. 10 (10 January 1914): 3.


“Let Simplicity Be the Composer’s Constant Objective, Adjures Italo Montemezzi,” Vol. 31 No. 4 (22 November 1919): 3. 



Vol. 19 No. 10 (10 January 1914): 4. 

A photograph of Montemezzi (left; in red) and Viafora (right; in red)
Vol. 31 No. 4 (22 November 1919): 3.


RIPM search tip: For more on Viafora and his drawings in Musical America, access the RIPM Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals, as fill in the following fields: Periodical: Musical America (New York, 1898-1899, 1905-1922 [-1964]), Keyword(s): Viafora.

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Posted June 13, 2018 by Ben Knysak in category "Curios and Chronicles", "Illustration(s) of the Week