Another hot summer’s day in Ciociaria settled at dusk in Casalvieri into a windless evening and the promise of a hot summer’s night, though with alternatives to Neil Diamond.
Our visit this time to the Val di Comino, to Casalvieri, one of our favourite towns, was to attend an evening concert of Rossiniana by principals of the Frosinone Chamber Orchestra.
With about half an hour to relax before the forecast time, we settled at a table of Da Alessio for a cold beer and light antipasto, in a position where we could see the musicians and guests arrive – so be able to time our short climb up the hill to the Church of St John the Baptist.
The arrival of cars into the square in front of the city hall gave the local policeman some control duties warding off those who would seek to drive up the road.
Watching the irregular pedestrian traffic his efforts created, I noted the coming of what appeared to be a storm-trooper from The Empire Strikes Back, all in black with a plastic weapon pack rising from his back above his head, till I recognised Donato Cedrone, the cellist soloist from the Chamber Orchestra.
The church had chimed 9 some minutes before we ventured up the narrow cobblestone and brick road to arrive at the steps to the church, where the growing audience was already occupying most of the 12 steps from the lower piazza up to the church entrance.
We were greeted by Maurizio Turriziani, cradling his weapon of destruction, Beelzebub’s double bass, awaiting the arrival of the Mayor before initiating an evening of Rossiniana.
The two violinists stood in waiting – Loreto Gismondi, long term partner in string musical creation and Demi Laino, whose baby black car had carried her precious violin and the bulk of both the double bass and Maurizio from Frosinone.
Somewhat closer to half past the hour, giving time for the remaining stairs and balustrades to be filled, the Mayor was welcomed. I stood at the back in front of the church portal, looking down over the rows of guests to the four soloists.
The audience by then had filled the stairs for this ‘service’ of Rossini quartets and music arranged for the four string instruments. The enthusiastic attendance was joined by two hounds whose role may have been to collect offerings – a tax on the use of the steps – as the dogs quietly walked among the audience, accepting whatever accolade was offered.
Closer to 10 o’clock in the evening, I glanced to the left, up the road leading from the church to the top of the hillock, to see the moon, now one day older than its eclipsed experience of yesterday, climbing out of the mountain, somewhat rapidly into the sky – shining its still nearly full reflected light down the road.
My skillset does not extend to a detailed report on the musical entertainment, except to report that the demands for an encore were easily sufficient for the audience to be satisfied once again.
These four soloists, experts at their art, seem to reflect their personalities into their instruments, or is it the inverse?
Each time I have the pleasure to attend a recital or concert involving Maurizio Turriziani and friends, I come away feeling that somehow the monotheist God and the Devil have combined to capture a little more of my Faustian soul. Maybe it was Beelzebub who decided that on this night the performance of ‘Spring’ from the Seasons by Vivaldi must be a selection for the still sultry night.
There are still more nights this summer season and the devil may take me there. Join us and experience the beauty of Ciociaria and some wonderful music – it’s free!