The remarkable Maestro Gnocchi and his happy band

The remarkable Maestro Gnocchi and his happy band .
Serious fun and games for the students of Giovanni Gnocchi’s Masterclass in Sermoneta
I knew after last Sunday’s recital by Giovanni Gnocchi that the lucky students to work with such a dedicated artist for a week in the magical atmosphere of Sermoneta would result in an extraordinary evening of music making .
And so it was last night in the stables of the castle as we entered for all to see were all the empty ‘cello cases orderly parked with their precious contents in the hands of their young guardians ready to go into action.
Giovanni Gnocchi ready to encourage them from his own place in the ensemble that they had created during a week of intensive study together.
I well remember a similar concert some years ago in Fossanova when Architect Cerocchi invited Alberto Lysy (the original founder of the Festival in 1963) with his magnificent Camerata from Gstaad .
It was a real lesson in dedicated passionate professionalism with each of the superb young virtuosi taking it in turns to lead and be led by their colleagues in a series of chamber concertos for string instruments.
I have only since seen something similar with Sandor Vegh and his colleagues .
This is the great lesson that has been left to us by artists such as Casals and Segovia and the following they created of dedicated disciples .
The inventors of the Guitar and Cello as we know it today in the concert hall.
With the same passion and dedication determined to play the great works of Bach and others on their instruments.
Inventing the so called modern technique
They all have something in common though a passion for making music together at the highest level without any thought of self advancement.
This of course is the same message that the S.Cecilia Orchestra in Rome have received from another passionately involved musician Antony Pappano.
Orchestral musicians playing regularly chamber music together and learning to listen intently to each other to create a whole that has made this orchestra one of the very best ensembles admired worldwide.
It was the same passionate involvement that I received from watching Sir John Barbirolli who used to conduct the orchestra at the Royal Academy walking around the young intrumentalists egging them on to play with more passion and involvement.
“More ,more” he would exclaim or whisper in the ear of particularly attractive young ladies !
It was he who when Jaqueline Du Pre (who had frequented Sermoneta for the courses of Maurice Gendron in the 60’s) was criticised for throwing herself around on the cello with too much red hot passion ,exclaimed how he loved it .
”If you do not play with passion at that age what do you pare down when you get to maturity!”
So tonight  here were a group of ten young cellists all listening intently
 to the other.
Ages ranging from 14 to early 20’s .
Playing with the same passonate involvement and enjoyment in a programme devised by this extraordinarily dedicated musician ,already at his young age giving classes at the Mozarteum in Saltzburg.
Sometimes giving space to the superb solo playing of Mauro Paolo Monopoli or Stefano Bruno ….or the extraordinary ensemble together in Verdi’s Nabucco.
Too numerous to mention all the remarkable things in a long and enjoyable journey of real Haus musik.
With the same enviable passion of his own solo recital last week Giovanni Gnocchi explained that the first half would be dedicated to the orchestral or solo music for cello which included Popper,Glazunov,Piatti,Ravel and Strauss.
Whereas the second half would be dedicated to opera with William Tell Overture opening the proceedings. Including Verdi ,Mascagni,Puccini,Wagner and Weber.
Grand finale together with famous film music from Burt Bacharach and Ennio Morricone.
All the young passionate cellists playing together with evident joy and satisfaction .
A week of music making that they will remember for a long time to come ,as we certainly will.
Generous as ever Giovanni Gnocchi shared and even incorporated into his cello evening the verses of Renato Gabriele valiantly read by the author .
Hats off to the Pontine Festival for reminding us yet again of the great musical heritage that has been in these hills since the time of Roffredo Caetani and Franz Liszt.
Foto courtesy of Mario Scerbo

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