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XIII Guitar Convention

XIII Guitar Convention, Parma, Conservatorio “A. Boito”, October 14 1951

On October 14 at  9 AM, the XIII Guitar Convention opens  in Parma at the local Academy of Music. The local E.N.A.L (Ente Nazionale Assistenza Lavoratori) organizes the event under the auspices of the U.C.I. (Unione Chitarristica Internazionale).

The participants, quite numerous and from every region of northern Italy, are welcomed with affection and cordiality by  E.N.A.L.’s Managers who, in keeping up with Parma’s great  and ancient musical traditions, make sure that the Convention takes place in the best surroundings and in the presence of a large audience.

Among the participants are representatives of the Italian Federation «Il Plettro»,  Prof. Romolo Ferrari and his wife, the publisher Bčrben, and a wide variety of guitarists from many cities. Particularly numerous are those from the cities of Bologna, Milan, Cremona, Modena, and Parma, led by Messrs. Suzzi, Roveri and Mautino. Also present are many luthiers, here  in Parma for the National  Lutherie Competition, whose results have been announced in the afternoon.

At the opening of the session, the Assembly elects its President, Raffaele Suzzi from Bologna and its Secretary, Umberto Sterzati from Cremona.

The Assembly  then moves on to the selection of four guitarists, who will serve as members of the Jury for the National Lutherie Prize.  Appointed as Jurors are Messrs. Alberto Mautino, Amleto Tempestini, Antonio Misto,  and Eber Romani.

The Assembly then moves forward with  the presentations from various participants. Maestro Gio Batta Briano from Genoa is the first to speak. He invites the Convention to join him in urging  the Ministry of Education to establish an officially accredited School of Guitar.

Mr. Tempestini steps in, recommending the establishment of a guitar course at the School of Music in the city of Milan. Tempestini hopes that this example may soon be followed by other Music Lyceums in various cities.

Mr. Tempestini then goes on to describe how Guitar Competitions ought to be regulated, ensuring that competitors appear in front of Juries well prepared and ready to demonstrate their capabilities.  Miss. Elena Padovani, Mr. Mautino and Mr. Romani take also part in this discussion. All agree that the success of the Competitions relies on the following essential requirements:

Timely publication of Calls for Proposals to allow adequate preparation time for all participants.

Exclusion from the Jury of guitar teachers whose students take part in the Competition;

Auditions, but only in front of Jury, to prevent the public from disrupting or from influencing the decision of the Commissioners by taking side with this or that competitor.

Prof. Romolo Ferrari rises to speak, calling for a renewal in music for guitar, which must keep up with the times and be able to embrace the musical innovations of recent years. Ferrari then presents to the participants one of his recent and extensive works, the «Tabella degli accordi», explaining its purpose and its great usefulness for guitarists and composers.

Mr. Pezzoli, in partial agreement with the views expressed by Prof. Ferrari, declares that the use of certain modern chords is not appropriate for guitar music. In his opinion, the guitar would be  consigned to a  lower  level.

Prof. Ferrari then goes on to describe two other of his studies dedicated to modern arrangements (of which he declares himself a supporter) and to harmonic sounds, which represent an unexplored realm capable of offering great benefits to composers.

The participants then move on to the designation of the site for the XIV Guitar Convention of 1952. The choice falls on the city of Turin on a date to be decided. The National Lutherie Competition will also take place in 1952. From this day on, the two events will be held together.

The Guitar Competition, however, will still be held next summer at S. Andrea Bagni, together with a Competition on original compositions for guitar. The two competitions will be announced in due course.

Maestro Briano takes the podium again  proposing a motion  of congratulations to Conte Chigi Saracini, who so generously established in Siena a course for classical guitar, asking the great Maestro Segovia to teach it.

Maestro Sterzati then invites all guitarists to do their best in establishing free courses for guitar in each city aimed at promoting, among young people, the passion for our instrument and the desire to nurture it with tenacity and earnestness. Sterzati also proposes asking various RAI radio stations to  broadcast guitar music  with greater regularity. This would meet the desires of enthusiasts, as well as contribute to the greater knowledge of the instrument.

Mr. Romani adds that, also, recording companies should be encouraged to record performances of famous guitarists. This happens rarely today and its almost inexistent in Italy. 

Maestro Briano expresses his desire in support of the publication of pieces for guitar and orchestra. Prof. Ferrari responds by pointing out the serious difficulties that hinder music publishers. Among these difficulties is the high costs incurred in  printing voluminous works with a low distribution rate,  such as  those for orchestra and guitar, or for instrument ensembles with guitar. He is of the opinion, however, that Competitions for musical compositions would substantially contribute in increasing composer productivity, as well as increasing the publication of large works.

The Assembly then reads out the telegram, sent by E.N.A.L.’s Provincial Director, wishing all  attendees  fruitful work and  great success for the XIII  Guitar Day. The Assembly comes to an end  with this nice greeting, allowing the guitarists − chosen as members of the Jury for the National Lutherie Competition − to leave in order to listen and judge the instruments.

Before departing, the participants gather in the beautiful cloister of the Conservatory for a group photograph.

At 3 PM, all attendees gather again, this time to assist at the musical performances.

They listen to the following performers: Giulio Zucchi - Giovanni Carotta - Aldo Minella (aged 12) - Bruno Ghirarduzzi - Luigi Borghi - Giorgio Pezzoli - Amleto Tempestini - Claudia Tempestini (aged 9) - Antonio Barbieri - Alberto Mautino.

Many rounds of applause greet the performance of the fine guitarists, some of whom show a truly remarkable quality while, all of them,  great seriousness and good knowledge of the instrument.

The participants then focus their attention on the winners of the National Competition of Lutherie,  announced elsewhere.

At 21 hours, the evening concert begins  in the presence of a large and enthusiastic audience, with performances by musicians Lolita Sabicas Tagore, Enrico Tagliavini, and Giorgio Balboni, with the following program:

Frescobaldi - Aria con variazioni
S o r - Minuetto op. 11 n. 4
  “     - Minuetto op. 11 n. 5
  “     - Studio
De Visée - Suite in Re minore
Bach J. S. - Preludio
  “             - Allemanda
  “             - Corrente
  “             - Bourrée
Aguado - Studio
Tarrega - Ricordi dell’Alhambra

Terzi - Sera di maggio
Giuliani - Allegro brillante op. 5
Legnani - Introduzione, tema e variazioni
Sor - Studio in Do maggiore

Sor  - Variazioni sul Flauto magico
Coste - Studio
Segovia - Improvviso
Legnani - Fantasia op. 19
Llobet - Estilo popular criollo

Miss Lolita Sabicas Tagore, who during   previous  Guitar Day had  already  given proof of  her fine musicality and technique, even though ill and  feverish, unwilling to fall short of  her obligations, shows  up for her audience. She is greeted with warm  rounds of applause.

Greeted by vibrant cheers is  also the young guitarist Enrico Tagliavini from Parma, winner of the National S. Andrea Bagni Competition. Tagliavini amazes everyone for the  skill and ease with which he faces the difficult pieces of his repertoire, demonstrating his proficiency as a guitarist with a promising future.

Prof. Giorgio Balboni, already known to most of the participants, receives his usual warm and deserved acclaim that greets all his performances. Balboni’s welcome  once again confirms  the high quality of  his technique and interpretation  that place him among the best concert performers  of the new generation.



U. Sterzati, La XIII Giornata Chitarristica, in «L’Arte Chitarristica», V, n. 29, 1951. pp. 1-3