Saturday, September 15, 2018

Please, no applause at the farewell

Claudio Scimone (1934-2018)

(Rome) On September 6, the well-known Italian conductor Claudio Scimone died in his hometown of Padua. With his last will he set an example and rejected a bad habit.

During his studies with Dimitri Mitropoulos and Franco Ferrara, he worked as a music critic in the 1950s. He gained international fame with the chamber orchestra I Solisti Veneti, founded by him in 1959, which he directed until his death. The discography recorded with this orchestra by Scimone includes around 300 recordings. Scimone's Vivaldi discography alone includes more than 250 works. He has conducted a variety of orchestras worldwide, from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London to the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, the Belgian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the French Radio to the Bamberger Symphoniker, to name a few. Overall, the number of concerts conducted by Scimone on all continents is estimated at over 6000.

From 1961-1974 he taught chamber music at the Conservatory in Venice first, then that of Verona. From 1974-1993 he was director of the Conservatory of Padua. From 1979-1986 he directed the orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in addition to Solisti Veneti, whose honorary conductor he became after that time. His academic research was mainly works of the 18th and 19th centuries. These included the reconstruction of the Vivaldi opera "Orlando Furioso".

The Requiem for the maestro took place last Saturday at his request in the Chiesa degli Eremitani in his hometown of Padua. Napoleon Bonaparte had closed the church and the former Augustinian monastery in 1806, where once Martin Luther spent the night of his trip to Rome in 1511, when the then Augustinian priest spoke better of Rome than the "reformer" Luther a few years later.

The monastery is no longer there, but the church with its magnificent frescoes from the 14th century has served the Catholic cultus again since 1808. Not only did the maestro want his funerary office to be held here, but in death he gave a lesson on decent behavior and liturgical bad habits.

In the church, his last will was read out, asking the congregation not to follow the fashionable bad habit of applauding in the church or cemetery "but to say goodbye to them both inside and outside the church" to renounce applause to match the seriousness and meaning of the moment.

This desire was followed by the more than a thousand present, including the President of the Italian Senate, the church rights activist Elisabetta Alberti-Casellati (Forza Italia), which is why the coffin of the great musician and Christian believers reposed in complete silence after the Requiem, at which his Soloisti Veneti played, as he was carried from the church, accompanied only by the prayers of the priest and the ringing of the death knell, as it is customary in Italy as "Ausläuten".

Text: Norberto Zuccalà / Giuseppe Nardi
Picture: MiL
Trans: Tancred

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