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Ballabile con Variazioni nel ballo Ettore Fieramosca
Ernesto Cavallini (1807-1874) was the most important player of the Italian school; he has rightly been called the Paganini of the clarinet. After studying with Benedetto Carulli he joined his master in the orchestra of La Scala, Milan, later becoming principal clarinet. Giacomo Panizza was conductor at La Scala during the last thirteen years of Cavallini's time there. He composed two operas and thirteen ballets for Milan, several times exploiting his brilliant first clarinettist with solos like the present one. His azione mimica in 5 parti ETTORE FIERAMOSCA: or, The Challenge of Barletta was first performed at La Scala on 10 October 1837. The popular novel by the Marchese d'Azeglio on which it is based is an action-packed tale of love and intrigue in 1503 which proved difficult to contain even in five acts. However the ballet was praised for its lavish spectacle and clever dancing and ran for 47 performances. The Ballabile con Variazioni (variation being here meant in the balletic rather than the musical sense) comes from Act III: a festa di ballo set in a magnificent banqueting hall. It should perhaps be mentioned that solos for the E flat clarinet were more common in the 19th century than now.
Ballabile con Variazioni has been recorded by Colin Bradbury and Oliver Davies on The Art of the Clarinettist(CC0008)