How to become a ballet composer

Romualdo Marenko - the unknown ballet composer

Romualdo Marenko (1841-1907)

composed the music for the spectacular ballet Excelsior - the English word for wood wool - which had its first performance in 1881 at La Scala in Milan and was an unparalleled success first in Italy and then worldwide.

We know next to nothing about the composer, his biography and other works; the relevant music dictionaries are silent.

The Italian's music - in judging we can only stick to the ballet - is indebted to the French school. You could think that you could hear the sounds of Emil Waldteufel with a shot of Jacques Offenbach. It is cheerful and lively, not overly demanding, but completely tailored to ballet, which consists of eleven numbers and many divertissements. Constantly new compositional ideas such as gallop, mazurka and folklore dance along with exotic interludes contribute to the entertainment and acoustically locate the work in the area of ​​the light muse.

In terms of its rhythm and effect, the work can be compared with the ballet music “Roter Mohn” by the Russian composer (of Belgian descent), Reinhold Gliére. Both concepts pay homage to an idea. For Italians it is technical progress and for others it is social change. Both times the music is catchy and “jagged”.


Engelbert