di Paolo Pinamonti
Direttore Artistico del Teatro di San Carlo
On the pages of “The Christian Science Monitor” the famous newspaper published in Boston since 1908, for which Alfredo Casella wrote interesting musical chronicles from Italy from 1925 until 1946, the musician wrote of April 12, 1930: “Today, on the contrary, the most daring music can be presented in this city [Naples] in much more serene conditions than in Milan or Rome. For many years, Naples has had excellent concert companies. And we must not forget that this city has been rather lucky […] for having had as the head of its musical institution a man like Giuseppe Martucci, a wonderful guide who every day appears more clearly as the true initiator of the wide musical rebirth that inspires Italy today”.
These considerations of Casella can be a good support to the project underlying the musical programme that we have outlined, together with our friends of Ravello, for the next edition of “Ravello Festival 2019”. A “Festival” not only as a simple stage for great concerts, but a “Festival” that knows how to reconnect the threads with the twentieth-century origin of these musical events, now widely distributed and somewhat standardised throughout Europe; that is to say, a cycle of concerts that, in its articulation, can give cause for reflection, also cognitive in this case, between the great Italian instrumental tradition, currently little known, and the great European symphonism.
Giuseppe Martucci could only be, as Casella rightly suggested in 1930, the first name to appear in the programme. The series of symphonic concerts will open in the name of Wagner and Martucci, strongly tied to Naples and Ravello. Juraj Valčuha, musical director of the Orchestra of Teatro di San Carlo, will conduct the Symphonic Notturno (1901) of the composer from Campania together with the first act of Die Walküre by Wagner, the San Carlo will also present a second concert with a large fresco on film music from Nino Rota to John Williams, always with its musical director Juraj Valčuha. And after this opening, the other symphonic events will follow, all characterised by the desire to offer a unique perspective on the dialogue and opening between Italian and transalpine music. This way, we will have the opportunity to capture common neoclassical echoes between the splendid Albatross Concerto by Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1945) with the narrator Luca Bizzarri who will read the text by H. Melville in the translation by S.Quasimodo and the refined scores by Maurice Ravel (Orchestra of Teatro Carlo Felice, conducted by Wayne Marshall); or the Jugendstil suggestions in the symphony for the opera Oceana by Antonio Smareglia (1903) alongside the works by Alexander Zemlinsky and Richard Strauss (Orchestra of Teatro Massimo conducted by Gabriele Ferro). Or the rich and kaleidoscopic orchestral sound of the scores, Fountains of Rome (1917) by Ottorino Respighi and The Firebird (1919 vers.) by Igor Stravinsky, brought together in the common sign of their maestro, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna conducted by Pietari Ikinen); or the proto-twentieth-century restlessness of Alfredo Casella’s Symphony No. 2 (1910) in dialogue with the Adagio of Gustav Mahler’s unfinished Symphony No. 10. The circulation of his music in France and Italy owes so much to Casella (Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, conducted by Jérémie Rhorer). This will be followed by the presentation of the Piano Concerto by Giovanni Sgambati (1879), influenced by the great German Romantic Symphonism (Philharmonic Orchestra G.Verdi of Salerno conducted by Ryan McAdmas) and the tribute to what would certainly have been one of the most original voices of the Italian twentieth century, Giovanni Salviucci, had he not died prematurely at the early age of thirty, with his Ouverture in C-sharp minor (1933) together with the Strauss of Aus Italien (Symphony Orchestra “Giuseppe Verdi” of Milan conducted by Claus Peter Flor). Lastly, we will have a concert where the Rossini and neoclassical reinterpretation of Benjamin Britten will compare with the vivacity of the originals (Philharmonic Orchestra “Gioachino Rossini” conducted by Donato Renzetti). We could not miss the appointments with the great instrumental tradition of the eighteenth century with the “Concerti for many instruments” by Antonio Vivaldi (Baroque Academy of Santa Cecilia conducted by Federico Maria Sardelli) and a tribute to Wolfgang A. Mozart and Domenico Cimarosa (Orchestra Giovanile “Luigi Cherubini” pianist and conductor Jean Efflam Bavouzet); the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala conducted by Lorenzo Viotti will close the cycle.
The festival is enriched by a series of chamber music events “at midnight” at the Sala dei Cavalieri of Villa Rufolo, which will open to the contemporary in dialogue with the ancient, Mozart with G.F.Malipiero and Silvia Colasanti, the madrigals of Gesualdo Da Venosa along with those of S.Sciarrino and W.Rihm, or again Mozart and G.Ligeti, chamber concerts that will include, in four appointments in four different places and hours of the day, the whole Catalogue de oiseaux for piano (1959) by Olivier Messiaen, entrusted to Pierre Laurent Aimard, currently among the greatest interpreters of the French composer and ornithologist.
This year’s important novelty will also be the first organ festival in the Cathedral of Ravello, designed together with the precious help of our dear friend Andrea Marcon, whom I would like to thank here, and which will see the best European instrumentalists, from Bernard Foccroulle to Olivier Latry, from Andrea Macinanti to Michel Bouvard and Luca Scandali, alternating on stage in Ravello.