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 Post subject: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:36 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 798
Location: Italy
As anticipated in a previous topic, I have been asked by the Mayor of Lauriano (Italy) if, by order of the Prefect of Turin, I could organize some events to commemorate the Warld War I centenary. Alas the budget was zero (as it is customary in Italy...) but, knowing that I am officer of an international organization (the Union of the European Historical Military Groups - http://www.uewhg.org), the Mayor hoped that I could come up with something in spite of that.

I tried to suggest, among other things, a "gramophone concert" evening to be held in the Town Hall, a proposal which has been immediately confirmed and also officially patronised by the Town of Lauriano as well as the UEHMG. The "gramophone concert" was named Il Suono Della Grande Guerra, in english the sound of the Great War, a name under which WWI is more often referred to in Europe, and was held the evening of May the 24th 2015, exactly 100 years after Italy went to war against Austro-hungary and Germany by crossing the river Piave.

I proposed a mixed program of period military and fanfare songs, interspersed with less aulic trench songs; in two themed sections, operatic arias sung by preminent period opera singers as well as a selection of typical popular songs of the time were played. I introduced all records with a short foreword in which the battles described in the lyrics or the lives and careers of the singers were recalled.

Although this was a small event in a small town, it has proven to be of resounding success, even receiving press coverage. Compliments and congratulations by those who attended the "concert" are still echoing around, and I have received iterated requests of repeating it (requests which I may indeed accept, perhaps performing it again in other nearby towns of the area).

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, as I was afraid that many people would go back home after 4-5 records or after the coffee break. Fellows on this forum are accustomed to songs of that age and love them, but can a casual listener get in touch so rapidly with a music that is so old? Also, I could bet that - excepting my wife and few others - most people was afraid of assisting to a boring evening with one boring old song after another, played with a crackling, fluttery thin sound at a ridicolous volume, as in the worst TV-comedy clichés. So I decided to revert in my favour the "suprise-effect" of gramophones' sound quality, by purposedly opening with the National Anthem played at the loudest volume that the loudest gramophone could deliver, to make it instantly clear to everyone that a true gramophone is no joke. 8-)

Well, it worked: nobody left the hall until the very last record had been played! :) But perhaps the key was also in the historical forewords: although necessarily sized as quick sketches, they have been greatly appreciated, way more than I thought. The pleasure of being put - with quick informal introductions - in condition to actually understand the message of the song and the music, had the effect of letting the listeners feel in touch with those distant years and those soldiers. It ended up with ladies hugging me while weeping of commotion, and with bonebreaking pats on the shoulders and vise-like handshakes by gentlemen. Success!!! :o With no doubt the songs have been deeply "felt" and empathysed by the audience!

The evening has also been enriched by the presence of fellow reenactor Gianlorenzo Boano, who kindly accepted to display his WWI Italian officer's uniform replica to the audience.

I think that few words on the selected gramophones are expected here. I carried to the hall an HMV Senior Monarch to play the most emphatic operatic arias or fanfare songs, while a Decca "trench" was used for more humble (but more touchy, in many cases) trench choirs. Finally, a Columbia 112a Viva-Tonal was used to play later recordings of period songs, when a period recording was not available. However, to my surprise, the humble Decca "trench" obscured his bigger brothers and was unanimously elected the mascot of the evening by the audience. Many people came to see it up close and asked details on how it is operated. The fact that that cute little machine actually saw the trenches in the wake of the British allies seemed to struck them particularly.

Once again I strongly encourage all those who own the appropriate machines and records to be enterprising and to organise events like this one. People really love music and history, especially when they're not proposed to them as a boring frontal lesson but as vivid, living things. :)

Thanks for reading, and please enjoy a selection of pictures taken by fellow photographer and fellow physicist Gianpaolo Filippa!


Attachments:
File comment: The promotional poster of the evening.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 01.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 01.jpg [ 1.26 MiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: The "Stage".
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 02.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 02.jpg [ 639.33 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: A quick foreword.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 03.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 03.jpg [ 317.7 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: Setting the Plano-Reflex arm of the Columbia Viva-Tonal 102a.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 04.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 04.jpg [ 590.52 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: Regulating the next gramophone while another is playing.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 05.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 05.jpg [ 414.79 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: Captain i.TR. Gianlorenzo Boano displaying his WWI officer's replica uniform to the audience.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 06.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 06.jpg [ 432.71 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: Introducing the next record.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 07.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 07.jpg [ 394 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]
File comment: Rewinding the crank!!!
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 08.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 08.jpg [ 462.36 KiB | Viewed 1782 times ]


Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:39 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 798
Location: Italy
.


