[PW] Rossini Quotation (Quotation Query #798)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Tue May 15 12:01:43 PDT 2018

Gioachino Rossini did set to music the phrase "E'la lista del bucato"
("It's the laundry list") which occurs in the Opera buffa "Il Barbiere
di Siviglia" ("The Barber of Seville") which premiered in 1816.


The opera contains a scene that hinges on the replacement of a love
letter with a laundry list according to Wikipedia:

[Begin excerpt from Wikipedia]
While Bartolo searches his cluttered desk for the official document
which would prove his exemption, Almaviva whispers to Rosina that he
is Lindoro in disguise, and passes a love-letter to her. Bartolo
suspiciously demands to know what is in the piece of paper in Rosina's
hands, but she fools him by handing over her laundry list.
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

On Tue, May 15, 2018 at 1:29 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here is an Italian anecdote from 1864 that features Giovacchino
> Rossini delivering a version of the quotation. Perhaps a list member
> can improve the Google translation.  The anecdote was published while
> Rossini was still alive. He died in 1866.
> On Saturday I shared a 1751 letter containing a statement attributed
> to Rameau that fit within the same family of sayings.
> Date: 2 Giugno 1864 (June 2, 1864)
> Periodical: La Scena: Giornale di Musica, Drammatica e Coreografia
> Periodical Location: Naples, Italy
> Year II, Number 5
> Article: Galleria Artistica: Giovacchino Rossini
> https://books.google.com/books?id=7V5_04kxkWQC&q=%22lista+del%22#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> -- Domando mille volte perdono... -- ripigliò l'omiciattolo -- lo sono
> l'abate Tottola, e siccome sono incaricato da Sua Eccellenza Barbaia
> (del quale mi protesto servidore umilissimo) di comporre le opere per
> il S. Cario, così....
> -- Così, l'interruppe Rossini, venite a portarmi uno dei vostri
> capolavori. Va benissimo, lasciatemelo qui e a rivederci.
> -- Se V.S. crederà necessari dei cangiamenti nella sceneggiatura, nei
> versi od altro mi onorerà comandandomi.
> -- Non vi prendete pensiero di ciò più di quello me ne prenda io
> stesso. Mi sentirei capace di vestire di note anche la lista del
> bucato, figuratevi poi un poema vostro.
> Compresa o no l'ironia burlesca di queste parole, l'abate inchinatosi
> profondamente, uscì.
> [End excerpt]
> [Begin Google translation]
> -- "I ask a thousand times for forgiveness ..." replied the little
> man-I am Abbot Tottola, and as I am commissioned by His Excellency
> Barbaia (of whom I protest as a very humble servant) to compose the
> works for S. Cario, so....
> -- "So," interrupted Rossini, "come and bring me one of your
> masterpieces." All right, leave it here and see you again.
> -- If V.S. he will believe that changes in the script will be
> necessary, in the verses or else he will honor me by commanding me.
> -- Do not worry about it any more than I take it myself. I would feel
> capable of dressing even the laundry list, then imagine a poem of
> yours.
> Including or not the burlesque irony of these words, the abbot bowed
> deeply, he went out.
> [End Google translation]
> Garson O'Toole
> On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 5:30 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Apologies for the large number of messages, but you do get to see
>> every exciting twist, turn, and revelation. This will be my last
>> message on this topic for many hours.
>> Here is a citation for a letter in French dated 1751 (published in
>> 1756) that contains an instance of the remark ascribed to Rameau
>> (probably Jean-Philippe Rameau who died in 1764).
>> Year: 1756 (MDCCLVI)
>> Title: Les cinq années littéraires, ou lettres de M. Clément, sur les
>> ouvrages de littérature qui ont paru dans les années 1748, 1749, 1750,
>> 1751, & 1752
>> Tome: Second
>> Imprimees: A Berlin
>> Letter Number: 69
>> Date of Letter: 1er Fevrier, 1751 (February 1, 1751)
>> Location of Letter: Paris
>> Start Page 3, Quote Page 5
>> Database: HathiTrust
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> Vous sçavez, MONSIEUR, ce que disoit Rameau, que si on le fâchoit, il
>> mettroit en musique la Gazette d'Hollande: . . .
>> [End excerpt]
>> [Begin Google translation]
>> You know, sir, what Rameau said, that if he was angry, he would put to
>> music the Gazette of Holland. . .
>> [End Google translation]
>> Garson
>> On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 3:58 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
>> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The Rameau variant about the Holland Gazette was circulating in
>>> English by 1784. I haven't searched for it in French yet. Gioachino
>>> Rossini was born in 1792. So the Rameau variant is a precursor.
>>> Jean-Philippe Rameau died in 1764.
>>> Year: 1784
>>> Title: A New and General Biographical Dictionary,
>>> Edition: New Edition in 12 Volumes
>>> Volume 11
>>> Entry: John Philip Rameau
>>> Start Page 22, Quote Page 22
>>> Publication: Printed for W. Strahan, T. Payne and Son etc., London
>>> https://books.google.com/books?id=CtZaM_xXaQgC&q=%22give+me+but%22#v=snippet&
>>> [Begin excerpt]
>>> It was a saying of Quinault that "the Poet was the Musician's
>>> servant;" but Rameau would say, "Give me but a Holland Gazette, and I
>>> will set it to music:" and we are almost ready to concur with him,
>>> inasmuch as we have known the London Cries of "The last dying speech
>>> of the malefactors who were executed this morning at Tyburn," &c. to
>>> be set and sung most-harmoniously.
>>> [End excerpt]
>>> Garson
>>> On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 1:43 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
