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II Guitar Convention

II Guitar Convention, Bologna, Circolo della Stampa, May 10 1934

The «2nd Italian Guitar Day» is an accomplished fact. This lovely annual event, established in 1933 for brilliant initiative of professor Romolo Ferrari, has had a success this year that, for the number of the participants coming  from all over Italy, for the interest of the topics discussed and the importance of the decisions taken, has exceeded all expectations.

The Congress was carried out under the aegis of our magazine, whose executives have accomplished the task of its organization, and was held at the «Press Club» which, with a high sense of understanding and kindness, has kindly placed its sumptuous rooms at disposal.

The day was so full of important events, so highly significant in every moment to leave no short-lived remembrance in the souls of all who, like us, lived it. Thus, our report will be made in the desire not to neglect any news, any details that might have an interest in the reader, the passionate lover who was forced to give up this happy and active meeting of guitarists.

 The morning’s work

A bright sunny day, making the «Dotta» even more beautiful in its renewed appearance of new works, welcomes the members of the congress arrived by the first trains in the morning. It is just after 9 a.m. that the most impatient ones, cheerfully anxious to meet again old friends and new lovers of our instrument, are already beginning to arrive at the convention venue. Doctor Buscaroli, Professor Ferrari and we all of the magazine. are already here to welcome them. We notice among the participants a large group of Florentine devotees almost... led by Mr Parrini, well known musicologist in musical circles of Florence, a great lover of all things of art and so sincere friend of the guitar, and also guitarists of Milan, Turin, Parma, Ferrara, Leghorn, Bologna.

At 10.30, the «2nd Italian Guitar Convention» has officially begun. Professor Romolo Ferrari sits as chairman, Lando Orlich as secretary.

In his brief opening speech, the President presents the animating concept of these annual meetings, they were created with the main purpose of keeping alive the activities of the scholar and lover of the guitar and to enable him to know and love his art colleagues in order to give rise to a stronger community of spirit within our family.

Then he greets the participants and, on behalf of all, thanks the management of the guest club; then he states the opening of the congress and expresses wishes that the new Italy, in the twelfth year of the Fascist Revolution, can, in a short while, see the assertion of our noble art.

After reading out the «agenda», the President himself reports on the first topic: a) the report on the magazine «La Chitarra». The speaker reminds briefly how our magazine was created and how it is still supported by unselfish contribution, both financial and intellectual, of a group of fervent lovers invited to join the management board and co-direct it.

The audience address them a warm applause. The President ends his report by inviting everyone to a beneficial promotion of the magazine and opens the discussion on motions for changes and critical comments.

Afterwards some complain the excessive critical rigor of an article on our classics that has recently appeared and, considering it irreverent, they demand for more severity in the examining of the works to be published. Doctor Buscaroli in his turn points out that serene art criticism, as in our case, must be always admitted and that before being hosted in the magazine, the articles are subject to a careful examination and that however, certain expressions contained in the work mentioned could be at most a controversial hint, without undermining the integrity, anyhow untouchable, of the classics.

The proposal of starting a section in which subscribers can ask for explanations and information of any kind relating to the guitar and its music is immediately accepted.

Paragraph b) «Technology and guitar music in the tradition and in their new horizons». The President, noting the deep difference between ancient and modern music, remarks the need of creating a new method or at least some kind of appendix to the traditional methods in use which meets the needs of today’s music. There are various proposals and the discussion is long; at last the Congress finds unanimous agreement and decrees as follows: «La Chitarra» will organize a competition with the modalities which will be communicated in due time for an «Appendix to all methods», which will be a brief guide to the interpretation and performance of modern music, which will consist of those exercises, studies, indications that the author thinks most appropriate for the student to enter with sure technique and understanding the modern musical trends. A committee formed by Mr. Amedeo Parrini from Florence, professor Romolo Ferrari ,Modena, professor Aldo Ferrari, Milan, professor Benvenuto Terzi from Milan and Edoardo Capirone from Turin will choose the best job to meet all the terms fixed, and this will be published by the magazine.

There are many discussed proposals about paragraph c) of the «agenda»: «For an official teaching of the guitar and a professional teaching qualification». Ultimately, it is accepted the following proposal from Prof. Buscaroli: the Management Committee of our magazine as soon as they obtain the adherence and support of an influent technical person , will send to the Honourable Minister for National Education a detailed account reflecting the importance of the guitar and its tradition in order to secure the creation in all or some of the Royal Conservatories of a permanent teaching post with a guitar teaching role, or, the previously mentioned Hon Minister, will appoint, in every Royal Conservatory, an examining board, composed of teachers of the same institute, and in addition a member unrelated to the government teaching with a competence in guitar, which would meet periodically and issue, after an examination, diplomas of guitar teaching qualification.

