DEDICATEE’S COPY OF BELOVED TENOR GIOVANNI RUBINI’S SONGS, INSCRIBED BY HIM AND BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
RUBINI, Giovanni Battista. L'Album di Rubini. 4 Ariette e 2 Duetti. London: Chappell, . Folio, contemporary full brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, gilt dentelles, watered silk doublures, brown morocco booklabel, all edges gilt. $3200.
First edition of this collection of six songs—four solo pieces and two duets—composed by famed Italian tenor Giovanni Rubini, inscribed by him on the title page to the student to whom he dedicated the work, Georgina Byrne.
The singing of Giovanni Rubini, 1794-1854, thrived in the Romantic style of Bellini and Donizetti; Rubini, in turn, proved a profound influence on Bellini's work. "As male protagonist of the new Romantic opera of the 1830s Rubini disposed of a force and intensity of expression which far outshone the cool heroics of the castratos and their female successors. …The phenomenally high range for which he was famed…induced Bellini to include high F's for him in the third act of I puritani" (New Grove, 16: 296). Rubini spent the 1830s and early 1840s in London, where he performed actively and formed part of a renowned quartet. The six songs collected here include an aria, "La Lontananza," an arietta, a simple aria, "La Rimembranza," and a duetto, "L'Addio," among others. The bibliography of this work is complex. This is certainly the first edition in Italian, under the title. It may have been preceded by a French edition under the title L'Adieu with a different dedicatee earlier the same year. It remains unclear whether Rubini was the active author of the work or whether the works were compiled by the publisher (see Marek, Giovanni Battista Rubini and the Bel Canto Tenors). It was most likely during Rubini's London period that Rubini had dedicatee and inscribee Georgina Byrne as one of his singing students. The title page of this album reads "Composti e dedicati al suo Allievo Miss Georgina Byrne" ("Composed and dedicated to his student…"), and indeed the morocco label on the silk doublure bears the initials "G.M.B." In addition to signing his name, Rubini has written "alla sua Allieva" above "al suo Allievo," thus correcting the masculine form of student.
Text with faint foxing. A near-fine copy, beautifully bound.