(Venice, Italy) Either yesterday or today, October 10th, is Giuseppi Verdi's 200th birthday, since, according to Wikipedia: "The baptismal register, on 11 October lists him as being "born yesterday", but since days were often considered to begin at sunset, this could have meant either 9 or 10 October." Most definitely, October 9th would have been John Lennon's 73rd birthday, and it is the day my second novel, Harley's Ninth, which is set entirely on October 9th, turned six-years-old.
Venice, together with all of Italy, is celebrating the great composer's life and work. Above, you will find a YouTube clip to listen to as you read, one of the most famous choruses ever written, "Va, Pensiro," which means, "Go, Thought," but is better known in English as "The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves" from Verdi's opera, Nabucco.
|La Traviata by Verdi - world premiere at La Fenice March 6, 1853|
"In the Nineteenth Century, before the era of music recording and reproduction and the onset of mass communication, works of musical theatre were disseminated and became familiar to the public primarily in transcriptions and re-elaborations of various types, which, as a whole, constitute a heterogeneous and composite domain: they range from the simple reduction for practical purposes, which were exclusively functional, on the one hand (represented, for example, by the scores for voice and piano that made it possible to bring opera and music into the home), to the fantasies and paraphrases for concerts on the other."
In other words, sometimes the scores were reduced from music for an entire orchestra down to a score written for a single piano so your kids could play a little Verdi at home. Those reductions were not written by famous musicians, but by technicians who disappeared into anonymity. However, the fantasies and paraphrases were more like The Red Hot Chili Peppers' doing their cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground. The authors were often illustrious virtuosos like Paganini and Liszt, who used famous opera pieces to show off their talent as performers and their own ability to compose.
Viva Verdi! included both these types of performances:
"Disassembled and recomposed, decontextualized, read, recited, sung, pronounced and projected, drawn and printed, played and cried, Verdi's words and notes push us through the rooms of the Conservatory."
|Pisani in-house auditorium|
My favorite room was three gorgeous ladies playing a tune from La Traviatta on one grand piano -- I had never experienced a six-hand piano performance before.
|Photo: Susan Eyre|
|Julian Lennon & Simon Ma|
October 9th always seems to be an event-filled day.
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
Note: Even though I started writing this on October 10th, I didn't finish it until October 11th.