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Dennis Libby

revised by John Rosselli

(b San Giorgio Morgeto, Calabria, Oct 12, 1800; d Naples, Dec 18, 1888). Italian librarian, musicologist, teacher and composer. The varied activities of his career were dominated by a single theme: the preservation and glorification of the Neapolitan musical tradition. At 12 (or 15) he entered the Naples Conservatory, where he was a fellow student of Bellini, who became his closest friend and the object of his intense devotion. He was made archivist-librarian there in 1826 and (perhaps his most important achievement) acquired a large part of the library’s rich holdings. He also served as director of vocal concerts and singing teacher there. His widely praised Metodo di canto (Naples, ?1840; Milan, 1841–3, enlarged 3/?1861) was conservative in tendency, claiming to be based on the precepts of the castrato Crescentini, then director of the conservatory’s singing school, and intended to restore the ‘antico bello’ of ‘the only true tradition of Italian song’, that of Scarlatti, Porpora and Durante, which had been displaced by ‘la moda barocca’ of the present age. Florimo composed in all genres except the dramatic, but apart from a ...