HISTORICAL ITALIAN GUITAR MAKER – LIUTERIA CHITARRISTICA ITALIANA – BRUNO GIUFFREDI, GUITAR
Historical Italian Guitar Maker – Liuteria Chitarristica Italiana
Antonio Jimenez MANJÓN : Leyenda (Guitar by Pietro Gallinotti of 1957) – Ottorino RESPIGHI : Variazioni per chitarra (Guitar by Luigi Mozzani of 1936) – Luigi MOZZANI : Prélude (Guitar by Luigi Mozzani of 1936) – Giovanni MURTULA : Tarantella (Guitar by Giuseppe Bernardo Lecchi of 1936 – Jaume PAHISSA : Tres Temas de Recuerdos: I. Preludio – Por el viejo camino (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1947) – Tres Temas de Recuerdos: II. Dialogo (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana) – Tres Temas de Recuerdos: III. Danza lejana (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1947) – Francisco TÁRREGA : 4 Mazurkas: I. Adelita (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1952) – 4 Mazurkas: II. Marieta (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1952) – 4 Mazurkas: III. Mazurka en sol (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1952) – 4 Mazurkas: IV. Sueño (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1952) – Angelo GILARDINO : Sessanta studi di virtuosità e trascendenza: Studio No. 29, Passacaglia (Guitar by Mario Pabé of 1967) – Ganesh Del VESCOVO : Dodici studi di transizione: Studio No. 1 (Guitar by Carlo Raspagni of 1999) – Dodici studi di transizione: Studio No. 14 (Guitar by Carlo Raspagni of 1999) – Dodici studi di transizione: Studio No. 5 (Guitar by Carlo Raspagni of 1999) – Livio TORRESAN : Fantasia (Guitar by Mario Novelli of 1983) – Joaquín TURINA : Fandanguillo, Op. 36 (Guitar by Pietro Gallinotti of 1952) – Eduardo Sainz De la MAZZA : Laberinto (Guitar by Pietro Gallinotti of 1952) – Stefano CASARINI : Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Pietro Gallinotti of 1957) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Luigi Mozzani of 1936) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Giuseppe Bernardo Lecchi of 1936) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1947) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Lorenzo Bellafontana of 1957) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Mario Pabé of 1967) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Carlo Raspagni of 1999) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Mario Novelli of 1983) – Dodici studi per chitarra: Studio No. 4 (Guitar by Pietro Gallinotti of 1952)
Bruno Giuffredi, Gitarre.
Historical Italian Guitar Maker
In this CD, guitarist Bruno Giuffredi – one of the best Italian soloists of his generation – clearly emphasizes his qualities as an interpreter with clear ideas and a brilliant technique. Furthermore, the most significant goal in this project is the accomplishment of a mission which represents the result of a real artistic inspiration: the rediscovery of the Italian guitar lutherie in the twentieth century.
A few years ago, during an interview, he recalled a difficult time in his career, marked by an inexplicable psychological fatigue that weakened his research and his daily study. This unease dissipated as if by magic the day when, almost by chance, he had the opportunity to try a guitar built by the master of Solero, Pietro Gallinotti. In that meeting, the guitarist rediscovered the common thread of his motivation and became aware of the symbiosis between the musician and his instrument which arises with indescribable sensorial and emotional perceptions on the part of the performer. This bond cannot be considered less important than repertoire which is the vital nourishment to one’s own art. Since then, the guitarist’s research, which is cognitive and creative at the same time, has never stopped. He has become, over the years, the most convinced advocate and the most effective witness of the art of Gallinotti and, in parallel, of the Historical Italian twentieth century luthiers. By doing so, he followed the example of very few predecessors who had not surrendered to the presumed superiority of the Andalusian, Barcelonian and Madrilenian guitars.
The Italian guitar, from Stradivari to Guadagnini (whose influence lasted until the beginning of the twentieth century) had its own morphological, structural and sound characteristics, which were very different from those of the Spanish guitar. In the nineteenth century especially, the two schools stood out. In the early decades of the twentieth century the Hispanic model, which was brought to the highest level by the Andalusian guitar-maker Antonio Torres, established itself in conjunction with the rise of the greatest interpreters of the era, especially Miguel Llobet and Andrés Segovia. After having hesitated for a long time, the Italian guitar-makers also adapted to the new course and adopted the shapes and some constructive characteristics of the guitars of the Iberian luthiers. Thus was born the misunderstanding that relegated them to the area of imitators and epigones.
In fact, guitar-makers like Pietro Gallinotti, Lorenzo Bellafontana, Giuseppe Lecchi, Rodolfo Paralupi and others, learned in advance the art of making violins before becoming guitar-makers. They had an amount of knowledge that allowed them to use the example of Torres and his followers without being subjected to the role of replica-makers, often moving away from the models. The sound of their instruments – although different in the imprint given by each manufacturer – can be defined as “Italian sound” and as such it can be reconnected to a tradition that goes back over time to the few surviving models of Stradivarius guitars.
