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XXIX Guitar Convention

XXIX Guitar Convention, Benevento, Teatro De Simone, Oct 15 2016

On Saturday, October 15, 2016, the 29th Guitar Conference was held in Benevento. This edition offered the opportunity to reach another significant long wished goal, that is the launch of the initiative in a southern city of Italy aiming to involve more and more the various research resources of our peninsula. The realization of the Conference was supported by the Conservatory "Nicola Sala" thanks to the precious coordination of M° Piero Viti and the Municipality of Benevento and valid assistance for the technical aspects regarding video and photo was as well offered by dotGuitar web magazine directed by M° Lucio Matarazzo. The Conference has found its ideal setting in the small jewel of the sober and elegant architecture of the Teatro di Palazzo De Simone, destined  in the Eighties to be the location of the Conservatory itself.

The documentary exhibition organized at this Conference brought together unpublished and autographic manuscripts alongside rare print editions and original instruments of the traditional Neapolitan guitar, thanks to the availability of masters owing important private collections (Stefano Aruta, Antonio Grande, Piero Viti), regarding a period lasting from the second half of the eighteenth century to the second half of the twentieth century with particular reference to the figures of Ferdinando Carulli and Teresa De Rogatis.

As completion of the content offered on the day of musical studies, folders with detailed material were presented to the public together with the gift of the volume ‘Emilio Pujol’ by Giuliano Balestra, offered by the Cultural Center "Fernando Sor".

The day was opened with the institutional greetings of the Conservatory "Nicola Sala" by the director M° Giuseppe Ilario and M° Piero Viti, guitar teacher at this conservatory. Then took the floor  the curator Simona Boni who opened the study works of the 29th Conference presenting the interventions of the masters and the speakers.

The first intervention, as usual dedicated to the ancient guitar repertoire, was held by Marcello Vitale. Utilizing a strong symbolic suggestion like that of the 'labyrinth', Vitale illustrated the problematic path of retrieval of ancient music, both of the philological profile as well as of the specifically 'organologic' guitar, with the consequent adoption of pertinent executive practices. Vitale insisted that every historical reading is reduced, if it is not inserted in a lively and continuous tradition. This is leading to a concept of philology  'renewing itself' and being placed side by side to a new direction of oral tradition trespassing into ethnic and popular music. Vitale made us aware of the findings that he conceived by showing examples of execution both on baroque guitar with gut strings as well as on the swing guitar created by Vincenzo De Bonis with metal strings and mobile jumper.

During the next intervention, Damiano Rosa effectively depicted the figure of Johann Kaspar Mertz, the romantic guitarist born in 1806 in Pressburg, actually Bratislava, in Slovakia and rediscovered in the Eighties of the last century. Rosa, who has been using various bibliographic sources, introduced the public to the almost magical central European atmosphere of different traditions crossing between them and then recognizing themselves prodigiously in a uniform cultural matrix. After describing the various phases of Mertz's artistic life, emphasizing in particular the experimental attitude he had for the instruments of the time, Rosa concluded his speech by offering a listening to some pieces including the Notturno op. 4 n. 2 and the transcription of Annen Polka by J. Strauss, performed on a guitar Vincenzo Chalet built in Rome in 1851.

Again dedicated to Johann Kaspar Mertz was the report of Paolo Lambiase and Piero Viti, authors of an important research and execution study about the works for two guitars of the musician of Bratislava. The investigation began in the Nineties with the realization for the new era  of one of the first incisions of the 11 Duets for Guitar, published in the original text of the Mertz opera omnia by the musicologist Simon Wynberg. During the following years the work catalogue for two guitars of the author has greatly expanded until the recent finding of other compositions for this formation. Today, on the occasion of thirty-five years of activity as duo, Lambiase and Viti presented their next record project, which in cooperation with the dotGuitar label will feature the full set of works for two Mertz guitars known so far. The report concluded with the execution of some of the most recent pieces of rediscovery, examples of a complete and rigorous dialectical way of thinking of the original nineteenth-century repertoire for guitar duo.

With Giulio Regondi, another important author of the nineteenth century has been object of a  contribution by the young and talented concertist Flavio Nati, recently awarded with the 'Golden Guitar' as Young Promise at the International Guitar Conference in Alessandria. Some significant moments were remembered of Regondi's biography, starting with his debut as enfant prodige. Insisting on the multi-instrumentalism of the Italian guitarist, Nati recalled the importance and weight that the concertina also had in the life of the musician, an instrument similar to the accordion for which Regondi, who had already gained the appreciation and guitar admiration by Sor and Carcassi, wrote numerous works. After a short excursion about the author's compositional style in works for only guitar, Nati proposed to the public the performance of the Air Varié Op.21. w ith a cool and enthusiastic approach.