«On the opportunity of writing a history of the guitar and the guitarists in Italian» (paragraph d) all agree; as for its accomplishment many divergences arise. Therefore, having rejected the proposal of writing this history in collaboration with a group of scholars, joined in some kind of division of tasks, the Congress commissions Professor Romolo Ferrari to implement this project, according to his prudent policy and deep knowledge of the subject.

It is also accepted the proposal of asking for a contribution by means of a consolation prize that the Royal Academy, with a high sense of art, allocates for such initiatives.

Among the «several initiatives designed to provide for a link between musicians and guitarists» (paragraph e) is noteworthy the proposal by Kt. Panini of restoring honour to the guitar compositions in combination with other instruments such as in «trios» with violin and viola or flute and cello or in «quartets» with violin, viola and cello or similar or in «duets» with violin, etc.

This would serve to interest in the guitar the many professionals and amateurs of other more popular instruments. All the presents agree in spreading this kind of performance in their centers as well as to introduce the guitar, if it is in their power, to the major contemporary composers, so that they can write and produce for our instrument too.

With a warm plea to all the participants to make every afford for a more brilliant future of the guitar, the President, acclaimed, closes the meeting.

 The visits and the afternoon academy

The interest for the topics has made us unaware of the passing time, so when we go to lunch it is almost 1 p.m. In a nice room overlooking the garden in the same Press Club a long dinner table tastefully laid all of a sudden brings happiness to everyone. No formal speech, no conventional toast, but sincere spirit of brotherhood among the purest joy. Very lively conversations mingle among the guests to reaffirm some ideas asserted in the morning or to give vent to the joy of meeting again a friend not seen for a long time or an only glimpsed fellow. There’s happiness in everyone’s soul, because very few times so many people, intimately connected by the same noble ideal, are grouped together, as we are now, for a whole day to discuss a favourite topic, to communicate their point of view, to get to know new opinions.

When dinner is over we wish to keep a tangible memory of an hour spent so nicely and make some photos, one of which we are pleased to produce.

But there is no time to be wasted, the program has its own needs, even though formal. ones.

Soon a group is formed, which, under the kind leadership of Dr. Vaccari, is quickly going through the various interesting exhibitions in the city.

Another group, interpreting the desire expressed by many of the participants goes to Luigi Mozzani’s house for a deserved tribute.

We all group again in the convention rooms of the morning, where, according to the fixed program, the test shows and performances, as well as the experiments of the amplifier created by prof. Brettagna, take place.

Mr. R. Vaccari and the pupils R.Suzzi and L. Sassoli, G. Pezzoli, G. Giannini, L. Squarzoni, Cagnacci, M. Biagi, R. Ferrari. performed various pieces.

We notice with great satisfaction that our guitar amateurism is not a poor thing, not a simple pleasure, but something more, something that is more similar to an artistic expression. In fact, we noticed such a lively and increased sense of art in every performer, to make us wonder whether the guitar is a privileged instrument.

It is only still right to acknowledge the qualities of prof. Brettagna’s device, which were undeniably showed by testing it repeatedly during the whole afternoon. It is a special thermionic amplifier of electrical impulses produced by a special device by vibration of the soundbox of the instrument, whose sound you want to amplify. After overcoming small, not overwhelming technical difficulties, we can be sure that the device by prof.Brettagna will be a valuable aid to all those who want their instrument to be heard in large halls and outdoors.

The Academy lasted till 7:30 p.m. then, after a few free hours, we gathered again to listen to the concert of our dear skilful guitarist colleague Professor Benvenuto Terzi. The description of the very brilliant concert is given in another part of the magazine. The «2nd Italian Guitar Convention» could not have more worthy conclusion. In fact, the art of one of our most talented concert artists not only has raised enthusiasm in all us guitarists, but also in the selected and attentive audience that filled the room. Before closing the report of this memorable and meaningful Italian guitar day ,this logical conclusion comes spontaneous: in Italy the guitar is making giant steps towards a future, not far assertion of it as a serious, complete instrument, completely worthy of being close to the other solo instruments that keep the podium in the concert halls. With its rise to the honour of public teaching in the Conservatories, a thing we hope it will occur soon, it will win official acknowledgment so as to get the consideration also of those who would otherwise be reluctant to accept it benevolently.

But we realize that we digress, we do not have the task to praise but to draw conclusions. We had to make the record and this is now over.

Leaving the concert of prof. Terzi, while taking the departing people to the station, we find out to be a bit sad, of that slight sadness that always comes after a deep satisfaction.

But we leave with a goodbye to the next year.



L. Orlich, Fervore d’opere e di propositi nel Secondo Convegno dei Chitarristi Italiani, in «La Chitarra», I, n. 6, 1934, pp. 1-4.