The “Incontri Musicali al Teatro” – musical encounters at the theatre – continued yesterday evening with a guitar duo concert, but not at the theatre! This time it was at the church of san Francesco in Borgo a Mozzano and we’d gone to the theatre of Valdottavo instead. No problem. It’s practically only Sunday mass that really starts on time in Italy so we managed to get to the correct venue just as the guitarists had been welcomed on stage and were tuning up.
The theme of the concert was “From Rossini to our Contemporaries” and included works ranging from a highly entertaining Rossini overture to his “Thieving Magpie“, arranged by Giuliani, through Sor and Granados to Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Gnattali and even including a world premiere of a work by Deraco, composer in residence at Kuhn’s academy of Montegral, above nearby Ponte a Moriano, called “In the shadow of Lateness”.
This was the complete programme:
I was very impressed by the fluency and mastery of execution of the two guitarists Dario Atzori, just 21, and Giacomo Brunini also in his twenties. There was absolutely no question about performance standard which was of a quality to be expected from the better BBC munch-time concerts at the Wigmore.
Dario and Giacomo are both local lads and Giacomo was a student of Maestro Antonio Rondina, president of the local Music school at Borgo a Mozzano (Scuola civica di Musica M. Salotti – see http://www.scmsalotti-borgoamozzano.it/) and brother of the Bagni di Lucca architect whose wife runs the estate agency in Ponte a Serraglio. Both performers were also students of Nuccio D’ Angelo who is also a composer. (Nuccio’s works include a Suite barocca (1991) based on themes by Sanz, Corbetta, and Murcia for guitars and percussion premiered in 1991 and conducted by Leo Brouwer; a Raga for prepared piano (imitating the sounds of a sitar); a jazzy Ballad for piano; two Quintets (1993 and 1994) dedicated to and inspired by the style of Astor Piazzolla; and a reworking of Piazzolla’s Cafè 1930.).
I’d never been exposed to a live guitar duo recital before and found the combination quite awesome. In the Rossini overture, for example, quasi-orchestral effects were obtained thanks also to the slightly different quality sounds each player produced: one more pungent and the other more mellow.
Most of the pieces were unfamiliar to me and all were immediately listenable. Of course, the Spanish morceaux delighted most; in particular the sweetly melancholic Granados was exquisitely played. The Deraco, too, was most interesting, showing every possible dynamic and technique obtainable on the guitar. Deraco is a local lad and his world premiere was fully merited. Indeed, his pieces are now regularly performed internationally.
Here is some Turina and Villa-Lobos played by Brunini:
(Warning: there is an almighty crash from the audience near the start of the recording. Do not listen at high volume!)
There are more pieces played by Brunini to be heard on his web site at
It’s just a pity that more people don’t know about these highly satisfying musical encounters. The audience, although not exactly sparse and including at least one happy inmate from the adjoining geriatric institution, could have been easily doubled.