‘Italiano Elettrico’ by Astor Piazzolla in Valmontone

What is exciting for me whenever i attend a concert by the Chamber Orchestra of Frosinone, and particularly its renowned soloists, is that often I arrive in ignorance of the composer or theme, yet, invariably I am thrilled and my musical knowledge is vastly broadened by the selection of thematic music offered.

This was the case again on the cool winter evening of 14 January, in the hall of the Doria Pamphilj Palace in Valmontone, with the third concert in this season’s set offered by the Cultural Association La Farandola (where La Farandola is a dance of Provence with similarities to the Tarantella).

The title of the concert was bewitching – ‘Italiano Elettrico’. The programme consisted of one piece from Vivaldi and11 compositions of the Argentinian nouvo tango composer and performer, Astor Piazzolla, whose works had unfortunately escaped me in the past 70 years. But the day, or evening, had arrived.

In my subsequent research on Piazzolla, I have found that he spent much of his life in Argentine, but with smatterings in USA and France. I also concluded that his passion for this type of ‘new’ tango, may have arisen from the gift by his father when Astor was just 8, of a bandoneon, a square box shaped button operated concertina that was the fad particularly in Argentina and Uruguay for decades, though seemingly it was never produced there, but predominantly in Germany where it was ‘invented’ in the 1870s as an alternative to the concertina for popular music.

The preponderance of music for the bandoneon explained to me the utter enthusiasm, come rapture, on the face of Adriano Ranieri performing on a quite lovely black box bandoneon. As always, the violin of Loreto Gismondi gave exquisite sound, sitting alongside the powerful rendition of Marco Attura on the ‘grand’.

On the ‘port’ side facing the audience of close to 100 souls, were Alessandro Minci and his guitar, and standing to attention with his bello contrabasso, was once again the force immovable of the orchestra, Maurizio Turriziani, recently returned from exciting the Chinese.

I remembered that wherever we find the Chamber Orchestra and Maurizio, we know that it will be enthralling music for at least these five instruments, and particularly Maurizio’s loving instrument around which he wraps his arms and allows his bow to stroke its strings with a passion normally reserved for a buxom lover.

The programming of the works of Piazzolla may have been arranged to progressively increase the excitement of the audience, because that is the outcome. For three compositions, the quintet was led by the beautiful soprano voice of Tania Di Giorgio whose rendition of the Piazzolla ‘Ave Maria’ earned a much-deserved ‘bis’.

Yet Piazzola’s music also has an aggressive striking tempo in his interpretation of the tango, and Maurizio supported this attitude by some hefty ‘spanks’ to the shoulder of his double bass. We forgive him his excitement and look forward to the next appointment with the Frosinone Chamber orchestra.

My comments on this concert may fail to satisfy the reader’s interest in the actual compositions, and for this I seek indulgence, while encouraging a search of the electronic media for examples of the work of Astor Piazzolla, which are much improved in the aural format.

It would be remiss if I did not also promote the next concert by the Cultural Association La Farandola, which is to be a performance by David And Cecilia Facchini on piano and violin of the music of Sgambati, Liszt and Dvorak in the same performance hall at 6pm on 18 February. See you there!!

Guide of Valmontone

Valmontone has been one of the strategic transition sites since pre-Roman times. It is in the valley that leads from […]