Tarantella for Solo Piano
Caroline Orger Reinagle (1818-1892), an English composer, pianist, and writer left a body of work that includes a Piano Concerto, Piano Quartet, Piano Trio, Cello Sonata, Sonata in A Major, Op. 6 (1855) and Tarantella (1846), Volunteer Rifle March for Piano (1860), various songs, and a treatise entitled A Few Words on Piano Playing (1855).
Caroline Orger Reinagle wrote Tarantella in 1846. The tarantella is a fast Italian dance in 6/8 meter and may have been named for the tarantula spider. Supposedly, if you were bitten by a tarantula, dancing the tarantella would cure you. Reinagle’s Tarantella in E Minor is an exuberant piece leaving the performer and the listener breathless. The large structure of three hundred and sixty-one measures has a form of ABAB. A and B each have two themes. The phrases occur in eight-measure segments, and phrase repetition abounds. In the final B section, the themes are now in E Major finishing the piece with a triumphant flourish.
Tarantella is a welcome addition to the performing and teaching repertoire of the Romantic period. It is well constructed, interesting, and rewarding for the performer as well as the listener.