L. Tarantino: "Cello In The Universe brings together a rare, refined and unexplored repertoire for cello solo"

by Federica Colucci

After traveling across Italy, the concert "Cello In The Universe" arrives in Cremona Musica 2019 and will be performed in the Sala Bergonzi on September 28th at 17:00, thanks to the skilled hands of Maestro Luciano Tarantino and his cello, a 1736 "Carlo Antonio Testore". Waiting for this fascinating appointment, that will delight both hearing and sight of our audience, the Maestro takes us behind the scenes of this project telling us of his birth, of the cello that has enchanted him "at first note" and the excitement of playing in the world capital of violin making.


Your event is called "Cello In The Universe". What is there behind this title?

"Cello In The Universe" brings together a rare, refined and unexplored repertoire for solo cello. This is a collection of musical pieces written for cello from all over the world that I thought I would make known through a traveling musical journey. Each piece brings with it the sounds and colors of its place of origin. Everything becomes a real sound and sensory experience with realistic traits.


How did the idea of presenting this particular exploratory concert format come about?

The idea was born from the desire to make the cello's thousand sonorous and virtuous potentials known and appreciated as a solo instrument. The recital aims to inebriate the listener who, enraptured by the enormous virtuosity, remains at times confused in listening to a cello that becomes both a melody and an accompaniment within a single music piece.


Combining music and video in a journey through time and space is not a simple undertaking. How do you choose the musical pieces for a concert of this type?

The pieces of "Cello In The Universe" are the result of a careful research lasting about two years in which I contacted living heirs of the great cello masters such as Rostropovich, Tortelier, Tcherepnin to whom I asked for original, unpublished and never performed scores. During my research, I discovered and met brilliant living cellists and composers such as De Ziah, Brey, Dzieg who honored me with being able to perform their compositions. The video images instead I chose thinking about the trips and the thousand paths made to get to these tracks.


Tell us about the instrument that has long accompanied you: the cello made by "Carlo Antonio Testore" from 1736. What characterizes it and how did it change you as a musician?

The Carlo Antonio Testore is the cello of my life, so many sacrifices and much desired, I saw similar ones in covers, magazines and cello books, I could never have imagined possessing it one day. I bought it in Cremona from a famous collector and violin maker (E.B.). It has a powerful sound, brings with it the 300-year history that is narrated every time it vibrates and resonates in any concert hall, it never leaves you alone, it is a solid presence, haughty, its sound is always impeccable in any context and for every acoustic. The feeling I got from playing it the first time was that of the perfect encounter between the cello and his cellist, this naturally encouraged me and pushed me to make it known to a wider audience that I hope to reach with my recording projects, to leave his and my memory to posterity.


You have just finished recording his third CD "Apuliae Suite" due out in October. Could you give us a brief preview of this new project of yours?

“Apuliae Suite” is the name of the collection of songs written by my friend and colleague pianist Roberto Fasciano, created thanks to the support of the Apulian region, which promotes Apulian talents. The compositions are inspired by Apulian landscapes and legends, evocative and descriptive passages that bring the listener back to the memory of lush and uncontaminated scenery as only my region can give.


Cremona for a cellist is not a city like any other. How do you feel about performing in this context and in Cremona Musica?

It's a bit like the Ferrari driver who races on the Monza circuit or visits the Ferrari factory in Maranello for the first time. Cremona is the city where every string instrument has been designed. It is a great emotion and I think that every violinist or cellist in Cremona relives the atmosphere of the times of Stradivari, the humility and greatness of the master, the smell of his workshop made of glues, paints, firs, and maples that become wonderful and incomparable musical instruments. Playing at Cremona Musica is playing for the World, it's playing for an audience that is moved by my same passion, love for music and for beauty, it's like if for a moment we were all strings of the same instrument ready to be tuned to give a special moment dedicated to connoisseurs from all over the world. A dream come true.