Mancano solo cinque giorni al concerto del grande violoncellista e compositore italiano Giovanni Sollima che ritorna a Sydney e si esibirà al Sydney Opera House domenica 10 luglio, in compagnia dell'Australian Chamber Orchestra. Incredibile ma vero: ci sono ancora biglietti disponibili quindi, se non l'avete ancora fatto, acquistatene uno subito cliccando qui!!! In basso: un articolo di giornale e interviste dedicati al simpaticissimo "Crazy Sicilian" e un assaggio della sua musica e del suo straordinario talento .
Is "crazy Sicilian" Giovanni Sollima the world's coolest musician?
A cellist who plays Hendrix and an instrument made from ice could be the coolest musician around.
For anyone who considers the cello a staid sort of instrument, modestly hugging the shoreline of the tune while its showier little sister, the violin, steals the limelight, think again.
Italian cellist Giovanni Sollima is a classical player with a rock star status; the Jimi Hendrix of the orchestra world who has breathed new life into an instrument that's been around for more than 300 years and turned it into something wicked. Under his rapidly scuttling fingers, the cello morphs from elegant old-timer into screaming banshee flinging electrical spangles at anyone in its wake.
Admirer Yo-Yo Ma, with whom he has performed, affectionately calls him a ''crazy Sicilian'' and the Australian Chamber Orchestra's Timo-Veikko Valve sums him up as ''definitely not your average cellist'', describing his playing as a ''full-blown cello orgasm''. Sollima could teach Woody Allen's Virgil Starkwell a thing or two about how to play in a marching band; he is prone to taking his instrument walkabout mid-recital - a habit he says is left over from days of practice when he'd fancy a cup of coffee or had to answer the doorbell and didn't want to stop playing.
As Sollima points out, the seated cellist is quite a modern invention; in the early 18th century when there were no mics and amps, it was common for musicians to move about to alter acoustics. ''Who knows what we will be doing with cellos 300 years from now,'' he says.
It is this restless curiosity that fuels his forays into ground-breaking territory. Like the time he performed in an igloo high up in the Italian Alps on a cello made of ice that a sculptor friend carved for him. ''The ice was very interesting; it made the sound much longer, very magical, but it is a moving organism, the notes change while you play.'' Fascinated by the experience, he keeps the cello in a freezer and plans to record the first of Bach's Cello Suites on it soon.
Sollima makes his debut with the ACO later this month on an instrument more suitable for the Australian climate: a 334-year-old dark brown creation by Francesco Ruggeri. The bow was custom-made, copied from a painting of the composer and virtuoso cellist Luigi Boccherini. His work is featured on a program which fuses music from the classical era (including Haydn's Cello Concerto in C) with that of the neo-Renaissance in the form of Respighi, and the modernity of Sollima's own compositions.
There are strong parallels between Boccherini and Sollima; both are Italians who composed, but predominantly earned their living as renowned cello virtuosos. ''Boccherini was very experimental, very new. He made a stack of cello music but he was very unlucky with publishers.'' Sollima describes him as visionary, lengthening the cello's fingerboard, incorporating Spanish folk music into his compositions. ''He was the rock star.''
Sollima pays tribute to the fellow Italian in his own work, The LB Files, a mini-dramatisation of the composer's life that embraces jazz, contemporary and rock. Unfortunately, Boccherini, like so many musicians of his day, ended his career in abject poverty. Sollima has been more fortunate, having regularly collaborated with artists as diverse as Ma (for whom he wrote a critically acclaimed double cello concerto) and American punk poet and artist Patti Smith. As a film composer he has written music for Wim Wenders and Peter Greenaway.
The son of a pianist, he was, by virtuoso standards, a latecomer to the instrument, being almost 10 when he took it up. After years of pleading he discovered a cello under the tree one Christmas Eve and couldn't wait to get started; his father had to call the teacher to the house that night to give him his first lesson. Despite his classical training, Sollima was soon dismantling barriers, playing artery-slicing Jimi Hendrix riffs instead of scales when his father was out of earshot.
''What I love about the cello is that you become part of the sound,'' he says, in his deeply lilting Sicilian accent, animated by the passion of his subject. ''The cello is the most connected instrument to the body. Part of the sound comes back at you and you feel it in the stomach; it is a very physical sensation. The cello makes a space for me like a room, and you open the window and let the sound out. The cello is my home.''
Kathy Evans (Sydney Morning Herald; April 5, 2014)
At Italia 500 we've been offering Italian courses, in Sydney, since 1995 and one of the most beautiful aspects of learning Italian is that it opens the door to a culture of unrivalled richness and diversity. In this blog we'll be sharing some of our favourite books, movies, places in Italy to visit, music, links to podcasts, information about local and international Italian themed events, and the odd "personal" view, in the hope that it will encourage you to delve further into a culture which continues to inspire us and millions of people all over the world.