What does beauty sound like? The grand finale between Piazzolla and Bach of the Mediterraneo Radio Festival


By John

Music, like poetry, like literature, like art, is a place of memory and repetition that has the power to make us encounter the numinous. This was the case for the fifth edition of the Mediterraneo Radio Festival, a review of classical music, jazz and popular music which took place in Nocera Terinese with the artistic direction of the Maestro Filippo Arlia and was promoted and supported by the Tchaikovsky Music Conservatory of Nocera Terinese, therefore produced by Raffaele Cacciola, in media partnership with Radio Rai 3 (which will soon broadcast all the concerts).
Together with the fragrances of the Calabrian evening, ambrosia seemed to be blowing, an indication of the deity of the nymph Terina, great mother of these places, in the ancient convent of the Capuchin Fathers of Nocera Terinese, built in 1581 on the remains of a fortress, an intended place of choice by Maestro Arlia for the intense journey of the festival, a crossroads of sounds and stories, which from 11 April to 18 May it was traveled together in harmony by the greats of international classical music with the young talents of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, this is a reality (with its double in Catanzaro) which Arlia's determination has made a point of reference for many young musicians. And which tell of a “stubborn” and resistant Calabria, in this Mediterranean where we are all bodies in which flesh mixes with flesh.

There are many ways to support hope and Filippo Arlia, born in 1989 in Cosenza, son of an artist who remained to live in “his” Calabrian Belmonte, music as his destiny since childhood, talented pianist, already multi-awarded conductor at an international level, philologist of the history of music, does it together with his wife Valentina (also a pianist and now, after Filippo, director of the Conservatory) and a team of musicians teaching the well-kept Conservatory which, born as a simple association, today has more than 900 students, and to broaden the offer of educational and musical training it has opened up to competitions, doctorates and Erasmus as well as to intense concert activity. Showing, in its daily challenge (beauty alone is not enough, Arlia always repeats) the beautiful and strong face of Calabria, a crossroads of all human mixes for centuries.
There is a nice sense of community and a young air when entering the building (a former educational institution) which hosts the “Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Higher Institute of Musical Studies”, a wonderful evolution of that association that professor Saverio, father of Flippo Arlia, visionary and far-sighted, had founded, “seeing” for the future of Terin community what today is a jewel for the musical world not only in Calabria.
They were difficult years, hindered by the hostility of those who believed it was just a dream or, worse, an illusion. And instead the dream came true in this beautiful and ancient town about 300 meters above sea level which expands down into the marina like many towns in the lower Tyrrhenian Sea; and his example, his ability to work as a team, his determination have been passed on to his son Filippo who continues to make that “dream” become bigger and bigger. The Auditorium of the Conservatory was named after Saverio, music as a place, as a building whose perfectly equipped rooms full of midday light and colours, are also a crossroads of knowledge, lives, experiences. And dreams to come true.
Like those of Jovanny, fifteen years old, from Lamezia Terme, a talented pianist who won the prestigious “Città di Cantù” music award. A scientific high school student, he faces the challenge of the discipline with enthusiasm, aware of having the opportunity to spend time among the notes at home. This can be understood by the impeccable yet modest ease with which he sits at the piano to give us a piece of his talent. And the emotions multiply when, accompanied by the kind Francesca, room after room we meet teachers and teachers: how Alex, saxophone professor, who came here to Tchaikovsky from Udine to teach. He has a wife and three children in Friuli and travels around Italy dividing his time between family and work, but music, which builds bridges between humans, is a destiny for him too and when he is in Nocera he knows that he is in the beating heart of a greater story of responsibility, just as Filippo Arlia understands his work as a musician. In which getting excited and producing emotions is necessary.
This was the case in this month's MedRadioFest with the rich program of concerts dedicated to Gabriel Faurè, Giovanni Sgambati, Darius Milhaud, with many sonatas by musicians in trios of violin, cello and piano, in quintets for piano and strings, in nonet for strings, and suite for clarinet, violin and piano, sonata for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano, Segoviana with guitar and the one-act opera with Music by Raffaele Cacciola in “The Journey of Captain Fondacaro”. And then, on the penultimate perfect evening of the festival, with music in the air and on the skin, and the feeling that everything is beautiful and possible, the world of Astor Piazzolla with his “fierce passion” that delves into the suburbs of the soul , as Silvia Mezzanotte recalled, queen voice of the “conjunto electronico” on stage with Cesare Chiacchiaretta's bandoneon (a loving embrace from the master with the instrument of choice for tango, alive in his hands), the virtuoso piano and the Hammond organ by Filippo Arlia (his hands are skilled in dividing themselves between the two instruments to make thoughts sound), the sophisticated violin, the creation of the young talented master Andrea Timpanaro, the driving electronic bass of Antonio De Luise, the drums that amplify the emotions of Glauco Sabatini, the Pad and the electronic keyboards of Filippo Garruba, an added value to the meeting of sounds. A challenge from maestro Arlia who compares his classical training with the experimentation of jazz and with Piazzolla, whom he has studied for fifteen years (“because – he says – my best friend had a bandoneon”), and whose forgotten scores he has rigorously reread philological.
And a challenge was also that of Mezzanotte, convinced by Arlia to “leave” for a while “the pop from which she comes – she said – to throw herself into this well of passion” and find herself within the humanism of Piazzolla's tango nuevo , poetry in music and verses written by Horacio Ferrer: among other pieces «Adiós Nonino» and «Libertango», «Maria de Buenos Aires» and «Oblivion»which she gave us back with emotion by reviving with story and song the Buenos Aires of the 60s/70s with its contradictions of which the María of the “operita” is a metaphor.
In the music rooms we listen and we listen to each other, and the classics, all the classics must be made to speak, or rather vibrate; and Bach “spoke” to us, vibrating through the young Philharmonic Orchestra of Calabria (here too, excitement and enthusiasm behind the scenes) who impeccably performed the complete Violin Concertos conducted by first violinists Ettore Pellegrino (the violin and the maestro, an exciting single cosa) and Andrea Timpanaro and Beatrice Spinelli's oboe.