year should be every bit as exciting as this year!"
spoke Christina Tappini, when we met with her to discuss the
options available to MfB for the 2009 season of MasterClass
Music Citerna. As previously, the Comune of Citerna, this gloriously
restored antique borgo (mediaeval village) of which Cristina
is the deputy mayor, in the northwest corner of Umbria, was
prepared to give us the necessary support in order to run MfB's
fifth season of which more later. What she was referring to
was the fact that the 2008 season had not only included maestri
from four countries, Elvira Bekova (violin) from Italy, Alfia
Bekova (violoncello) from Great Britain, Povilas Stravinsky
(piano) from the USA and Reinbert Evers (classical guitar) from
Germany, as well as students from Italy, Japan and Britain,
but also that the MasterClass had taken on the form of a festival
was right. We held seven concerts over thirteen days, performed
either by the professionals, or by those attending the course
with and without the professionals. Added to the individual
and ensemble classes held each day for the attendees, this was
truly an epic workload, but this is the way that MfB prefers
to operate. In particular those attending the course should
go home exhilarated by the exposure that they have had to the
professional musicians and also by the part that they themselves
played in the music-making.
professional programme was spread over four concerts in 2008.
opening concert was, as in 2007, performed together with the
excellent Umbrian Chamber Orchestra I Solisti di Perugia.
We now count them as friends and we have asked to work with
them again in 2009. The concert was a mixture of baroque,
classical and contemporary composers. Povilas opened with
the beautiful Haydn Concerto in re minore for Piano and String
Orchestra, while Reinbert followed with a remarkable composition
by the Lithuanian composer Anatolijus Senderovas, Mirage (2006):
Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra. Alfia then gave
us a splendid performance of the Boccherini Concerto for Violoncello
in Si B moll maggiore, while Elvira finished by repeating
the Haydn motif with the exciting Concerto for violin in Do
maggiore. She has since been asked by the Solisti to perform
this piece again and will do so with them at a Christmas week
concert in Terni, south of Perugia. The courtyard of the Comune
was full to overflowing for the evening and we are beginning
to recognise that we now have a dedicated audience who will
travel to hear the MasterClass.
second concert was a recital for Violoncello and Piano given
by Alfia and Povilas and included Beethoven's seven variations
on a theme from the opera The Magic Flute by Mozart, Schubert's
Sonata 'Arpeggione' in la minore and Schaffran's arrangement
for violoncello and piano of Shostakovich's Sonata for viola
nights later, Elvira and Povilas gave their recital for violin
and piano. Debussy's haunting Sonata for violin and piano
preceded Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, after which followed
Ravel's Valse nobile e sentimentale and Stravinsky's Divertimento
for violin and pianoforte.
fourth of this concert series arose because of the 100th anniversary
of the birth of Olivier Messaien, gifted and highly religious
French composer. As in 2007 our good friend Joseph Rosen,
gifted amateur clarinettist, joined us for this 2008 series.
The price of doing so was that he work through the year on
Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time which would then be
performed during the MasterClass in Summer 2008. Elvira, Alfia,
Povilas and Joseph performed this magical and inspiring piece
of music in an atmospheric setting in the Church of San Michele
Arcangelo in Citerna.
composition was completed and it was first performed during
Messaien's imprisonment in the concentration camp Stalag VIII
during the second world war. We had asked to perform this
concert in the church because of another event that had occurred
there during the year, namely to hanging of the newly restored
painting of a previous Apocalypse, The Crucifixion, as painted
by the 16th century painter Nicolo Circignani, known as Il
Pomarancio. This conjunction of two such apocalyptic events
was something that we were very proud to have devised and
we are very grateful to Don Nazzareno Marconi for his accompanying
lecture and slide-show which helped to create such a moving
and memorable evening.
cannot but acknowledge with pride the part played by those
who attended the Course this year. They worked harder than
anyone else and during the three concerts in which they featured
so strongly they entertained audiences that were fitting for
the various occasions, provoking many appreciative comments.
first of these was one that we at MfB were delighted to hold
in the restored concert-hall which forms part of our house.
Our two young pianists performed solo pieces to everyone's enjoyment,
one of these going on to perform at a competition for young
musicians in the north of Italy which meant that he had to leave
the course early, but we were gratified to hear afterwards that
the time he spent under Povilas' tuition had enabled him to
get 3rd prize in the competition. Mention should also be made
of the Hopkins family from Britain. The two boys, especially
Calum whose second season with us led to his making a major
contribution to the performances, to Patrick his brother and
a special mention of father Peter, who steps in so often with
either piano or viola support.
there were the two little ones Noemi and Cosima, whose Shostakovich
duet was widely appreciated; the two Japanese students, one
cello and the other guitar, who played so well together. It
was good too, to see the Professor and his student playing
guitar duets by Piazolla and delighting the audience by so
doing, as well as hearing the difficult Kreutzer Trio for
guitar, violin and clarinet performed by Reinbert, Elvira
and Joseph. Finally, when did you last hear a quartet for
four Cellos? We did, wonderfully well played by Calum, Chafik,
Eleanor and Alfia. The photograph below proves it!
all, this was a hard-working course but it was a happy course
and the music was truly sensational. The audiences told us so.
so to 2009
The dates of the 2009 Music MasterClass Citerna will be from
19th July - 1st August and as previously will be based on the
Comune, the churches if need be and with the classes taking
place in Felcino Bianco. Practice pianos will be available in
the Comune and in Felcino Bianco. We have invited Povilas Stravinsky,
Reinbert Evers as well as Alfia Bekova to join us next summer
and we hope that they will be free to do so. Thus, we will again
offer classes in piano, strings and classical guitar and combinations
of these. We hope that accommodation will be available in the
Hotel Sobaria as usual although last year some found private
accommodation nearby. It is certainly possible to do this if
you wish and there are websites for properties around. We can
try to help if you wish, so let us know. As more information
becomes available for 2009 we will update this page of the website.
We also expect to have brochures available in the early part
Remember that you can always contact us on
0039-0575-70778 (Tel/Fax) or on firstname.lastname@example.org
Elvira Bekova and Michael Humphreys