Gaetano Amadeo

A very special thanks to Francesco Vatteone for his research on the life and work of the composer.

Gaetano Amadeo (alias il Trovatore) composer, choir master, was born in Porto Maurizio (Imperia Ponente) in 1820. He studied in Lucca with Giovanni Pacini and in 1841, at the Philharmonic high school in Bologna with Gioacchino Rossini, who highly valued the talent of his pupil , often praising its musical qualities, especially its melodic vein. After the election as honorary member of the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna, which took place in 1843, holding Rossini’s written recommendation, he settled in Marseille where he became organist of the St. Joseph Church on June 1, 1848, right after the inauguration of Joseph Callinet’s organ. He kept this duty until July 1861. Accordingly, he will not be acquainted with Aristide Cavaillè-Colls organ (1868). He became choir master in the cathedral in 1852. He made the Pavian organ builder L. Lingiardi acquainted with French organ building. Around 1875 he left Marseille for an unknown reason – perhaps sentimental – and settled in Cannes. He moved back to Genoa and Porto Maurizio in 1883 and 1884, from where he wrote to Pier Costantino Remondini, the famous sacred-music reformist whose ideas he shared. He then moved to Cannes in 1887 as organist of the suburban church and finally to Nice, where he died on 8 April 1893. He had no close relatives and bequeathed his scores collection to an unknown person, who wrote a catalog and tried to sell it. Most scores and documents were donated to the Conservatoire of Nice. Amadeo had friendly relations with Charles Gounod and Ambroise Thomas. Since his childhood, he mainly established himself as a composer of sacred music, and some of his pages are worthy of the greatest masters. He wrote ten Masses with several voices, Psalms, Vespers, Motets, five Te Deum, three Stabat Mater, instrumental music (Symphonies, Concerts, etc.), various chamber romance and, moreover, two unpublished Operas, one of which in four acts , Jeanne d’Arc, on a French text, whose non-performance at the Marseille theater was due to the refusal of the composer himself to introduce a ballet. Among his theoretical works are to be mentioned a fugue’s methode and one about contrappunct. Some sacred works appear in collections of Italian sacred music (L’Organista, L’Arpa sacra d’Italia, etc.), while others were printed in France.
Bibl .: Obituary in Le Ménestrel, LIX, 23 April 1893, p. 136; C. Schmidl, Diz. Universal of Musicians, I, p. 40; Enciclop. Italian, I, p. 740.