A Stradivari in Philadelphia

Mar 28, 2013 1546

The AIS and the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia invite you to

A Stradivari in Philadelphia

Matteo Fedeli plays the valuable Antonio Stradivari violin of 1726 "ex Adams Collection"

Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 6:00pm at The Ethical Society Building in Ritternhouse Sq, Philadelphia

This event is free and open to the pubblic. Space is limited, please RSVP at 215 735 3250

Matteo Fedeli participates in over 80 events each year – including concerts, auditions, and extraordinary performances on the most famous Italian and international television programs. To date, he has played on 24 Stradivari instruments, entrusted to him from important private collections, museums, and institutions, including the city of Cremona. Most of the instruments belong to the "golden age" of the great Cremonese maker Antonio Stradivari.

His concerts are held in castles, churches, monasteries, shrines, concert halls, and in the most famous theaters. He is often accompanied only by a piano, but occasionally bridges into a large symphony orchestra and choir. He recently performed at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, as well as at the main cathedral in Milan in front of 5,000 people.

Tonight's program for violin and piano is a varied and memorable repertoire. Fedeli selected it especially to enhance the beautiful timbre and acoustic qualities of the violin, which are well suited to different musical styles across the ages.

Saint-Saens, Bartok, Williams, as well as Kreisler and Rachmaninoff, are just some of the composers included in the program. There is also a musical interlude dedicated to piano soloist Andrea Carcano.
Throughout the concert, Mr. Fedeli intersperses music with historical facts and trivia about the program and the valuable violin.


Gaetano Pugnani (1731 – 1798); Fritz Kreisler (1875 – 1962)

Preludio e Allegro This passage exemplifies the style of eighteenth century Italian composer Gaetano Pugnani. Recent studies attribute the authorship of this piece to Fritz Kreisler, whom Pugnani imitated in detail. However, this composition aside, the connection between Kreisler and Pugnani is tenuous. Suffices to say that Kreisler revised this "Prelude and Allegro" while he was the owner of the 1726 Stradivarius violin played tonight

Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934)

Salut d'Amour Op. 12 In the summer of 1888, Edward Elgar dedicated a short piece of music called "Liebesgruss" to his future wife Caroline Alice. This composition bears the inscription "A Sedge" (a contraction of the two names Caroline and Alice). Elgar wrote three versions of the piece: for piano, for violin and piano, and a string arrangement. All three were published by the editor Schott. Apparently, with the approval of Elgar, Schott renamed the work "Salut d'Amour", sure to achieve a wider international recognition.

Camille Saint-Saens (1835 – 1921)

Danse Macabre op. 40 This symphonic poem was written in 1874 for voice and piano – and as such it was called a "chanson" (a song). The composer later rewrote it for a large symphony orchestra, thus continuing the piece's natural progression into the Baroque period. It includes fascinating timbral effects and, step by step, develops the text of the sonnet "H. Cazalis", which was inspired by Saint-Saens himself. The first performance of this piece was held on January 25, 1874 at the Concerts Colonne in Paris.

Intermezzo, by Andrea Carcano Solo piano performace – chosen by Fedeli.

Nicolò Paganini (1782 – 1840)

Cantabile Op. 17 At the end of 1805, Paganini was appointed first violin soloist at the court of the Princess Elisa Baciocchi, sister of Napoleon, in the city of Lucca. The concert venue was the church of San Romano, where the compositions of Paganini were often played. Now converted into an auditorium, Matteo Fedeli performed there on December 20, 2012, where he played "Cantabile" in honor of the great violinist. The beautiful and passionate melodic sound is similar to the air of an Italian opera. The only difference is that, instead of a soprano or a tenor, the main melody is entrusted to the violin's solo voice.

John Williams (1932)

Devil's Dance John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor and pianist. In a career spanning more than six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable scores in film history, including Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Indiana Jones, ET the Extra Terrestrial, Schindler's List and several episodes of Harry Potter. The "Devil's Dance" is one of the songs, reworked for violin and piano, created especially for the soundtrack of the movie "The Witches of Eastwick."

