Theory born of practice

A leading specialist in 17th-century music, Roberto Gini will be giving classes in the genre in a week-long seminar

robeto gini311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
robeto gini311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A seminar on 17th-century music will take place September 22 – 29 at the Givatayim Conservatory. The seminar will be presented by Roberto Gini, one of the world’s leading specialists in the music of that period; singer Antonella Gianese of Italy; and Israeli recorder player Drora Bruck, founder and the head of the Early Music Department at the Shtriker Conservatory in Tel Aviv.
“Early music is becoming more popular in Israel now because many Israeli musicians who specialize in this field have returned home after completing their studies abroad,” says Bruck. “For this course, we have accepted more than 40 students, who for an entire week will be immersed in the culture of the époque, various aspects of which we will analyze with them.”
A frequent visitor to Israel, viola da gamba/cello/cembalo player, conductor and researcher Gini has been collaborating with the leading early music ensembles for years. He counts many fine early music performers among his students and has numerous recordings to his credit.
Speaking of his love of the music of Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), Gini explains, “That was the only period when all arts were together.
Music was not only music, but it was combined with poetry, architecture, sculpture, painting. All artists worked together, mostly in the same area – Mantua, Florence, Ferrara. In addition, in those days music offered the deepest insight into human emotions.
For example, in madrigals you can find a psychoanalytical investigation of sentiments. This is amazing! Later, ‘the characters’ replaced humans in the operas. It happened after Monteverdi’s opera The Coronation of Poppea. For the new bourgeois society, it was too much. As Monteverdi himself put it, ‘I cannot write an opera about something that does not exist, like clouds or waterfalls. Arianna cries because she is a woman; Orpheo cries because he is a man,’” he says.
How does this reflect in the way Gini presents his course? “Before approaching the music, I have to explain to the students what theater and rhetoric are about, how to analyze the life around us and to find the real sentiment. This is not an academic or a conventional course but a practical one. For example, we learn how to approach an original piece, how to improvise on four voices, etc. These things are simple if you understand how the things work. We also learn some psychological aspects of music.”
Gini stresses that the motto of the course was formulated by Baroque painter Hannibale Carraci, who said that theory is born from practice. And that, he says, was exactly Monteverdi’s ideology.
In the course, Gini will teach basso continuo, improvisation, ornamentation and interpretation.
Gianese, with whom Gini has been collaborating for 20 years, will teach Baroque singing, while Bruck will concentrate on instrumental music.
“For the student, this will be a total immersion into the époque,” says Gini.
All the course activities are open to the public for a moderate fee. “I really want people to discover this music, to learn what is behind it,” concludes Gini.
The course culminates with an early music concert at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv on October 2, featuring Gini, Gianese and Israeli artists.
To register for the course, e-mail or send an SMS to 054-441-5440.