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  News 2008 
"Next year should be every bit as exciting as this year!"

Thus 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 of music.
She 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.

The professional programme was spread over four concerts in 2008.

The 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.

The 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 and pianoforte.

Four 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.

The 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.

Its 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.

We 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.

The 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.

Then 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!

Above all, this was a hard-working course but it was a happy course and the music was truly sensational. The audiences told us so.
And 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 of 2009.

Remember that you can always contact us on 0039-0575-70778 (Tel/Fax) or on

Elvira Bekova and Michael Humphreys

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