Trailer from the concert of 4th July 2019 at the Ravenna Festival, created by Tommaso Abatescianni
Your recording of the Cello Suites is the best I have ever heard
I listened with great interest to your Gabrielli-Bach CD and I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed not only your masterly interpretation but also the idea of combining these two composers. It must have been an enormous task and one can feel the passion behind this sumptuous project!
(after hearing the fifth Bach suite)
Seriously, you are the best I know at both making a work original and personal, as well as respecting the traditions and natural musical world of the piece. I’m so impressed. Thank you so very much.
baroque cellist from Canada/USA
We don’t know what pinnacle our minds can possibly reach. What is certain is that in composing Die Kunst der Fuge (the Art of the Fugue) Johann Sebastian Bach went with his musical speculation reaching out to the Absolute so far that he almost touches it. This was the concert by Accademia Bizantina, in a sextet on this occasion, that took place on the 10th of July in Sant’Apollinare in Classe. It was part of the 29th Ravenna Festival.
Ottavio Dantone, conductor and harpsichordist, was coordinating the other five musicians as a princeps, beating times and suggesting feelings, interpreting Bach’s masterpiece so as to offer the public a shining example of beauty in its most refined form. This Bach work surely is one of the most difficult to perform: its instrumental destination is difficult to tell. Accademia Bizantina offered a reading with a rich tone palette thanks to the string quartet, a harpsichord and an organ. As a consequence the range of effects that they can use is broad. The two players who contributed to this amazing tonal rang more than the others were certainly the organist Stefano Demicheli and Mauro Valli: from his cello came musical pearls that could have easily been close to the Absolute.
… directing (conducting) a small group of stupendous instrumentalists, Musica Alchemia, among which a fabulous cellist, Mauro Valli has distinguished himself masterfully.
His solo performance in Vivaldi’s Concerto in G major left us speechless for a level of virtuosity, certainly comparable to that of Lina Tur herself.
The progressive success that has accompanied the performances with original instruments over the last fifty years, has complex reasons even if at the same time logical.
There are two main factors that summarise the rediscovery and the increasing appreciation of “ancient music”: semantic understanding and use of the most suitable tools to implement it.
One of the misunderstandings that, in my opinion, however, characterised the recent path of “philological” studies on the six / eighteenth-century repertoire, concerns the concept of authenticity.
For some musicians and scholars it is essential to reproduce the sound, the timbre and the event, as it was then perceived, on a given occasion or according to testimonies, in order to obtain the result closer to the original. All this supported by theoretical treatises, documents or chronicles of the time.
I do not care here to elaborate on the fact that the data we hold attest to a considerable freedom that embraced all possible executive, timbre and structural aspects. What I would like to emphasize instead is that the term “philology”, applied to music, should firstly mean the implementation of a coherent and conscious language that protects first of all the originality, the meaning and the power of the emotions that the composer wanted to express. Not a mere, stale and useless reproduction of an original (supposed), but the reuse of a language, of an idiom, which allows to relive and keep intact today the sensations that the music produced at that time.
In this regard, one aspect that is often the subject of discussion concerns the use and meaning of embellishments, an issue that would require hundreds of pages.
In this context, it is interesting to note the fact that it is widely held to believe that Bach’s music should not be too embellished, or even not at all.
The motivation, briefly, would be to consider the music of the “Kantor” already perfect, complete and comprehensive in its complexity of writing.
The performance of Mauro Valli allows me not to dwell in sustaining my absolute conviction that Bach, despite being an incomparable composer, was a man and musician of his time, and that his music, while extraordinary and unreachable, responded to logic common to those of the other composers of his time.
In fact, listening to these Suites helps us to understand and give us back the true meaning of the “da capo”, and attests that the related ornaments want to underline and emphasize the passages and affections, making this music even more enjoyable, transcending one ( presumed) authenticity, and at the same time in the absolute respect of a concrete, current and sincere philology.
The juxtaposition with Gabrielli’s Researchers, although not supported by documentary evidence, is even more fascinating (not only for the analogies relating to the tonality and the instrumental destination), if one thinks of another Italian author of the seventeenth century, Girolamo Frescobaldi , who with his “Musical Flowers”, had a considerable influence on Bach and his speculative production.
Ottavio Dantone, 25 March 2018
(after hearing the second Bach suite)
It’s so amazing. Your recording is completely original, creative, and arrestingly beautiful.
I wept the first time I listened and felt shivers of pain and joy throughout my whole being.
It is my new reference.
baroque cellist from Canada/USA