Francis Albert Sinatra was the only child of two Italian immigrants. His father was Anthony Sinatra, a New York fireman of Sicilian origin, and his...
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was a violinist extraordinaire and one of the most prolific well-known Italian composers who composed over 500 concertos, 12 operas, numerous oratorios, lyrics and cantatas and I have something in common, i.e., both our “nonnos” were born in the same hilly hometown in La Lucania or Basilicata regione of Italy, hence, this plug for the Pomarico Vivaldi Festival Edizione 2013, sponsored by the Nuovo Comitato per le Celebrazioni Vivaldiane di Pomarico, Matera, which will take place August 15-16-17 at the Corte Palazzo Marchesale in Pomarico. Visit www.pomaricovivaldifestival.com for more information.
I realize that my “Dear Readers” cannot drop everything and head for the hills and the Pomarico Vivaldi Festival, Edizione 2013 on such short notice but via “telefono”, email, skype or technology of your choice, please contact your friends and relatives in Italy, especially those in nearby towns like Potenza, Matera, Tricarico, Ferrandina, Pisticci, Bernalda, Metaponto, Montescaglioso, Stigliano, Policoro and even those in the Puglia region where Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto and Bari are located and tell them about the Vivaldi Festival, which the Nuovo Comitato per le Celebrazioni di Vivaldi hopes will get “la gioventù Italiana” to value and appreciate their own musical heritage more...
Until recently, Antonio Vivaldi’s biographical information has been devoid of any mention of his southern Italian “roots”. Pomarico is the town in “la Basilicata”, where in 1649, a 22 year old musically talented tailor by the name of Camillo Calicchio, “per trovare lavoro” left home for Venice.
In Venice, he met and married Zanetta Temporini and had a daughter, named Camilla. When Camilla married Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, her first child born in 1678 was a “bambino” namedAntonio Vivaldi, and Camillo Calicchio, originally from Pomarico, Matera was his maternal NONNO.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), to refresh your memory and mine, entered the priesthood in 1703. Like his father, a Venetian violinist, he took to the violin, like a duck to the waters of the Venetian Lagoons, and quickly became a violin teacher, a conductor, and a composer-in-residence at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà, a Venetian conservatory for orphaned girls. The young women were trained rigorously in music, and their concerts, often comprised of Vivaldi’s original works, were very popular with the city’s music-loving audiences. Vivaldi was stunningly prolific, producing more than 500 concertos in his lifetime, more than any other known composer. Although Vivaldi composed vocal works, most of his pieces are instrumental, and he is most famous in that area. His concertos are beautifully expressive, covering a range of emotions, from delicate sadness to majestic bombast.
Many of Vivaldi’s works were meant to tell a story, evoke an emotion, or give the impression of real-life events, usually in the cycle of nature. The concertos often took the form of three movements: an Allegro (brisk tempo) movement, a slow movement in the same or related key, and a concluding allegro movement, even more lively than the first. Vivaldi’s compositions have titles like The Night, The Storm at Sea, and The Goldfinch, but his most famous is The Four Seasons, a catchy set of four concertos that remains one of the most popular pieces of Western classical music today. With this and other pieces, Vivaldi revolutionized the role of the soloist, giving it unprecedented importance with his extraordinary sense of drama and flourish. Vivaldi also had a huge influence on Johann Sebastian Bach and on the composers of the classical era with his memorable themes, adventurous rhythmic motifs, and the overall clarity of his compositions.
The Nuovo Comitato Celebrazioni Vivaldiane di Pomarico, in an effort to make young people aware of the valuable contributions to music and opera, made by Antonio Vivaldi also wanted them to be aware of Vivaldi’s local “roots” and how then as now for reasons of “lavoro” his grandfather “sia partito da una situazione di spaesamento, di dolore e da una condizione di emigrazione”. Antonio Vivaldi’s “roots” were not di Venezia, but from Brescia on his father’s side and Pomarico on his mother’s side. Each year, an addition to Vivaldi musical offerings there is a literary “concorso” and young people are invited to write compositions or poetry that relate to the annual Festa Vivaldi theme. In 2012 the theme was “emigrazione” and youthful contestants had to go back in time and in an imaginary “interview” with Vivaldi’s grandfather, Camillo Calicchio, an excellent musician and tailor by trade and ask “Cosa l’ha spinto ad emigrare a Venezia (what pushed you to emigrate to Venice)?
Following are excerpts from a winning entry. Each year the cream of the literary crop are printed and published in an “Antologia di Testi Premio Letterario Pomarico Antonio Vivaldi”: Cosa l’ha spinto ad emigrare a Venezia? “Mi chiamo Camillo Calicchio, ero residente a Pomarico, un paese di collina in provincia di Matera. Mia figlia Camilla ha 9 figli tra cui uno diventato compositore e violinista famoso: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. Come ti ho già detto, abitavo a Pomarico e il mio lavoro era: il sarto. Per molti anni con la mia famiglia ho vissuto lì, poi a causa della carestia mi trasferii a Venezia. Come me tante altre persone sono emigrate per mancanza di lavoro che portò tanta povertà. Viaggiavamo con treni a carbone e le nostre valigie erano fatte di cartone legate con una corda stretta.
A Venezia ho continuato a fare il sarto mentre mio genero Giovanni Battista Vivaldi lavora come barbiere e come secondo lavoro fa il violinista e suona nella Basilica di San Marco. Antonio, mio nipote è nato nel 1678. Nei suoi primi anni d’infanzia ha frequentato la scuola della sua parrocchia, poi a 13-14 anni entrò a far parte del conservatorio. E lì ha iniziato a cantare e a suonare con suo padre sempre nella Basilica di San Marco.
-From an “interview” by Miriam Capezza, 4a Elementare.
Cosa l’ha spinto ad emigrare a Venezia? “A Pomarico non c’è lavoro e neanche molti abitanti. La peste ha decimato la popolazione, chi vuoi che si faccia cucire un vestito di questi tempi di fame e di malattia? Sai come si dice dalle mie parti? “Soldi fanu soldi, piducchi fanu piducchi!”. Venezia era una repubblica prosperosa nel 1649.
-From an “interview” by Isabella Rizzo, scuola Media Statale