Giacomo Brunini, the guitarist who is increasingly making a name for himself both as a soloist and as part of chamber music groups, is organising, as artistic director, a series of concerts at Borgo a Mozzano’s library every Sunday at 5 pm. They are called ‘incontri musicali: i luoghi del bello e della cultura’.
I was unable to attend the first two concerts in the season but last Sunday’s concert was an absolute delight. Entitled ‘Choro e Dintorni’ it concentrated on Brazilian popular street music centred on Rio de Janeiro in the second half of the nineteenth century.
This was a repertoire that I was largely unfamiliar with but the trio consisting of Alessandro Berti (who did all the arrangements), electric bass, Emanuele Poietti, keyboard and harmonica, and Giorgio Rossini, classical guitar, brought élan to a truly infective music.
Among the composers played were Ernesto Nazareth, Pixinguinha, Baden Powell, Jacob do Bandolim, Zequinha de Abreu, Louiz Bonfá e Celso Machado. This is the full programme:
It was a happy coincidence that the concert formed part of the Festa di Santa Cecilia at Borgo with its flavour of further Christmas markets to come. (The actual music patron Saint’s day is November 22nd).
The word ‘choro’ means something melancholic, in fact a lament. But then American blues and, indeed, Portuguese fado carry the same connotation. Life is filled with sadness but this sorrow must be accepted if one is to rise above it into something more uplifting and joyful. It’s the same nostalgia that permeates the works of such greats as Chopin and Brahms, both composers who influenced this nineteenth century Brazilian school.
What, however, made the music played totally catching was its rhythmic vitality. Derived from African sources, Choro developed its own brand of Latin American ragtime and one could easily see how such dances as bossa nova and samba developed from it.
The trio played with astonishing virtuosity (I’ve rarely heard, for example, the electric bass guitar used with such brilliance) and were even able to defeat the sudden uprising of bells from San Rocco church next door – not an easy battle to win. (Note local church authorities for next Sunday’s concert. Please desist from clanging away from 6 pm onwards!)
Here are some excerpts from last Sunday’s concert:
Don’t miss this Sunday’s programme. 5 pm is a good time to attend an event, especially as winter draws on and there are at least a couple of good places nearby where good pizzas may be had afterwards.
Here is the full remaining programme of concerts:
This unmissable season is organised by the Salotti civic music school, Borgo comune with support of Valdottavo’s Teatro Colombo, Barga and Castelnuovo music schools, Borgo Misericordia and the contemporary music cluster association of Lucca.
More information is available at