Bela Bartok (1881 – 1945)

Danze Rumene These Romanian folk dances are six short compositions inspired by ancient melodic and rhythmic dances from the Transylvania region. Originally written in 1917 for piano, they were rewritten for a small orchestra by Albert Kocsis, and then reworked for tonight's performance.

Jocul cu bâta – La danza con il bastone (Allegro moderato)

Brâul – La cintura (Allegro)

Pe Loc – Sul Posto (Andante)

Buciumeana – La danza del corno di montagna (Moderato)

Poarga Românească – Polka romena (Allegro)

Mărunţel – Danza veloce (Allegro – più allegro)


Imagine a world of armed escorts and strict protocols for delivery and transfer. A world of extreme discretion and carefully planned diplomatic missions. This is the world where curators foresee every move and musicians play their instrument under watchful eyes. This is the world that recently focused on Matteo Fedeli and his project: "A Stradivarius for the People". His mission is to tour the world playing the best Stradivarius violins ever made.

Fedeli has been a councillor of the Academy String Concert Orchestra of Milan since 1990, and its first violin since 1995. He is an associate founder and active contributor of this organization. His career as a concert soloist has taken him to the most prestigious Italian concert halls, among which we find the Scala of Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Verona, the Assembly Hall in Geneva (United Nations), the Duomo in Milan, as well as in the country's most enthralling churches and basilicas.

He uses the world's best violins when performing, among which we find "Il Cremonese" of 1715, "Vesuvius" of 1727, "King of Prussia" of 1703, "Sandars" of 1695, "Maurin Rubinoff" of 1731, "DaVinci" of 1725, "Duke of Alba" of 1719, and "Reynier, ex Napoleon III" of 1681. With this latter instrument, the Holy See invited him to perform in a concert in honor of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Pavia, who then personally complimented him on his performance. Fedeli is particularly known for his interpretation of the Four Seasons Portene by Astor Piazzolla, where he used four Stradivarius violins – one for each season. The violins were those kept in Cremona's town hall.

Fedeli has been a guest on many famous television broadcasts on Italian television (RAI and Mediaset). His work is periodically reviewed in newspapers and magazines. His work is supported by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, and by the Region of Lombardy. At present, he is working on the project "A Stradivarius for the People", whose goal is to bring these magnificent violins to a wider audience for free. The editors of the main Italian newspapers awarded him the "Il Campione 2008″ prize for this project during a ceremony held at the Isimbardi Palace, seat of the Province of Milan.

His sensibility in combining charity initiatives with great musical events awarded him the Knightly Order pro Merito Melitensi (Malta). He is also a Knight of Merit of the Sacred Military Constantine Order of Saint George. Finally, he is involved with AISM, the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association.

Violino, Antonio Stradivari, 1726

Matteo Fedeli's violin was made by Antonio Stradivari in 1726. The bottom two pieces of the instrument are made of maple wood, with a golden vein that gives shine and depth to the marbling. The table and back are clearly arched, and the height of the bands is also noteworthy. Its features are so remarkable that the instrument is often included among the five or six violins worthy of the name "Grand Stradivarius". Stradivari built it – probably on commission – for artists seeking an even deeper, sweeter, and powerful sound than any traditional instrument could produce. The instrument was built one year after the famous "Da Vinci", and is made of the same beautiful wood.

Restoration focused mainly on the table and the bottom of the violin, but left its sound and tonal characteristics intact. A good portion of the golden-brown paint is still present, as is the original label.
Over the years, the instrument has been certified by prestigious and renowned families of luters, including Hill & Sons and Lyon & Healy. At the beginning of the 20th century, it belonged to the famous Austrian violinists Fritz Kreisler and Pablo de Sarasate, who repeatedly praised the magnificent quality of its sound.

More information about Stradivari and Cremona, please visit this page

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