24th February 1846
27th January 1922
Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
Luigi Denza was an Italian composer.
He studied music under Saverio Mercadante and Paolo Serrao at the Naples Conservatory. In 1884 he moved to London, taught singing and became a professor of singing at the Royal Academy of Music in 1898. Denza was an able mandolinist and guitarist, and has published the following compositions among others for these instruments: Ricordo di Quisisana, a serenata for solo voice and chorus, with accompaniments of first and second mandolins, mandolas and guitars, dedicated to the Marchioness Laura di Noailles, and published by Ricordi, Milan; Come to me, valse for two mandolins, mandola and guitar, also published by Ricordi Nocturne for mandolin and piano, published by Ascherberg, London; and several other compositions for mandolin and piano, originally published by R. Cocks, London. Denza also wrote an opera, Wallenstein, and hundreds of songs. The most popular of these was a collaboration with Peppino Turco, the Neapolitan song Funiculì, Funiculà, about the Vesuvius Funicular. (Six years after "Funiculì, Funiculà" was composed, German composer Richard Strauss heard the song while on a tour of Italy. Thinking that it was a traditional Neapolitan folk song, he later incorporated it into his Aus Italien tone poem. Denza filed a lawsuit against Strauss and eventually won).
Other songs such as "Luna fedel", "Occhi di fata", and "Se" have been sung by Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, Carlo Bergonzi, Enrico Caruso and Ronan Tynan.