A “kaleidoscope” of music. Interview with M° Riccardo Centazzo

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Riccardo CentazzoThe maestro Riccardo Centazzo holds Diplomas Accordion and Choral Singing and Choir respectively at the Conservatories of Music “L. Cherubini” of Florence and “C. Pollini” of Padova. He furthered his studies at the Summer School of the Arts Academy of Rome, at the Scuola Superiore of Florence, at the Summer Courses of Talla (Arezzo), and at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena. He improved with Emilia Fadini, Andrea Coen and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini on the performance practice of the Baroque period. He completed his musical education by studying composition with Wolfgango Paolo Dalla Vecchia of Padova and Paolo Troncon of Treviso. Winner of major national and international competitions (Camalò, Genoa, Vercelli, Stresa and Rome), in 1989 he received the suitability of the Theatre “La Scala” in Milan in the “Artists on stage”. He has recorded several CDs monographs (G. Frescobaldi – Toccate, Canzoni e Ricercare; J.S. Bach – I Quaderni) for different labels. He is Professor of Accordion at the Music Conservatory “G.B. Pergolesi” in Fermo.


Let’s start from the beginning. Your curriculum reflects a very broad and diverse training. Diploma in accordion and choral singing and choral conducting, as well as having studied piano, organ, trumpet and cello. How does this training has influenced your work as a musician?

The study of the instruments that were mentioned finds its raison d’être in a very specific way of life: to become a complete musician; therefore, all subsequent steps were geared towards this direction. The piano, the rate for high quality of its literature, as well as a basic tool for the study of composition. The organ, because of the similarity mechanics, phonic and footage with the accordion. In addition, the ability to perform, analyze and compare on my instrument works by the greats such as Frescobaldi, Bach, Scarlatti, Handel and others, has been and is very rewarding. The trumpet because, in addition to being a childhood dream who listened to vinyl records for Eddie Calvert (trumpet gold of the 50s), is a wind instrument where sound cleaning and readiness of the attacks are very dependent on correct posture of the lips and mental attention and physical performer. Without losing, then, the importance of breathing lung in relation to the musical phrasing. The cello because I think, between the stringed instruments, is the richest, more warm and round sound. The technique of the bow, with all its possibilities and variations, I was very interested. Knowing how to use the bow effectively, you can achieve amazing effects with the benefits of clean sound, with particular timbre and dynamics. I tried, therefore, to carry on my instrument similarities (and differences) of these instruments, thinking and working every day on the sound, the sound on attacks with different registers, balance and independence phonic manuals, on reversed silent bellows, etc.

What are the repertoires that you play more often and that you’re more connected?

People, musicians and otherwise, who are listening to my concerts and critics who have reviewed my records, they noticed that my repertoire is very varied and ranges from music of the 1400s to the music of today. More than one person, however, emphasized my attitude by the ancient repertoire (Renaissance and Baroque) and, in part, agree with this view. Moreover, the two productions monographic trade on Frescobaldi (Videoradio 2000) and Bach (Ema Records double CD – “The Notebooks” in 2007) are concrete proof. However, I believe that the accordion, as a modern instrumetn that aims to be the synthesis from the keyboard instruments, should be known to the general public in all its forms (music, baroque, romantic, post-romantic, atonal, avant-garde, etc.), provided they are all works of high quality thick.

You often have the opportunity to play abroad. What kind of audience meet outside our country and how it differs from that Italian?

Abroad, my experience, I have always found an audience very attentive and open to listening to all kinds of repertoire, without prejudice, and respectful of others’ work.

Similarly, the Italian concert and music context is very different from that of other European countries?

In Italy the situation is, in general, a little ‘more varied but, fortunately, in recent years the attention and respect for the artist have improved tremendously although the rate cultural remains undoubtedly lower than in other European countries. As for the accordion, the instrument is still suffering from a popular back-ground so the artist, as well as having the task of engaging the public on an emotional level, it also has the role of “educating” the auditorium listening to works from the ancient, modern and contemporary language.

Among your experiences there is the project Duo cameristico and I Cameristi. Could you tell us about?

The Italian Duo cameristico and I Cameristi are two different ensembles, playing and artistic content, but both together in order to structure a credible repertoire of chamber music with the accordion. The Duo, since its inception in 1995, has set out to discover little-known authors or scores; at the same time develop the original repertoire through collaboration or commission to composers, more or less famous, but innovative. The trio, however, ranges from the repertoire for keyboard (Vitali Marini, Haydn) to the so-called alternative repertoire (Pozzoli, Piazzolla) with the times and themes of dance but rearranged and lined with a scripture.

Can you talk about Caleidoscopio, your latest album?

My latest album, Caleidoscopio, its essence is in the title as a constantly kaleidoscope changing images, shades of colors, shapes, etc. In eighty minutes so you can listen to musical genres among the most diverse: from Baroque atonality, since avant-garde post-romanticism. All this, however, organized within a specific “modus operandi”, well-defined, weighed and concentric structure that the American critic Robert Stead summed up in these words: “What I find fascinating about this album is the choice and the ‘order of the songs. Could be considered as a concept album. I am reminded of the disc Pink Floyd – “Dark Side of the Moon”. Each track of the CD by Centazzo is great but the whole is even greater. You can find the genius in the compilation of the program. The artist demonstrates the power and capacity of the accordion to express a kaleidoscope of tones and moods. This album not only entertains, informs “.

What are your plans for the near future?

I have several projects for the foreseeable future, both in Italy and abroad. Some production companies, video “educational”, publications, seminars and masterclasses. I will not go into detail but I can anticipate that next August, 23-29, I will be visiting in Sulmona Association ” Spazi Sonori” for a summer course completion.

Autore: Daniele Cestellini

Daniele Cestellini ha scritto 752 articoli.

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