Spirto Gentil – Guide to the listening

Press Meeting

Preludes by Rachmaninov

The usual appointments with the listening guides recur, three dates this year in the music program of Spirto Gentil series founded by Fr Luigi Giussani. Pier Paolo Bellini is the curator, composer, musicologist and general editor of the series, in collaboration with the Association Performing Arts. On the agenda tonight a listening to some preludes by Rachmaninov, followed by the unfinished symphony by Schubert and concertos for piano and orchestra by Mozart.
Bellini begins by explaining the long history of the preludes of this author, which reaches the canonical number of 24 (one for each possible hue, according to the Chopin’s and Bach’ scheme) in eighteen years, with the last in 1913, which incorporates and somehow reverses the first, very famous, in 1892.
“I will not give you the meaning of music – says Bellini – but at least the sense, the direction to take in order to understand.” This is how he introduces a stylistic trait of the author, the imitation of the sound of the bells on the piano, reflecting the feel of Rachmaninov grounded in the Russian people: the bells accompany all sad or joyful times in life. The listening of the first track, the prelude op.23 no.5 starts with its apparent banality is a pattern of life in which “everything is routine, although a sudden intuition suggests that things could possibly betray suddenly their last secret. “In support of this consideration, Bellini says comments the prelude with the first verse of “Lemons” by Montale, with their famous “ring that does not withstand.”
The second, op.23 no.2, examines the issue: the intuition is confirmed and developed, things may sing for joy and the bells may ring in celebration. But it can be a dream or an illusion, as evidenced by the following prelude, op.32 # 10: the deep sound of the bell, replied to infinity, describes a destroying loneliness. It is said that Rachmaninov himself wanted it as the accompaniment at his funeral. And it’s Eliot meeting Bellini, “desert and empty, and darkness upon the face of the deep”
Bellini asks “Who will have the last word?” and introduces the last song, the prelude op. 32 13. He explains that the song which will conclude the hearing is the last compound, with which the Russian composer concludes his cycle of 24 shades. If the first one was so minor, the last retains the same hue but in greater way. Bellini explains to an attentive audience, emotionally involved with the weight of the previous track, that the bells themselves are now telling something, are now telling a truth”
Conclusion with the words of Father Giussani, who distinguished between Rachmaninov, Beethoven and Chopin: Russian pianist “belongs to a people, which allows a less tortuous path towards the fullness. Bellini says at the end that the human factor may not emerge in isolation but only within a people” and cites Pope Francesco: You can answer in the first person ‘I believe’ just because you says also ‘we believe’.