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XXIII Guitar Convention

XXIII Guitar Convention, Modena, Palazzo Coccapani, October 30 2010

On October 30 2010 was held in Modena, in the halls of the Palazzo Coccapani, the XXIII Guitar Convention. The event, in collaboration with the Accademia Nazionale di Scienze Lettere e Arti, has to be considered – this year as well – a welcome opportunity to explore themes of searching around on the guitar, listening to music, and of course meet teachers, performers and scholars.

The tradition revived in 2009, it was therefore confirmed as qualified event that involves, in the true sense of the initiative, many employees and an increasingly participatory and proactive.

The scientific committee (consisting of Giuliano Balestra, Simona Boni, Giovanni Indulti, Pocci Vincenzo, Enrico Tagliavini) has worked carefully to design the convention, articulating the discussion of the issues in chronological order: all that has offered a rare opportunity to rediscover, even in the size of the historical development, special and unusual aspects of the past, and the present of the guitar. Relations and musical events, held by performers and scholars of recognized value and skills, have transported the audience from the sounds of contemporary music to the vihuela, a continuity of expression and content very much appreciated.

Beside the convention were also held, at the ancient halls of the palace, two major exhibitions: one for the guitar makers, by the most representative art of some Italian manufacturers, and one devoted to historical recordings, titled Historical Discography of the Guitar in Italy: engravings, books and documents in the years 1920-1960. This exhibition, curated by Marco Bazzotti, offered a path through rare sound recordings, which were transmitted to this day, evocative and surprising interpretations of well-known musicians such as Antonio Amici, Pasquale Taraffo, Louigi Mozzani, Renato Giuseppini, Elena Padovani, Mario Gangi.

The day opened with greetings from prof. Ferdinando Taddei, president of the Accademia Nazionale di Scienze Lettere e Arti.

Then took the word of the convention curator Simona Boni, who described the project Chitarra in Italia, around which we are gathering important research contributions of music; she has presented thus the XXIII Guitar Convention, which is the authentic expression of that industry, in a harmony of purpose aimed to overcome the distinctions between ‘schools’.

The first intervention, titled The Vihuela and Emilio Pujol in the Accadenia Chigiana, was held by Giuliano Balestra, who introduced the topic with the execution on the vihuela of the Fantasia del IV Tono by Luys Milan, and the beautiful and touching Romance Paseabase el Rey moro by Luys de Narvaez, with the participation of soprano Elisabetta Majeron. After this opening in music, in homage to the master Pujol, Giuliano Balestra has drawn an unusual profile of fortune Spanish instrument in Italian soil, and the contribution made in this field by Emilio Pujol, performer, teacher and musicologist, teacher and freshman vihuela at the prestigious Accademia Chigiana, where students had for some of the most important guitarists of the time, such as Alirio Diaz, John Williams, José Tomàs and Elena Padovani.

After the Renaissance splendor of the vihuela, the discussion switched to guitar with five choirs, which had in the seventeenth century the greatest moment of artistic expression. The issue has been addressed by the composer and musicologist Giovanni Indulti, who has carried out archival research on contemporary musical sources, tracking points of contact with the instrumental writing of the time. The report also highlighted the contribution of compositional Francesco Asioli,  seventeenth century guitarist ‘forgotten’, active in the Ducato di Modena e Reggio Emilia, through the two rare examples of tablature by Asioli now known.

The musical performance of Rosario Cicero, then offered the opportunity to appreciate some of the dances by Francesco Asioli (Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande, Giga), also the Chaconne, and the unique variations on the Folies d’Espagne by François Le Cocq, fascinating the public through the sounds, rhythms and catchy five choruses of the baroque guitar. The perfect fusion between the techniques of the Spanish rasgueado and repicco, harmonic cadences, and melodic phrases, had as a result a definitely captivating music and visual ensemble of a right hand – which she herself seemed to dance on the strings of the guitar.

