Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor"

By: Gaetano Donizetti
For: Large mixed ensemble
page one of Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor"

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Gaetano Donizetti
Year of composition
Salvatore Cammarano
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

From Sir Walter Scott's melodramatic novel The Bride of Lammermoor, librettist Salvatore Cammarano cobbled together one of the most contrived and ridiculous plots in all of opera. The opera is saved and made great by Donizetti's flood of fabulous music, which includes one of the greatest of all coloratura parts in the title role. It's got blood and thunder, great choruses, the sextet "Chi mi frena," and above all, the celebrated Mad Scene. Scott's novel had already inspired three operatic treatments by the time of this one. Cammarano had not had much work as a librettist previous to his writing of Lucia, but afterwards he and Donizetti became close partners. Lucia di Lammermoor remains one of Donizetti's most popular works.

In the latter part of 1834, Donizetti signed a contract with the Royal Theaters of Naples to compose three operas, the first of which he was to have ready by July of 1835. After a lengthy process, the premiere of Lucia took place on September 26 at the Teatro San Carlo of Naples. The audience gave the opera an almost ecstatic reception. They cheered each of the individual arias during the opera, and Donizetti and all of the cast were called out for repeated ovations.

The music of the opera was composed with the talents and abilities of the original cast in mind. As the lead soprano in the role of Lucia, Donizetti had chosen Fanny Tacchinardi-Persiani, who was known for her technical abilities. She created the role of Lucia during its initial run, and it was for her that Donizetti composed the incredibly difficult mad scene, which is filled with vocal pyrotechnics and fioritura. From the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, this mad scene has been a showcase for sopranos with technical agility. But it is also an eerily dramatic scene, filled with psychological overtones. Many of the tunes are taken from earlier songs in the opera and twisted in order to show Lucia's demented state of mind. The choruses and narrative flow directly into Lucia's recitative and double aria, showing us her vulnerability right before her death. And the Tomb scene for Edgardo follows, with beautiful, dramatic music. With his suicide, the lovers are joined in death.

The other famous piece from Lucia di Lammermoor is the sextet at the end of Act Two. This is the climax to the other two acts, and is one of the most powerful and dramatic moments of the opera. It begins with the entrance of Edgardo, as he enters the castle of the Lammermoor to find the entire Lammermoor clan gathered in honor of Lucia's wedding. The emotional conflict between the various characters ignites into an energetic ensemble piece.

This arrangement is for mixed Vocal sextet and small chamber ensemble.

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Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Of The Father's Love Begotten, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, The Coventry Carol, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, Bethena - A Concert Waltz, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Scherzo, Water Music Suite No.2 in D, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 2. Affettuoso, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, Birthday Minuet, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Angels We Have Heard On High, The Amazon Rag, Habanera from "Carmen", Symphony No.25 - 3. Menuetto, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.7 Traumerei (Dreaming), Symphony No.29 - 2. Andante, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, Roses From The South, Gymnopedie No.1, Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op.42 - No.3 Melodie, Who Let The Cows Out?, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Lullaby, In Dulci Jubilo, Symphony No.29 - 1. Allegro moderato, The Holly And The Ivy, Gradual, Semper Fidelis, O Holy Night, Le Coucou, The High School Cadets, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis), Espana - 2. Tango, Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, Deck The Halls, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Serenade No.10 , The Barber of Seville - Overture, We Three Kings, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (1), Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, String Serenade - 2. Waltz, Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, La Cinquantaine, Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, Thais - Meditation, Tales From The Vienna Woods, 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 No.6 Legend ("When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child"), Duet: Sous le dome epais, from "Lakme", L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 3. Allegro, Largo al factotum, from "The Barber of Seville", Maple Leaf Rag, L'Estate ("Summer") - 2. Adagio, Presto, Trio No.3, Wine, Women and Song, Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila", The Washington Post March, The Liberty Bell March, String Sonata No.1 - 2. Andante, St. Paul's Suite - 4. Finale (The Dargason), Si. Mi chiamano Mimi, from "La boheme", Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 1, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 2. Adagio cantabile, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 3, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 2. Menuetto and Trio, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Trio No.4, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Auld Lang Syne, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 2. Rondeau, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Holberg Suite - 4. Air, Canon in D, Song to the Moon, from "Rusalka", L'Estate ("Summer") - 3. Presto, Piano Sonata in A "Alla Turca" - 3. Rondo, Who Let The Cows Out? - For Sax Quartet (AATB), Trombone Johnsen, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, The Nutcracker - Overture, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, Policy King, Pavane, Op.50, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 1. Overture, O Christmas Tree, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 3. Allegro, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.13 Der Dichter Spricht (The Poet Speaks), Holberg Suite - 5. Rigaudon, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 3. Allegro, La Marseillaise, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, The Entertainer, The Sleeping Beauty - Waltz, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 3. Allegro, The Carnival of the Animals - The Swan, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 1. Allegro non molto, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 1. Allegro, In The Bleak Mid-Winter, Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time), Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Berceuse, Op.16, The Ragtime Dance, Un bel di vedremo, from "Madama Butterfly", Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Emperor Waltz, Symphony No.40 - 4. Allegro assai, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 2. Largo, Trio No.2, The Marriage of Figaro - Overture, Brook Green Suite - 2. Air, Hands Across The Sea, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Artist's Life Waltz, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, String Sonata No.1 - 3. Allegro, La Primavera ("Spring") - 1. Allegro, Holberg Suite - 1. Prelude, Capriol Suite, String Sonata No.1 - 1. Moderato, Once in Royal David's City, Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 1. Vivace, Holberg Suite - 3. Gavotte and Musette, Babes in Toyland - March of the Toys, Unto Us A Child Is Born, St. Paul's Suite - 1. Jig, Silent Night, La Primavera ("Spring") - 3. Allegro: Danza pastorale, Thaxted (I vow to thee, my country), St. Paul's Suite - 3. Intermezzo, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 2. Largo ma non tanto, William Tell - Overture, La Primavera ("Spring") - 2. Largo, I Saw Three Ships, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 2. Adagio molto, St. Paul's Suite - 2. Ostinato, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Brook Green Suite - 1. Prelude, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, O come, O come, Emmanuel, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 2, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, O mio babbino caro, from "Gianni Schicchi", Away In A Manger, Ah! per sempre io ti perdei, from "I Puritani", Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8 and 1812 Overture

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