>>> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Here is a version of the statement attributed to Rameau (in Italian)
>>>> in 1817. Background: Gioachino Rossini was born in 1792.
>>>> Year: 1817
>>>> Title: Lo spettatore straniero ovvero mescolanze di viaggi, di
>>>> statistica, di storia, di politica, di letteratura, di belle arti e di
>>>> filosofia
>>>> Publication: Presso Gli Editori A.F. Stella E Comp, Milano
>>>> Section: Musica e Parole
>>>> Quote Page 153
>>>> https://books.google.com/books?id=aFNJC4o3ZXwC&q=%22di+Leida%22#v=snippet&q=%22di%20Leida%22&f=false
>>>> [Begin excerpt]
>>>> Rameau al contrario dicea: datemi a Gazzetta di Leida e la metterò in
>>>> musica. Ciò sarebbe un dire che la musica non può nulla esprimere,
>>>> poichè può applicarsi ad ogni proposito e canta ugualmente le nuove
>>>> politiche e le pene e le gioie dell'amore.
>>>> [End excerpt]
>>>> [Begin Google translate]
>>>> On the contrary, Rameau says: give me to Gazzetta di Leida and I will
>>>> put it to music. This would be a saying that music can not express
>>>> anything, as it can be applied to every purpose and sings equally the
>>>> new policies and the pains and joys of love.
>>>> [End Google translate]
>>>> Garson
>>>> On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 12:39 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
>>>> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> Here is an interesting variant joke (in Italian) published in 1882.
>>>>> The composer is identified as Rameau which may correspond to the
>>>>> French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau who died in 1764
>>>>> Date: 24 Agosto 1882 (August 24, 1882)
>>>>> Periodical: La Musica Popolare: Giornale ebdomadario illustrato
>>>>> Anno 1, Number 21
>>>>> Article: Note Varie
>>>>> Quote Page 88
>>>>> https://books.google.com/books?id=dXwu5EupALIC&q=%22metter%C3%B2+in+musica%22#v=snippet&
>>>>> [Begin excerpt]
>>>>> «Datemi la Gazzetta d'Olanda, diceva Rameau, ed io la metterò in musica.»
>>>>> [End excerpt]
>>>>> [Begin Google translate]
>>>>> «Give me the Gazette of Holland," said Rameau, "and I'll put it to music."
>>>>> [End Google translate]
>>>>> Garson O'Toole
>>>>> On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 11:58 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
>>>>> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>> Fred Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>>>>>>> I am trying to trace a quotation, attributed to Rossini: "Give me a laundry list
>>>>>>> and I'll [or 'I will'] set it to music."  In a little bit of searching the earliest I have
>>>>>>> found it is from 1941.  I would welcome any help in finding pre-1941 occurrences
>>>>>>> of this in English or in Italian.
>>>>>> Fun question. Here are matches in Italian in 1914 and 1913 for the
>>>>>> statement attributed to Rossini. Please double check for errors. I do
>>>>>> not know any Italian, so I am employing Google Translate which creates
>>>>>> flawed text. Rossini died in 1868, so there is probably considerable
>>>>>> room for improvement of these citations.
>>>>>> Year: 1914
>>>>>> Title: Musicisti contemporanei; saggi critici
>>>>>> Author: Ildebrando Pizzetti
>>>>>> Publisher: Fratelli Treves, Milano
>>>>>> Section: I versi "per musica,,.
>>>>>> Quote Page 272 and 273
>>>>>> Database: HathiTrust
>>>>>> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89000640581
>>>>>> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89000640581?urlappend=%3Bseq=293
>>>>>> [Begin excerpt]
>>>>>> Essi potrebbero quasi ripetere, con Rossini, che anche la lista della
>>>>>> lavandaia si può mettere in musica; sottintendendo solamente (come
>>>>>> doveva sottintenderlo Rossini): purchè un poeta la metta prima in
>>>>>> ottenari coi quali la musica possa marciare speditamente.
>>>>>> [End excerpt]
>>>>>> [Begin Google translation]
>>>>>> They could almost repeat, with Rossini, that even the laundress list
>>>>>> can be put into music; implying only (as Rossini had to imply): as
>>>>>> long as a poet puts it first in obtainances with which music can march
>>>>>> quickly.
>>>>>> [End Google translation]
>>>>>> Year: 1913
>>>>>> Periodical: Rivista d'Italia
>>>>>> Anno 16, Volume 2
>>>>>> Section: Giuseppe Verdi
>>>>>> Start Page 398, Quote Page 398
>>>>>> Publication: Piazza Cavour, Roma
>>>>>> Database: HathiTrust
>>>>>> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101076382314
>>>>>> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101076382314?urlappend=%3Bseq=404
>>>>>> [Begin excerpt]
>>>>>> Il Verdi intese, meglio del Rossini, il compito che alla musica è
>>>>>> assegnato nel melodramma. Dio mi guardi dal prendere troppo sul serio
>>>>>> l'espressione del grande Pesarese, che si dichiarava disposto a
>>>>>> musicare la nota...della lavandaia.
>>>>>> [End excerpt]
>>>>>> [Begin Google translation]
>>>>>> The Verdi understood, better than Rossini, the task assigned to music
>>>>>> in melodrama. God look at me from taking too seriously the expression
>>>>>> of the great Pesarese, who declared himself disposed to music the note
>>>>>> ... of laundress.
>>>>>> [End Google translation]
>>>>>> Garson O'Toole
>>>>>> On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 10:33 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
>>>>>>> I am trying to trace a quotation, attributed to Rossini: "Give me a laundry list and I'll [or "I will"] set it to music."  In a little bit of searching the earliest I have found it is from 1941.  I would welcome any help in finding pre-1941 occurrences of this in English or in Italian.
>>>>>>> Fred Shapiro
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>>>>>>> list at project-wombat.org
>>>>>>> http://www.project-wombat.org/

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