Stabat Mater by Tiziano Scarpa

By Tiziano Scarpa

In early eighteenth-century Venice an orphan lady discovers lifestyles and independence within the tune of Vivaldi. the feminine musicians of the Instituto della Pieta play from a gallery within the church, their faces part hidden by means of steel grilles. They stay segregated from the realm. Cecilia, is a violinist who, in the course of anguished, sleepless nights, writes letters to the mum she by no means knew, haunted through her and hating her through turns. She eats little and can't sleep. yet issues start to switch while a brand new violin instructor arrives on the institute. The dazzling song of Vivaldi, the 'Red Priest', electrifies her and alterations her perspective to lifestyles, compelling her to make a brave selection.

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Sample text

I don’t think so: Don Giulio no longer cares about music now, he’s constantly writing the same thing, has done for years now, always the same mass, the same motet, the same melodies, whatever the solemn occasion. He’s tired, he’s old, he repeats himself. We instrumentalists are almost all young, we put our young blood into this decrepit music. When we are playing Don Giulio’s music, I feel as if I’m wearing the dry skin of a flayed old saint, I fill it with my solid, fresh body. The frayed woman’s skin swells, dilates, rips.

Who’s to tell me that it wasn’t one of them who had got pregnant? I should confront the faces of all the little girls of about ten and the women of over twenty-five, to see if I can see any resemblance, some family connection between mother and daughter, perhaps… Lady Mother! As I was writing these words I shivered, I thought that the same thing could have happened to you, to me and to you. And what if it was you in there too? If you’d given birth to me in there as well? Maybe you live here, among the hundreds of women and girls who live in the Ospedale, and you look at me every day, and at night you secretly watch over me, you’re sleepless too, you’re huddled up somewhere in here waiting for me to come and visit you by writing to you, I who think you’re who knows where, without knowing that in fact you live in here and now you’re somewhere here nea Yesterday I stopped writing to you and wept.

It’s music written for people who no longer have the strength to do anything. Perhaps that’s why he gives it to us to play, since we’re prisoners of the Ospedale. What’s the difference between the oldest nuns and us? We’re always closed up in here, everyone, young and old, girls and nuns. Some nuns have at least chosen it, it’s their life. But us girls? Don Giulio writes this worn-out music to make us understand, to make us hear strettos within the rhythms of his concertos, to spur us to react, to find an escape route.

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