Concert Fantasia on Themes from Verdi's Rigoletto for Clarinet and Piano
Luigi Bassi (1833-1871) was an Italian composer and clarinetist. Bassi was born in Cremona and studied at the Milan Conservatory under Benedetto Carulli from 1846 to 1853. He was the principal clarinetist of La Scala in Milan. He composed a total of 27 works for clarinet and also wrote 15 operatic fantasies for clarinet, most notably Fantaisie brillante on Verdi's Rigoletto.
The opera fantasy developed from improvisations by performers on the the themes from popular operas. The practice existed in Mozartís and Beethoven himself composed a few such works for various instruments. By the 1820ís, it had become an accepted format for performers and were usually, at first, perfromed by the composer who was a virtuoso on the instrument. The work would be intended to show off his technical skills.
For the clarinet, the most enduring of this these types of work were composed by Italians, men such as Benedetto Carulli and later Luigi Bassi and Ernesto Cavallini among others. The Concert Fantasia based on themes from Rigoletto is perhaps the most popular of this genre. It is a valuable addition to the repertoire of the clarinet. Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available again.