My prevalent interest as an amateur musician is the lute. I started studying this wonderful instrument in 1986. I've played classical guitar for three years before without any teacher and so the level I reached was not so high. But playing guitar I noticed I enjoyed playing prevalently early music. Then I listened to a record by Eugene Dombois. I was astonished by the beauty of some pieces and in particular by the Sonata "L'Infidele" and the "Tombeau de M. de Logy" by S.L. Weiss. So when I casually, outside of a theatre, heard a conversation between two persons, and I realized that one of them was a luthier, I immediately grabbed the opportunity. I bought my first lute and started to study with a florentine lutenist, Gianluca Lastraioli. From time to time I attended summer courses held by Jacob Lindberg who is really a good teacher and a fine musician, but in general till the last years I did not study so regularly. I started really to improve when I finally decided to follow a regular annual course which is held by my teacher in a school of music. There I also started playing continuo with a small group of musicians.
Here you can listen me playing some Renaissance music (15/11/2002):
Francesco da Milano - Recercare
Anonino from Sienna ms. - Fantasia
Perino Fiorentino - Recercare
Thanks to Tony Chinnery for the professional recording!
Jacques de Gallot - L'Altesse Royale
This is our
ensemble named "L'Ensemble della Tabacchiera". The tabacchiera is the
snuff-box in English, and the name of our group refers to the habit of the
kings of the past to present a precious snuff-box to the good musicans they
invited to play in their palaces. We are not so good musicians as the virtuosi
of the past but the name seemed original to us.
Here we are,
warming up before the concert we gave here in Florence on December 7th, 1995.
"Warming up" in its real meaning here, because the temperature was probably not
more than 2 or 3C. This is the instrumental formation composed by traversiere,
recorder, gamba, virginale and archlute. Our full formation includes also two
singers, a soprano and a contralto.
Here I am in the
foreground. The lute you see here is my dear, old archlute that is the first
instrument I bought. As you can see it has double strung bourdons that make it
a quite difficult instrument to play.
And here we are in
This is just for
fun! It is a photo taken for an illustrated book about Italian Renaissance. I
think the book sells in the USA. I am the most ridicolous guy with the red hat
in the center!
Besides lute I also love singing and I have done since I was seventeen. Following the Italian stereotype, I am a tenor. I sang for many years in the choir of S. Maria del Fiore, the Florence cathedral. The musical quality in that case was not the best but the large number of the singers (~130) made singing there a unique experience. The conductor was an organist, a very good musician from whom I learned very much. Now I'm singing in a small "a cappella" vocal ensemble specialized in Renaissance poliphony and from time to time I collaborate with other choirs and groups in Florence to prepare specific programs or recordings.
Here I am singing in the Rigoletto choir. The opera was perfomed at the Roman Theater of Fiesole, near Florence. I'm the first from right.