Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Venice: The Basilica of Saint Mark’s – The Venice Foundation - The Mario Brunello Concert.

photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

Venice: The Basilica of Saint Mark’s – The Venice Foundation - The Mario Brunello Concert. Once again The Venice Foundation treated its patrons to an extraordinary concert in honor of the conclusion of the restoration of the Cupola of Creation. The Project, dear to the heart of the Venice Foundation’s president Franca Coin, who for fifteen years collected funds for this magnificent restoration which was celebrated with a concert by Maestro cellist Mario Brunello and his L’Orchestra d’Archi Italiana.  They performed works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Giovanni Sollima and John Tavener in the magical setting of the Basilica itself.

The Basilica of Saint Mark’s – The Venice Foundation - The Mario Brunello Concert.  Maestro cellist Mario Brunello was photographed in the Loggia dei Patriarchi the gallery where portraits of the patriarch’s of Saint Mark's are hung. Mario Brunello is a renowned worldwide Italian cellist and musician. The turning point in his artistic life was the 1986 victory of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. In 1994, Brunello founded the Orchestra d'Archi Italiana (Italian String Orchestra) starting double performing activities as a conductor in addition to that of soloist. During the years Brunello has widened his world going beyond classical music and working on projects that mix different artistic expressions and music genres with the aim to reach a wider public and to convey a new idea of music performances and musicians. To this idea he has devoted himself by turning a run-down factory sited in his hometown Castelfranco Veneto in a laboratory for concerts and for teaching, for conferences and for visual art exhibitions. This laboratory is named Antiruggine (Italian for Anti-rust) after the ironwork activity that the place used to host but also with the meaning of urging people to keep their minds awake and always working, "don't let your mind go to rust" is the motto.
 photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

Saint Mark's Basilica - The Cupola of Creation. If you look up, just inside the front door on the right of the Basilica, you can see the magnificent restoration of the Cupola of Creation. The cupola is also known as the Cupola of Angels because in each of the seven segments winged figures are depicted. The Cupola of Creation is the work of Venetian artisans who learnt the art of mosaics from the Byzantines in the XIII Century. Though the restoration is complete, fundraising continues.  For more information go to The Venice Foundation website and see all the other projects in the works that need your help.
Walter Hartsarich, president of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and Franca Coin, president of The Venice Foundation.

The Basilica of Saint Mark’s – The Venice Foundation - The Mario Brunello Concert.  Mario Brunello explains The Protecting Veil piece composed by John Tavener which he splendidly and dexterously executed.  The Feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God was instituted in the Orthodox Church to commemorate her appearance in the Church at Vlacherni (Constantinople) in the early tenth century. John Tavener elucidates “In my piece entitled The Protecting Veil for cello and strings, I have tried to capture some of the almost cosmic power of the Mother of God. The cello represents The Mother of God and never stops singing throughout. One can think of the strings as a gigantic extension of her unending song.  The music falls into eight continuous sections and use is made of the eight Byzantine tones …., it is perfectly possible to listen to The Protecting Veil as ‘pure’ music but I think that it may be helpful if I recount what was in my mind during the composition. It is an attempt to make a lyrical icon in sound, rather than in wood, and using the music of the cellist to paint rather than a brush. The music is highly stylized, geometrically formed and meditative in character.” 

The Basilica of Saint Mark’s.  Pews are pushed aside to accommodate the deck chairs for the Mario Brunello concert.
Note.  The famous Lion of Saint Mark’s, traditional symbol of Venice on the carpets.  Also, note the marble wall that looks like a blurred watercolor and the mosaic floor, one of the many patterns found inside the Basilica.  I love the contrast between the hard marble mosaic floor and the softness of the wooden floor.

The Basilica of Saint Mark’s. One of the many patterns of the marble mosaic floors found inside the Basilica. There are 4,000 meters of mosaic that cover every surface of the church which date from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries.   The floors of the Basilica are credited with inspiring those in the rest of Venice.

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