- Saturday evening was the first concert in our subscription series that we were able to attend at Accademia Nazionale S. Cecilia; we missed Ennio Morricone last week. The venerable Accademia (founded 1908) moved a while back from its old hall at the Spanish Steps to il Parco della Musica at the end of Via Flamminia. The complex is modern and includes a bookstore and CD shop that I'm going to have to spend some time in. Laurent tells me that during the daytime the area is alive with people and it is very much a Music Park. The sound in the Salle S. Cecilia is splendid (all that wonderful American cherry wood) though I wouldn't want to get out of there in a hurry with all the steps and landings and corridors.
English conductor Jeffrey Tate was to conduct but called in sick and assistant conductor Carlo Rizzari had to fill in on a few days notice. That's always difficult when a conductor has not chosen the programme but Rizzari had most likely been leading the preparation rehearsals and it was obvious the players where 100% on side for the home boy.
The programme was 20th century: Ravel's Ma mère l'oy Suite, Copland's Clarinet Concerto and the Prokofiev Seventh Symphony.
The Ravel is more commonly heard these's day in the Piano 4 Hands version and it was good to hear the full orchestral setting. I had forgotten how lovely the Conversation Between Beauty and the Beast section is - the growling, slightly dissonant sounds of the Beast turning into a waltz theme as he falls under Beauty's spell. Principal clarinetist Allessandro Carbonare gave a fine performance of the Copland (written for Benny Goodman) and encored with a technically brillant jazz-classical cadenza.
Poor Prokofiev, his death was overshadowed by Stalin who died the same day he did and over the past decade his music has fallen under the shadow of Shostakovich. Its nice to see that several of his works - including the Ivan the Terrible score - are being included in this year's programme. Rizzari didn't have the measure of the entire piece but the Vivace finale was beautifully handled - it would have been interesting to hear the piece end as Prokofiev intended it too rather than with the State imposed Coda.
Looking over the programme for the rest of the season I was struck by the fact that it is heavy on the Russians, Germans and French with very little Italian music. But as our friends Larry and Vincenzo remarked at dinner - another fine feast hosted by our friends Robert and Walter - later that night: Well for Italian symphonic music there's Respighi then there's..... Respighi. Not really fair but.....
Also a topic of conversation Saturday evening was the brutal rape and murder of a Navy captain's wife by a Romanian skinhead. Sunday morning this poster appeared on billboards in town:
An Italian Woman violated and murdered by GypsiesBeing a guest here I will not comment except to say that this poster is disturbing on many levels.
Italy pays in blood for the stupidity of Immigration
Out with the Gypsies
06 novembre - San Leonardo di Limoges