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  News 2009 
Masterpiece and Innovation

“Masterpiece” denotes the superb programme of classical jewels heard during MfB’s fifth season of MasterClass Music Citerna and “Innovation” the inclusion of an informal café setting as one of the concerts including romantic music and Italian poetry readings. We had planned to open the inaugural concert with concerti for soloist accompanied by I Solisti di Perugia, but this could not be and so, at relatively short notice, Elvira and her faculty recreated a truly magical opening night for the packed audience which included solo virtuoso pieces performed by Povilas Stravinsky, Reinbert Evers, Alfia Bekova and Elvira herself.After the interval Povilas, Elvira and Alfia combined to with Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio, splendidly conceived and splendidly performed.

The next morning saw the start of individual classes and assessments for those attending the course. We had continued our collaboration with Reinbert Evers and classical guitar, begun in 2008 and so we had strings, piano and guitar players in 2009. One of these, a former student of Reinbert, now teaches and performs himself. In addition, we had thought to enlarge our repertoire by inviting a talented young Russian flautist, Kirill, to join us. Thus, the countries represented at this MasterClass included South Korea, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, the USA and Russia.

As can be seen in the programme depicted below the maestri performed a number of themed concerts representing thoughts and emotions. Our second concert, was entitled La Filosofia della Vita. Noone expresses this more eloquently than Johann Sebastian Bach. Reinbert and Sung Jin opened with arrangements of Bach pieces for guitar, while Elvira and Alfia followed with the solo Violin sonata and the Cello suite no. 3. Alfia, Reinbert and Sung Jin finished with the Cello Sonata, BMV 1027 arranged for cello and two guitars.

Alfia, in an afternoon masterclass with Calum Hopkins, provided a fascinating insight on the use of “Rubato” in performance, on Thursday and the next night we put our course attendees to work in our own concert hall in Felcino Bianco. Noemi and Cosima opened the proceedings, each playing a movement from Seitz’ Violin concerto. Both are young but, after two years’ tuition by Elvira, have gained in confidence and ability. The Korean guitarists played several pieces – Etudes no. 10 and 11, by Villa-Lobos, Andalusia by Granados and Asturias by Albeniz. How well these young men did after their marathon journey from Seoul. Alessandro, joining us for a second year gave us vigourous performances of two Scalatti sonatas and a Bach Prelude. Calum on cello and Joseph on clarinet made their usual excellent contributions to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. An enthusiastic audience had trekked up our hill to the house for the concert and enjoyed both this and the refreshments afterwards.

Midway through the course saw our second themed evening - La Serata Appassionata (A Passionate Evening). This included a programme involving our four Maestri with the added participation of the ever-faithful Joseph on Clarinet and Sung Jin on Guitar. Reinbert and Sung Jin opened with two arrangements for Guitar by Bach and by Rossini and continued with the entertaining Latin-American “Four Seasons” written by Piazzolla – Cuatro Estancias Portenas. After the interval Elvira and Alfia performed the dramatic and exciting duo by Kodaly followed by Povilas, Elvira and Joseph in an exhilarating performance of Bartok’s fascinating Trio, Contrasts. This was truly a “passionate” evening and much appreciated by the audience.

And so to “Innovation”! This year we set up the Chiostro or Cloister of the Comune as a Café with the audience sitting at tables and food and drink available included in the ticket price. We named the concert “Der Romantischestrasse” after the famous highway in Germany running through the countryside from Munich to Mainz and beloved of walkers and cyclists and, I dare say lovers, so as to reflect our romantic evening of music and poetry. The poetry readings, nicely performed by three young Italian actresses, were interspersed among the musical programme and were appreciated especially when one piece was seen to have been written by a well-known member of the audience. The musical programme absolutely fitted the mood of the evening with trios, duos and solo pieces performed by Elvira, Alfia and Reinbert. These included works by Giuliani, Sarasate, Granados, Piazzolla and Radames Gnattali. On a humourous note, the audience had to be invited to help themselves to food and drink from a table behind since nobody was doing so. This provoked a round of applause!

Our annual “Regalo per Citerna” or Gift to Citerna as the final concert is known featured all the course attendees and really stretched everyone. Joseph made a major contribution performing in two trios and the Hindemith quartet which also featured Herre Steegenga from the Netherlands as violinist. Kirill combined with Reinbert and impressed with their performance of Giuliani’s Gran Duo Concertante. There were only stars shining here tonight but special mention should be made of the remarkable 13 year old Byung Yung Yun the youngest Korean with his polished performance of Leo Brouwer’s “In Praise of Dance”. The course attendees well merited their certificates of attendance. Joseph had persuaded us to include a work for clarinet, pianoforte and violoncello by Karl Fruhling (Op. 40, mov. 1) as a finale to the Regalo. This gave Povilas and Alfia additional work to do. But, it was really worth it. Their ensemble really provided an outstanding finale to the evening. Keep at it Joseph!

Our thanks go not only to our friends in the Comune for their generous and continuing support but also to the reviewers who published so favourably of our 2009 activities., the local press, Valley Life and most recently in the PR material for Citerna itself, now recognised as one of “I Borghi piu belli d’Italia.

The verdict on MfB’s 5th season of MasterClass Music Citerna is delivered not only by the enthusiasm, hard work and musical achievements of those attending the course, but also in the loyalty and evident appreciation of the audience that has attended each one of these outstanding concerts. People come from all around our region in the expectation of hearing wonderful music performed by exceptional artistes. We also know that they come despite significant competition in the neighbouring towns and cities. They come, too, not only for the outstanding performances of our Maestri, but also to see and hear the results of their remarkable teaching as expressed by journalist Massimo Zangarelli in his headline “A Citerna sotto il segno della migliora tradizione russa” or ‘At Citerna under the sign of the best Russian tradition’.

Plans are now being developed for the 2010 season thanks to the support of the new mayor, Juliana Falaschi and her team at the Comune. We expect that Elvira and Alfia Bekova will be joined by Sergey Bezrodny, a former colleague from the Moscow Conservatoire, also a distinguished pianist and son of Elvira’s great violin teacher Igor Bezrodny and that there will be a collaboration with the British Choral group I Fiori Musicali directed by Dr. Penelope Rapson. We continue with our search for innovation as well as excellence in the creation of our musical programmes. 2010 is the 80th anniversary of Igor Bezrodny’s birth and, as with others of his students, we will be paying tribute to him in MasterClass Music Citerna this summer with a concert that will be repeated in Moscow. More detail will follow as the plans mature.

The tradition continues!

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