Italian Evening
Thursday, 26 March 2020
From 7:30 pmuntil approximately 9:40 pm
Italian Cultural Institute,
HUF 3,500 / 2,500

Italian Evening

Pászti season ticket 3

Giuseppe Verdi Quattro pezzi sacri
Gioachino Rossini Stabat Mater
Eszter Sümegi soprano
Atala Schöck alto
Gergely Boncsér tenor
Miklós Sebestyén bass
Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Carlo Montanaro conductor

It started with an unusual musical scale. An otherwise not particularly significant musician named Adolfo Crescentini published a scale of seven notes in the magazine of the renowned Ricordi music publishers along with a challenge to composers to write a piece based on it, if they could. The first thing to do would be to find suitable harmonies for it. The ageing Verdi – who entertained himself by composing fugues – took an interest in the impossible task. He wrote an Ave Maria that starts with the seven memorable notes (C, D♭, E, F♯, G♯, A♯, B, followed by C again, with one change on the way back down) sung by the bass part before the other parts take it up at various points. All of this took place in 1889. Later on, independently of the problem of the scale, Verdi took up writing a Stabat mater and a Te Deum, both for chorus and orchestra. To these he added his somewhat earlier piece for a cappella chorus Laudi alla Vergine Maria, written to text from Dante’s Paradiso. These four pieces would eventually come together to become Quattro pezzi sacri. Although they are only linked to each other by their religious content, the elderly maestro approved their being published as a set. After hearing Verdi’s Stabat mater and its evocation of the Mother of Sorrows, it will be a unique experience to hear Rossini’s version of the same medieval Latin so-called “sequence” text.