Organ Itineraries

by Maria Chiara Mazzi

Review of concerts, conventions and conferences about forgotten and new music.

More and more now concert reviews, most of all during the summer, do not represent a "time to escape" through music. They represent an opportunity to link music with land, history and present, research of the past and current events, taking from the "classic" repertoire, too often left out of our life, a value of cultural enrichment and not only a lofty pastime. This premise is essential to a series of reviews which, without making too much noise, have obstinately become a tradition and a strong point in our land (though similar reviews are flourishing here and there). Such as the one entitled "Organ Itineraries in the Province of Bologna", born in 1986 thanks to the commitment and dedication of late Master Giorgio Piombini who unceasingly during 24 years organized organ concerts and sacred music in the various churches of the Bolognese Apennines and Bologna.
The review (organized by the Associazione Arsarmonica with the precious collaboration of the Gruppo di Studi Savena Setta Sembro) began as always in late spring, on May 29th, at the Sala Bolognese, and has brought during the whole summer its faithful listeners in the valleys of the Apennines (from Monte S. Giovanni to the sanctuary of the Madonna dei Boschi, from Montorio a San Benedetto Val di Sembro, from Tossignano to the Boschi di Granaglione, from Trasasso to the sanctuary of Madonna Serra Ripoli, from Baragazza to Brigola to Scascoli to Monzuno) to then return to Bologna in the fall and end its kilometric adventure on December 13th in the Parish church of Pino, proposing with various organs, young performers and musicians of fame and of different nationalities who came not only from the best organ music schools in Italy but in France, Belgium, Spain and Holland as well.

Picture - Ancient organ
Those who think that "Organ Itineraries" mean ‘simple’ concerts are mistaken: beyond the clear communicative intention and the rediscovery of the territory, the precise intention of the organizers is to rediscover and give back a voice, often following careful repair, to ancient organs disseminated plentifully in valleys and on mountains, testimonies of a desire for music born in long ago periods and too often forgotten. Twenty historical organs have up until now reacquired their old splendour and even this year, for example, in October two important historical instruments were recuperated: the organ of Giovanni Chianei (1769) of the Church S. Agostino of Imola and the organ of Giuseppe Sarti (1845) of the Church of the SS. Trinità of Bologna, repaired by Paolo Tollari and inaugurated on October 30th in the presence of His Excellency Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna. And to insist on the more cultural vocation of the review (in which some events are introduced by a true 'guide to listening'), concerts have always been done at the same time as conventions and conferences organized in collaboration with the Department of Arts, Music and Performance of the University of Bologna, with the cultural association Saggiatore Musicale, with the International Museum of Music, the International Academy of Organ Music S. Martino. Through these collaborations are organized masters' classes of grand masters, like the one organized this year which was dedicated to Frescobaldi by Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini on the monumental organ of the Basilicata S. Giovanni in Laterano in Rome. Who then thinks that Arsarmonica presided by Fabiana Ciampi (with the precious collaboration of Ida Zanini Piombini who with her untiring will has followed a path initiated years ago by Giorgio) is "limited" by proposing ancient music is mistaken because one of the objectives is also to promote new music. In this sense, the CD of Daniele Venturi "Quattro Lembi di Cielo" was presented at the Music Museum and the "Missa Eclectica", composed by twelve young composers who, inspired by Gregorian chants, have celebrated the anniversary of Santa Cecilia creating pieces for the Proprium and the Ordinarium. An activity at 360°, and an Association getting ready to celebrate in 2010 a quarter of a century dedicated to rediscovering not only small places but also a whole web of celebrations, devotions, meetings, sociality and community life sometimes unexpected and that enrich our territories, and the life of music.