Galante Organ Concert by Galanti at Fornoli’s Very Special Festa

The Italian equivalent of ‘spoilt for choice’ is ‘ l’imbarazzo della scelta’ and truly this week-end has been like that.

Today, for example, there are at least five events we would like to attend.

First is the last and climactic day of the Fornoli celebrations of the Madonna delle Grazie – a major religious festival which only occurs every five years.

Then there’s the last day of ‘Murabilia’, the end of summer Lucca garden festival which I’ve described at ).

Then there’s the last day of Nozzano Castello’s Medieval Festa, in our opinion, one of the best in the Lucchese and which we’ve described at .

Then there’s the second and last day of the 10th international congress which this time is focused on ‘questions of gender: femininity and effeminateness in Victorian culture’, organised by the Michel de Montaigne foundation of Bagni di Lucca and which takes place in the now-library ex-Anglican church of Villa.

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(start of the conference yesterday)

Then there’s the unmissable cello concert given by pupils of Sebastian Comberti and Raphael Wallfisch at Tereglio at 5.30 pm.

There will, no doubt, be other events which we can’t remember or haven’t heard about. But I think that’s enough to get on with in one day!

To top it our choir’s singing at a second wedding this afternoon at Fornaci di Barga (we sang at another wedding in Granaiola yesterday too).

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(The wedding car at Granaiola yesterday)

Who said that people go to seed in provincial towns?

One of the highlights of the quinquennial festa at Fornoli was a wonderful organ concert given at the parish church last night by that doyen of organist, Antonio Galanti on the Pagnini instrument which dates from 1802.


(Characteristics of the Pagnini organ)

As befit the capability of the organ, there was no possibility of Bach or César Franck being offered. Instead, Galanti played the following programme:


I was particularly fascinated by the Zipoli item. A pupil of Pasquini, whose delightful ‘toccata con lo scherzo del cucù’ we’d just heard, Zipoli was born in Prato which isn’t too far from Lucca. After successful publication of keyboard and organ pieces Zipoli unexpectedly decided to join the Jesuit order and was posted to South America here he landed up in Paraguay teaching and writing music for the Guarani tribe. Indeed, only recently some sacred pieces by Zipoli were re-discovered in ex-missionary outputs.

Sadly, the composer died before he was forty in Cordoba Argentina.

It would be an obvious statement to declare that all the pieces were played by Galanti with absolute élan and fluidity. The organ was fully appropriate to the music and the acoustics in the beautifully decorated church were absolutely right.

(Fornoli’s church especially decorated for the once-in-five year’s festival)

As an encore for the well-filled church, Galanti played a rondo written by that most prolific of composers, anonymous.



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