Continuing the historical path, Mario Dell’Ara outlined a historical portrait of Paris in the first half of the nineteenth century, and its rich musical activity. Within this lit art scene, he played one of the best-known methodological discussions – between carullisti and molinisti; it has been so animated to be wittily portrayed by Charles de Marescot in the famous lithograph inserted in the book The Guitaromanie of 1829.

The morning ended with a tribute to the poetry of the nineteenth-century guitar, proposed by Filomena Moretti: the rich expressive interpretation of Paganini’s Grand Sonata, and the Rêverie by Giulio Regondi elicited a warm tribute to the public, fascinated by dreamy harmonies, and the virtuosic outbursts, perfectly cast in these pages as the same Filomena Moretti has masterfully demonstrated.

After a lunch break, offered to defendants in the halls of the palace, in a serene and joyful atmosphere, just made anxious by the welcome opportunity to talk with teachers, and colleagues from various Italian cities, guitarists gathered in the Hall of Mirrors, for the usual group portraits made by photographer Marco Cavina.

The afternoon session was opened with an interesting research done by Carla Costa, of the guitar in the nineteenth-century Italian painting, pleasantly accompanied by the projection of processed images. The contribution of the iconography is crucial in the analysis of cultural, aesthetic and organological, capable of revealing significant elements of practice and playing technique of the time: just think of  ‘luck’ of the lyre-guitar in the nineteenth century, also evident in portraiture, and its constructive experiments. The research has therefore a considerable value – documented especially in the study, and systematic use of these sources.

The opening of the twentieth century music took place on the notes of Memento for guitar and string quartet by German composer Herbert Baumann. The work, dedicated to the memory of Romulo Ferrari, and performed for the first time at the XXI Guitar Convention held in Tokyo in 1962, has been proposed in the intense interpretation of Massimo Nalbandian, and the Quartetto di Modena (Matilde Di Taranto first violin, Laura Garuti second violin, Torra Montserrat Coll viola, Laura Benvenga cello). Not being able to be present in Modena, the composer has sent a letter, which was read as a slide show performance, expressing the wish full success to the XXIII Guitar Convention.

A discussion followed on the relations between Italy and Russia guitar in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It was edited by Alexander Mironov, who performed work for six and seven-string guitar, including the well-applauded Variations on Russian folk themes by Michaíl Vysótskij e Andréj Sìhra, and the brief but suggestive pages for seven strings guitar by some Italian guitarists (Pensiero Nostalgico by Frederico Orsolino, Mesta Canzone by Giovanni Murtula, Piccola Arabesca by Primo Silvestri).

A reflection on the current developments of composition, entitled A proposal of new music: a resource for the guitar? has been the subject of intervention Piero Bonaguri, who has proposed an unusual combination of musical and art works of the twentieth century and contemporary period, providing a possible key to an understanding of linguistic research and timbre – analyzed in relation to the complex problem of the relationship between New Music and the public. The proposed pieces were born from a collaboration with the guitar composers (Paolo Ugoletti, Adriano Guarnieri, Roberto Tagliamacco, Davide Anzaghi, Gilberto Cappelli, Pippo Molino), collaboration that has led in recent years, the creation of a new rich repertoire.

In this atmosphere of contemporary music, took part also of the intervention of Cristiano Porqueddu on Melancholia: loneliness and matter in the music of Angelo Gilardino. The report particularly praised for the depth and richness of the analysis of the implications, has outlined a path full of literary references and artistic, dedicated to the work of the composer of Vercelli.

The conclusion of the day was headed by Enrico Tagliavini, who recalled with intense colors and feel, the important contribution of some guitarist-composers of the first half of the twentieth century, then executing the works of Benedetto Di Ponio, Romolo Ferrari, Giovanni Murtula, Benvenuto Terzi. These are the names of some notable personalities that have been fundamental to the reality of their time guitar, waking also, beyond self-interest for the recognition of the instrument at institutional level.

The XXIII Guitar Convention concluded in the sign of this human and artistic reflection. The hope is to keep working together in the coming years, sharing a passion for a special instrument: as noted Tagliavini at the end of the meeting, «the one which sounds closest to the heart».



 S. Mastrogregori, Il XXIII Convegno Chitarristico


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