The Sound of Music in Latina

izeThe Sound of Music in Latina
Interesting concert at my local conservatory in Latina
Maurizio Bignardelli a distinguished professor for 23 years at Latina Conservatory and a curriculum full of important engagements. It is nice to think that one of those concerts was in the Ghione theatre almost thirty years ago.When a brilliant young flautist was keen on making his debut in Rome . Maria Paola Manzi a student of our much missed Lya De Barberiis. Now also a distinguished teacher in her own right. How many musicians have been formed by the remarkable Lya De Barberiis with whom I had a piano duo for many years until her death a few years ago when she was well into her 90’s An interesting programme to say the least introduced in a very informative  and professional way by one of Maurizio’s prize students,Emanuele Demartis.
Sonatas for flute and piano by two names that have passed into history as the finest piano virtuosi of their day:Robert Casadesus and Walter Gieseking
Who could have imagined that I would have to come to Latina to hear the Sonata op18 by Casadesus and the Sonatina 1937 by Gieseking
Impeccable performances from two fine musicians before an attentive audience completed with Drei Tanz Improvisationen and the famous Strauss transcription of Standchen for solo piano that gave the flautist time to prepare between the two very complex sonatas. Nice to think that the fine formation of these musicians is now allowing them to share this serious ,inquisitive musicianship in smaller venues throughout Italy via the smaller but no less important Conservatories that abound in Italy.
Latina Conservatory that thanks to their enlightened and passionate musical staff can boast a Symphony Orchestra formed by the professors,professional musicians from Rome but above all the most talented students. Designed to give much needed orchestral experience to the highly trained students who are given the opportunity to play in the magnificent Teatro D’Annunzio.
A theatre built in the Mussolini era when workers were brought down from the venetian area to drain the Pontine marshes and transform them from malerial swamps into the most arable land capable of providing food for the nearby Rome. A theatre in the rationalist architecture that has become part of Italy’s artistic heritage. Also its heritage is the political bickering in these parts that means that this much needed theatre opens and shuts with alarming regularity. It reminds me of the Don Camillo books that I used to devour as a child in West London. Politics should never enter into this world but as Roman times onwards has taught us administration of public monies can lead to all sorts of temptations and misunderstandings. The prisons are filling with administrators that not always have the idea that public purse is for the welfare of the popolulation and not their own small world. Human nature does not change even in this beautiful unknown part of Italy “baciato dal sole”. In fact the ancient Romans were the first to take note as the ancient remains that abound in these parts can testify The next concert by the Latina Respighi Conservatory Orchestra is on the 17th March under its very fine conductor, formed at the school of the legendary Franco Ferrara,Benedetto Montebello. Lets hope the political bickering will have calmed down to allow this remarkable musical activity to continue and flourish. The summer has been taken up for the past fifty years since Menuhin and Szigeti found the beautiful hillside town of Sermoneta,with the masterclasses and concerts of the Pontine Festival by some of the finest musicians from Hollinger,Kempff,Rosen,Navarra,Filippini,Giuranna,Petracchi and Canino to Virsaladze in the present period . Sermoneta with the Caetani Castle where Liszt used to come to discuss composition with the composer Roffredo Caetani .
Liszt’s piano is still in the historic world famous gardens of Ninfa at the foot of Sermoneta . Sir William Walton and his wife Susanna used to pass by regularly on the way to their home on Ischia to admire and copy these gardens justly famous world wide as the Waltons gardens at la Mortella have since become The hills around here are certainly abounding with the “Sound of Music”.


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