Marco Cera (oboe, baroque guitar & ciaramella)
The idea behind "Bella Napoli" started two years ago. Music Director Jeanne Lamon asked all the core orchestra members of Tafelmusik for suggestions about guests or soloists we might invite to work with Tafelmusik. At that time I had just founded the Vesuvius Ensemble with Lucas Harris and Francesco Pellegrino. I thought that it would be fun and interesting to put together a program that could give our audience a portrait of the music scene in Napoli during the baroque era, combining classical and popular music.
When freelancing in Italy a few years ago, I had the privilege to work with "La Cappella della Pieta' dei Turchini", one of the most important early music ensembles based in Naples and dedicated to the recovery of Neapolitan musical heritage. I immediately fell in love with the music style - the simple and repetitive harmony changes, the frenetic rhythm, the long and ancient melodies of this music reach me deeply and move me. Every time I listen to the "tarantella del Gargano" (especially when sung by Francesco Pellegrino) I get goosebumps.
I must confess that I am nostalgic for those days that I spent in Naples, playing with "I Turchini", eating authentic pizzas...enjoying cornetti all'amarena and baba' al Rum from Pasticceria Scaturchio.... drinking caffe' al nocciolato.....
Luckily, here in Toronto I've found my friends Francesco and Lucas willing to recreate the Neapolitan atmosphere (at least the soundtrack part of it) through making music together.
It is now a great joy for me to be able to share this repertoire with my colleagues in Tafelmusik and our audience.
One of the challenges in putting together the "Bella Napoli" program was figuring out how to involve the orchestra in the popular songs. Traditional music has been transmitted orally through the centuries and there is not much written down. For this reason Lucas and I had to come up with some arrangements. We had to write variations, bass lines, and think about what colours in the orchestration we needed, leaving open some room for improvised solos.
I can't wait to hear how these arrangements will sound on our first rehearsal!
Scaturchio - Naple's oldest pasticceria