World-class Italian musicians perform a rare requiem to help benefit the arts at Hartnell College.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Like gold doubloons beneath the Atlantic Ocean, composer Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem for Piano and Organ” sat undiscovered for more than 130 years. By chance, hailed organist and distinguished music scholar Matteo Galli finally unearthed the 1874 composition eight years ago in an Italian archive that’s home to hundreds of thousands of pieces of sheet music.
“There were only two known original copies of [“Requiem”] published,” says internationally renowned pianist Francesco Attesti. “They probably thought there wouldn’t be much of an audience wanting to hear something written for just a piano and organ.”
Attesti describes the movement as “complex,” “haunting,” loaded with emotion and an important artifact of classical music history that was bold for its time. Verdi’s long-lost piece embodies all the elements of a symphony or opera, like the chorus and brass section, but each part was written for organ and piano.
Thanks to Galli, the world will no longer be deprived of its beauty or its value as a relic of late-Renaissance Italy.
Since its 2005 uncovering, Galli and Attesti – the only piano-organ duo in the world who performs it – have made it their mission to travel the world and share the master work with as many audiences as possible. On Wednesday, the pair will showcase “Requiem” at Hartnell College, by special invitation from the institution’s president, Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen.
Attesti, a premier transcriber of Romantic and early 20th-century classical music, who’s performed everywhere from Philharmonic Hall of Saint Petersburg to Cambridge University’s Winter Festival, explains that introducing the piece to a house full of virgin ears represents only part of the program they’ll deliver at Hartnell. The duo also plans to take the audience on a tour of Italy by way of the familiar sounds of well-known arias like Rossini’s The Barber Of Seville and one of Verdi’s less obscure works, Rigoletto, to help commemorate Verdi’s bicentennial this year.
“We would like the concert to give people a taste of Italy,” Attesti says.
While Attesti and Galli will showcase some of Italy’s most acclaimed classical music, the main goal of the evening is to generate funds for Hartnell’s new scholarship fund, something both Italian musicians stand by wholeheartedly.
“Music is an international language and it allows a very high level of expression,” Attesti says. “It also teaches you that you have to work a lot if you want good results and how to be creative. Having even a little music in everyone’s education is extremely important.”
Lewallen agrees with Attesti and also sees music as an invaluable resource that transcends race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status.
“I also view Hartnell as a cultural center for our community, and I am thrilled that we can provide diverse cultural experiences,” he says.
THE HARTNELL COLLEGE BENEFIT CONCERT happens 7pm Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Hartnell College Performing Arts Building, 411 Central Ave., Salinas. $25; $15 Hartnell students/faculty; $60 VIP. 755-6810.
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