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Two old concerts of mine May 8, 2008

Posted by dorigo in Art, humor, music, personal.

I stumbled today into two old booklets advertising a concert. One in Conegliano, on Friday, March 13th 1981; the other in Udine on Wednesday, May 28th, 1980. These were times when I toured north-eastern Italy with the orchestra of the Venice Conservatory, directed by m. Fabio Pirona. I was a teenager, but I could already play the recorder (straight flute) rather well.

I remember that already back then I did not really think that a career in music would suit my taste nor my talents -my interest was not focused on Physics yet but I had a pretty good idea I liked science already- but I nevertheless enjoyed playing the part of the musician. Probably this has been some sort of constant in my life: I have been an amateur musician, an amateur astronomer, an amateur chessplayer, an amateur reporter and photographer, but then I decided to become a professional physicist. In other words I seem to have applied to arts, sports, and intellectual activities what is commonplace to do with sentimental relationships: women and men flirt with the most attractive counterparts, but end up marrying the one which promises more stability.

So what were we playing back then, in Conegliano and Udine (but also in Venice, Mirano, and other places I can’t even recall) ? The offer was a trio of concerts by Johann Sebastian Bach: the Brandemburg Concerts number V, IV, and III. I was the second flutist in the fourth concert, as you can see in the scans I paste below.

Above, the front page of the booklet of Concert season in Conegliano, 1981

…and the page with the three concerts, and a few signatures from my colleagues.

The one above is instead the leaflet advertising the concert in Udine…

…and the back, with the program of the afternoon.

I have warm memories of those concerts. In the one in Conegliano, we performed excellently the fourth concert (I remember I was really pleased of the outcome and by my own performance) until -at the very end of the third movement- my instrument had become soaked with condensed breath, and it literally dripped. The condensed moisture flowed down the hole at the end and, what’s worse, down the hole on the back, which is closed by the left thumb to play bass tones and only closed halfways -by using the fingernail- to play high pitches. And one of those high pitches was needed towards the end of the Presto, when in the culmination of a forte I had to play a high mi. The thumb was unable to close the hole the way it should have, and my instrument let out a broken note which was probably heard even by the ticket seller outside the hall. That evening was spent on a pleasant restaurant on the hills of Conegliano, with the whole orchestra having fun of me -but it was cheerful and I did not resent it.

In the concert in Udine another incident happened. I was rather tense (I think it was the first time we performed the concert outside the walls of our Conservatory) and when the fifth concert was over, the solists came backstage, and I went on stage with my buddy Francesco and the first violin Andrea. As we were about to sit down, I realized I had left my scoresheet backstage! A better player would have acted nonchalantly and played by heart, but I was too nervous -so I rushed back and grabbed it, re-entering on stage with the eyes of the public on me but, what’s worse, those of my director following me like a missile approaches a plane to be taken down.

Ah, memories… I wish I had a recording of those concerts! I remember the one in Conegliano was indeed recorded, and I was promised a copy of the tape which never came.



1. forrest noble - May 8, 2008


You play the flute, I play the double bass. Playing and performing music is great.

Listening to good concert / classical music is also great. I too reminisce regarding past musical excursions.

Was in Greece last year but haven’t been to Italy yet but plan to go maybe next year. I’ll be looking mostly for local popular music but may go to an Opera of concert.

your friend forrest

2. forrest noble - May 8, 2008

I guess I’ve spelled your name wrong based upon the program above. Tommaso, sorry about that.

3. dorigo - May 9, 2008

No problem, 3.0+-0.2% of the times my name is spelt, the mistake occurs. I know this as a fact through a direct measurement (see my post on the all-time search-engine terms of a week ago).


4. Fred - May 9, 2008

Bravo. Encore. Wonderful stories, Tommaso. I share your sentiments about playing music as a youth. Coincidentally, you have triggered many fond memories as my brother and I were fortunate enough to have played and toured over that region with a children’s orchestra when my family lived in Pordenone from ’62 – ’66. We played mostly Italian folk and traditional songs of the area. A beautiful, generous and serious man, Gino Sartore, was our direttore who organized many of our rehearsals in the courtyard outside of his farm house. He had us set up the chairs and music stands in the graveled dirt right next to the vineyards. On one occasion, his mother came screaming and running out of the kitchen chasing a chicken. The only problem was that the chicken didn’t have a head attached to it’s body. Blood was flying and it was scurrying throughout while we 40 kids or so were yelling and laughing our heads off. Our set was disrupted and now officially over but we were still treated to afternoon pasta, drinks and fruit which always was the case after rehearsals.

5. arcadianfunctor - May 9, 2008

Heh, that’s really cool! I also studied a lot of music when I was a youngster (clarinet, recorder, singing) but I was never very good (not a performance oriented person, let’s say). It’s definitely something I miss being a part of.

6. Michelle - July 20, 2008

This is really awesome! I played the Soprano Sax when I was younger for about 4 years and just recently got into guitar.

But I wont lie, I would have loved to play the piano or the violin, something a little more “classical”.

7. dorigo - July 20, 2008

Hi Michelle, thank you. The guitar is a wonderful instrument, don’t regret about the violin or the piano!


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