The recordings included in this CD represent the values and peculiarities of the Italian sound, whether they are a vehicle of Italian music as well as the Spanish one. The guitarist used Pietro Gallinotti’s instruments from his own collection and also guitars by other manufacturers, coming from collections of concertists like himself. All of them were aware of the existence of the Italian lutherie that couldn’t be considered inferior to the Spanish one which is characterized by such splendour.
Given the particular setting of the program, it seemed right to proceed, in these notes, by starting from the guitar-makers and linking each of them to authors and music passages that were chosen by the interpreter.
Luigi Mozzani was the leader of Italian lutherie, a virtuoso and a composer. He was a brilliant pioneer, a tireless experimenter and an enlightened master to dozens of apprentices who learned the lutherie art in his workshops at Cento, Bologna and Rovereto schools. Starting from 1934, he made a limited number of excellent “Spanish” guitars modified by his talent and he was stimulated by Andrés Segovia who praised him a lot and that adopted one of his own guitars for a short time. They constitute a precious heritage, still waiting for a cataloguing. Giuffredi uses a magnificent Mozzani of 1936 (property of the maestro Luigi Biscaldi) to give his rendition of a thoughtful, lyrical Prélude by the same Mozzani and of the series of twelve miniatures written for guitar in the early years of the century by Ottorino Respighi. Fortunately, these pieces were found among the papers of the Mozzani’s archive at Cento. These slim but wise miniatures show, in addition to the interest of the composer for the guitar, the reappearance of the instrument in the musical horizons after the romantic crisis and long before the advent of Segovia.
Another guitar built in 1936 by the guitar-maker Giuseppe Bernardo Lecchi, from the Genoese school (he was a pupil of Candi), was externally modeled on the guitar played at that time by Andrés Segovia (a 1912 instrument made in Madrid in Manuel Ramirez’s workshop by Santos Hernández). Lecchi’s guitar belongs today to the collection of the engineer Salvatore Sarpero. Giuffredi uses it to play the Tarantella by a Sicilian guitarist-composer, Giovanni Murtula. This is a fancy and colorful composition, although a little weak in its form.
The two magnificent guitars (the 1947 and 1952 models) of the famous Genoese guitar-maker Lorenzo Bellafontana (a friend and contemporary of Lecchi), with their sweet and dark sound and with delightful hints of viola, are used by the interpreter for the Tres temas de recuerdos by the Catalan composer Jaume Pahissa and for the Four Mazurkas by the Valencian-Catalan romantic guitar poet Francisco Tárrega, and in these pieces at least he becomes a devote epigone of Chopin. The beauty of the melodic lines and of Tárrega’s harmonies meet in the sound of Bellafontana’s guitar and achieve a new and surprising result (obviously achievable also thanks to the ability of the interpreter to “orchestrate” these small masterpieces).
A 1967 guitar by Mario Pabè, a luthier from Turate (Como), is included in today’s collection by Biscaldi and this instrument was at the origin of the rediscovery of this almost unknown guitar-maker, whose few available works reveal an extraordinary craftmenship and a sound concept which is very close to that of the great Gallinotti. The piece that Giuffredi performs (Passacaglia by Angelo Gilardino) with the very elastic timbric palette of the Pabè guitar, in its formal variety, allows the performer to express his skill at its best.
Relatively young, the guitar of Mario Novelli, a Venetian manufacturer, seems to favour the transparency and delicacy of the touch and it is well suited to the lively sonorous story of Livio Torresan’s Fantasia, which brightens lively contrasts in the naturalistic search for effects.
An Hauser-inspired guitar of 1999, built by the eclectic, generous Lombard luthier Carlo Raspagni – a well-known figure also for his fertile didactic activity – honors the musical aphorisms of the Florentine maestro Ganesh Del Vescovo, an author of pieces that favour the spontaneous improvisation rather than the architectural effort in the form.
The luthier placed by Giuffredi at the apex of his predilections is, as it was said before, Pietro Gallinotti. He is here represented by two masterpieces tracked down by his major advocate through patient researches: a guitar of 1952, winner of the national guitar-making competition of the same year and made with a cedar soundboard (long before the Madrid guitar-maker José Ramirez III systematically adopted this essence for the soundboards of his instruments) and a guitar of 1957. Rightly, the interpreter uses them as vehicles for pieces by Iberian authors which are very distant and present a very particular compositional caliber: the transfigured meditation on the dance entitled Fandanguillo by the Sevillan Joaquín Turina, the idiomatic Laberinto by Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, and the romantic Leyenda by Antonio Jiménez Manjón, an underrated guitarist-composer but worthy of appreciation in his genre.
Not satisfied with having set up this wide range of sounds, Giuffredi offers a Studio by Stefano Casarini particularly suited to bring out the prerogatives of each instrument in the comparison between nine consecutive performances.
In conclusion, this is a special recording, “different from the usual”: not a guitar record, but a record of very meritorious guitars which tell a story that still needs to be completed.
Vercelli, December 2017
(translation: Irene Giuliani)