Rolla Alessandro (1757-1841)
Duets for Flute and Violin
On two specific occasions -between 1828 and 1829, and again in 1831- Alessandro Rolla dedicated himself to composing duets for flute and violin. He consigned the works composed during this first period to two Milanese publishers who were particular attentive to novelties: Francesco Lucca and Giuseppe Antonio Carulli. By this time, Rolla’s name had become universally known and his fame had already crossed national borders. A native of Pavia, he arrived in Milan in 1802 from Parma, where he had been director of the Reale Concerto of the duke. He also became director of the orchestra of the Imperial Regio Teatro alla Scala, and made great efforts to raise the performance level of that ensemble. It is well known, for example, that Louis Spohr praised it highly in 1816, citing the precision and force which Rolla was able to obtain from his orchestral players during performances, and Paganini demonstrated his own admiration in desiring to be heard by Rolla. And when the Imperial Regio Conservatory of Music was founded in 1808, Rolla was called by his friend Bonifazio Asioli, that institution’s first director, to assume the position of professor of violin and viola. A dominant figure in the musical life of the city already from the 1830s, Rolla significantly contributed to the development of music and instrumental technique, at a time when opera reigned above all other genres. His chamber works, in particular, destined for diverse forces, fit into the category of salon music and brought intensity and refinement to that repertoire, requiring performers to be increasingly trained and ready to attempt passages of a certain difficulty.