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La Valletta – Europe Day celebrated with concert of rare pieces by Antonino Reggio

With an event of utmost musical value and significance for Italian and Maltese ties, the Italian Institute of Culture (IIC) in La Valletta celebrated Europe Day a few days ago, in its prestigious Baroque Grand Hall. The guest of honour of the evening was Eddie Fenech Adami, the President Emeritus of the Republic of Malta. In presenting the concert “Antonino Reggio: a man of great intellect, erudite, and very deep in music”, the director of the IIC, Salvatore Schirmo, retraced the different phases in the creation of the European Union, which drew inspiration from the Ventotene Manifesto that Spinelli and Rossi wrote in the middle of World War II, invoking the European values of peace and unity advocated in Schuman’s historical declaration of 1950, which gave rise to a new form of cooperation for Europe which banned all thoughts of a war between European nations for over six decades. Director Schirmo then passed the floor to Prof Anthony Hart – a member of the Italian Society of Musicology and of the International Musicological Society, who spent 15 years of his life studying the life and work of the Italian harpsichordist Monsignor Antonino Reggio – praising the English musicologist for his intense research work on the talented 18th Century Sicilian priest. The vocal pieces were performed by renowned soprano Gillian Zammit, the keyboard sonatas and accompaniment by Ramona Zammit Formosa, and the violoncello sonatas and accompaniment by Simon Abdilla Joslin, all top musicians well known in Malta and abroad. Before being rediscovered in 2000 in a German library, Antonino Reggio’s music had been forgotten for over two centuries. Reggio’s musical compositions comprise masses, oratorios and sacred songs, secular arias, sonatas for harpsichord, sonatas for two cellos and sonatas for lute and bass. The pieces in this concert, performed for the first time in over 240 years, will include arias for solo soprano, sonatas for keyboard and sonatas for violoncello.