Attachments:
File comment: Still life.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 09.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 09.jpg [ 539.93 KiB | Viewed 1781 times ]
File comment: Listening to a voice of 100 years ago.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 10.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 10.jpg [ 272.61 KiB | Viewed 1781 times ]
File comment: A special guest.
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 11.jpg
Il Suono Della Grande Guerra - 11.jpg [ 451.92 KiB | Viewed 1781 times ]


Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:04 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:18 am
Posts: 946
Excellent, Marco! the photos are very good and give a good idea of the show. The gala attire and the military also add to the ambiance. A presentation like this requires histrionics to keep the interest of the audience, and to arouse their curiosity to listen to the songs. Congratulations!

Which songs did you play?


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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:45 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 798
Location: Italy
Thanks for your kind words, Carlos, I truly appreciate them! Although it may look simple and easy to improvise, instead it took a lot of time to organise this evening: tracking new records to improve the list, checking the correct playing speed for each record and the best needle type (soft, loud...), doing historical researches (authors, meaning of the lyrics, etc.), trying the playlist and the songs' order over and over again... But it has been a rewarding effort, at last!

You're right: indeed many told me that I revealed unexpected "histrionic" qualities!!! :D

Here you have the playlist, although I suppose that most songs will say little to you as they're typical of the Italian Army or popular tradition:

Code:
1 - Il Canto degli Italiani (Italy's national anthem)
2 - Bombardano Cortina (S.A.T. choir)
3 - Sul Cappello (Garda fishermen's choir)
4 - La Bella Gigogin (mixed choir)
5 - Inno di Garibaldi (Reali Carabinieri choir and fanfare)
6 - La Leggenda del Piave (Daniele Serra, tenor)
7 - La Tradotta che parte da Torino (demobilized soldiers choir)
8 - Le Grandi Manovre (Banda de Milano)
9 - Addio Tabarin (Daniele Serra, tenor)
10 - Come una coppa di Champagne (Franco Tumminello, tenor)
11 - La Bandiera Tricolore (La Patria choral society)
12 - Monte Nero / Di là dal Piave / La Rosina Bella (ex-fighters choir)
13 - Dove sei stato mio bell'Alpino? (demobilized soldiers choir)
14 - Il Testamento del Capitano (S.A.T. choir)
15 - Soldato Ignoto (Daniele Serra, tenor)
16 - Visione Veneziana (Titta Ruffo, baritone)
17 - Il Trovatore, "Di Quella Pira" (Enrico Caruso, tenor)
18 - La Traviata, "Sempre libera degg'io folleggiare" (Amelita Galli-Curci, soprano)
19 - Sul Ponte di Bassano (S.A.T. choir)
20 - Le Campane di San Giusto (Belmonte choir)
21 - Come porti i capelli / Ufficiale di picchetto / O macchinista / Era bella come gli orienti (ex-fighters choir)
22 - Beethoven's IX symphony, "An Die Freude" (European Union anthem)


Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:10 am 
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VTLA
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A great idea well executed! Thank you very much for sharing the story and pictures of this event.

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:47 am 
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Victor VI
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Well done! Just wish I could have been there to see it.

Clay
Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume's Laws of Collecting
1. Space will expand to accommodate an infinite number of possessions, regardless of their size.
2. Shortage of finance, however dire, will never prevent the acquisition of a desired object, however improbable its cost.


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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:51 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:41 pm
Posts: 386
Really Nice, Concerning WW1----have you ever seen, The Talking Book Corporation's---the Submarine Attack or The Battle of the Marne? A different way to tell and show the history of as it was then. Very nice to see your presentation appreciated by those there and here reading and viewing your post. Thank You.


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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:07 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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It looks like a very nicely prepared and well-executed program. Congratulations!

This is the sort of activity that will help elevate our hobby/interest. It looks like a beautiful and interesting venue as well - - nicely lit. :)

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:26 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
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Location: Italy
Dear Andreas, Clay and George, thank you very much for your kind messages. I'm glad that the text and pictures could - to some extent at least - relay the emotions of that evening. :)

emerson wrote:
Really Nice, Concerning WW1----have you ever seen, The Talking Book Corporation's---the Submarine Attack or The Battle of the Marne? A different way to tell and show the history of as it was then. Very nice to see your presentation appreciated by those there and here reading and viewing your post. Thank You.


Thank you Emerson. I seem to know only the movie Submarine Attack, which is Italian by the way and is titled La Grande Speranza, that is "The Great Hope" (don't know why the title has been so poorly translated in english). But isn't it about World War II?

Instead, I can't track down The Talking Book Corporation's and The Battle of the Marne. Who were the directors?


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 Post subject: Re: A "Gramophone Concert" to commemorate World War I.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:34 am 
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Victor VI
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Wonderful Marco! Bravo!

Best,
Fran
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"Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" - the unappreciative supervisor.


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