The last contribution of this first part of the day saw as speaker Antonio Rugolo, the guitarist of Puglia whose recordings of guitar work by Guido Santorsola have received the unanimous consent of the critics of the sector. Rugolo offered a meticulous revelation of the life and work of the Italian-Uruguayan musician who alternated the role of interpreter as violinist and viola player to that of conductor and composer. His compositional style has gone through several phases, from a traditional language to chromatic experimentation in the Fifties up to the use of the dodecaphonic serie in the early Sixties. Rugolo has examined some of Santorsola's works dedicated for guitar, proposing to the public the performance of the Preludio, of the Suite Antiga for only guitar, then as duo with Angelo Gillo Preludio and Tempo di Minuetto and finally as trio with Marco Caiazza the Concertino N. 1.

After the traditional photography of the group and a short and welcoming moment in the Conservatory's premises, the resumption of afternoon work started with the intervention-testimony of Stefano Aruta involving the participants by starting from the coincidence - almost a fatality – to find themselves in this context right on Teresa De Rogatis's birthday.

Stefano Aruta's testimony was more like a participant, as the result of a special relationship that he had first as a pupil and then as a friend like a son, within the human and professional affairs of a musician with a complex and contradictory personality to which guitar historiography still owes something. After recalling the most significant moments of the human and professional career of De Rogatis, Aruta denounced the sense of 'deprivation' of the places that can be perceived in her music as well as in her life, an aspect that  lets us realize how much she was able to feel out of place regardless of where in the world she had decided to live. The report concluded with the listening to a sound document, the recording of the Berceuse and of a Studio of octave for piano performed by his son Mario Feninger, and the live execution proposed by Aruta of the Minuetto della Sonatina  for guitar.

An interesting cross section regarding the more recent Partenopean guitar tradition was proposed by Antonio Grande, a Neapolitan guitarist and composer, with a brilliant narrative verve In his articulated report Grande reconstructed some important events related to the history of Naples' guitar history, starting with the first concerts that took place during the immediate postwar years, when return to normal was tried with the reopening of the Teatro San Carlo and the Scarlatti Association. Some memorable performances were remembered including among others of Andrés Segovia, Alirio Diaz, Eduardo Caliendo (the most important  guitarist of the Neapolitan historic twentieth century) up to the memorable concert of 1982 by Maria Luisa Anido. After a detailed study about some Neapolitan composers, Grande completed his intevention by the performance of the Conversazione con le cose senza nome n. 5 by Patrizio Marrone.

Fabio Fasano's intervention was centered on the analysis of Sonatas of Raffaele Iervolino, composer from the Campania, which he interpreted in 2015 in recording a monographic CD for the magazine Guitart. Fasano examined some aspects of the style of Iervolino with particular reference to the form of the sonata privileged by the composer and his language being rich in new insights and at the same time nourished by references to the compositional guitar tradition. In particular, the Sonata Eduardo (written as a tribute to Eduardo De Filippo) which Fasano proposed to the public, is a sort of biographical account of the composer through an original style that fuses the lesson of leading guitarists and composers of the twentieth century with the essence of Neapolitan musical culture.

After Fabio Fasano took the floor Antonella Col who illustrated in a report of great interest how the Global Method of Bioenergetics, based on a technique of learning and development of bodily awareness, constitutes a methodology of support for concert and instrumental teaching. This method, also validated by various articles and specific studies that have proven its effectiveness, allows to free oneself from the tensions that sometimes characterize the body posture of the musician and often emphasize in the periods ahead of the concerts through a series of targeted exercises, capable of engaging the three psychic, physical and emotional spheres. It is thus possible to reach a correct position from the biodynamic point of view, capable of conferring an instrumental and therefore highly communicative setting, as Antonella Col reported regarding her experience of years of work with various musicians.

On the theme of the correct instrumental approach focused also Mario Fragnito's intervention, starting from the assumption that playing means translating thought into motion. It is therefore necessary to  acquire the ability to represent oneself by expressing through the movements, to construct with them a 'map' to refer to during the execution. Help in this sense comes from physics, especially biomechanics, providing objective answers and objective parameters to be conveyed to students, both on posture and motoric schemes to be achieved as well as on the production of sound in its consistency and in its timbre. Fragnito's report, rich in references to his personal didactic experience, raised remarkable participation and reflection on aspects of great importance which are fundamental from the earliest approach to the instrument.

The concluding intervention was presented by Bruno Battisti D'Amario, a great master, today praised  among the pioneers and promoters of modern guitar, who has formed numerous  students of success in the world of concert music and didactics. Bruno Battisti D'Amario has traced a number of phases of his personal artistic history since he was first captured by the "magic" sound of the guitar during the studies at the Conservatory "S. Cecilia" in Rome under the guidance of Benedetto Di Ponio up to his concert and didactic career that led him to explore several fields of music of the twentieth century. He recalled in particular his collaboration with important masters such as Maderna, Morricone, Rota and Petrassi as well as the first executions of rediscovered works of the past or even the stimulating experience of music with others flanked by soloist concertism.

This last testimony was the call for a ceaseless 'quest for sound' that should emerge from each of us in order to be the balance between mind and music. We can therefore adhere unconditionally to the consideration of Bruno Battisti D'Amario, according to whom the purpose of this Conference is to achieve 'the good of the guitar'.



P. Troncone, Il XXIX Convegno Chitarristico


Program                               Abstract relations (in italian)                        Photos                       Video