The Perosian Year celebrates the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth


di M. Filotei

150 years have passed since the birth of Lorenzo Perosi, but it seems many more. One of the greatest musicians of the first half of the twentieth century, director of the Pontifical Music Chapel from 1898 until his death in 1956, lived several lives. The first has seen it performed all over the world, literally all over the world. In the second he was completely ignored. Now, on the occasion of the Perosian Year, which opens on December 21, we hope for a third life, that of the rediscovery of a real artistic treasure.

Today, in the Press Office of the Holy See, a press conference took place to present a series of initiatives, not only musical, designed to reconstruct the artistic and human path of a “complex and complicated” figure, as defined by Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, dean of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, in an intense, passionate and, as in his style, outspoken speech.

A complex and complicated figure

Why this definition, we asked Monsignor De Gregorio. In the first place, he underlined, “because of his life experience, which places him as a priest in a professional musical career of great depth: it is not the priest who knows about music, it is not the priest who has completed important musical studies and acquired professional skills in important music. He is a musician, he is a composer, he is an artist. All this makes him, as happens for all artists, overflowing with canons and stereotypes “. But it is not enough, he added, that we must take into account “the musical / cultural, ecclesial and ecclesiastical contexts that place him fully inserted in the vital ganglia of the Church as the ‘perpetual’ director of the Sistine Music Chapel, for another aspect on the margins”. A volume written by Luigi Garbini focuses precisely on the historical context in which Perosi lived, as well as on his style, which traces “all, or almost all, the misunderstandings gathered around his name”.

The Perosian Year enjoys the patronage of the Department of Culture and Education, represented by the delegate Monsignor Carlos Alberto de Pinho Moreira Azevedo, who underlined the importance of the operation in the context of a greater diffusion of sacred music, especially that of high technical quality and capable of rendering the text at its best.

A central role then belongs to the Pontifical Choir, as pointed out by the superintendent of the economy of the Pontifical Music Chapel, Monsignor Guido Pozzo, who, after a brief greeting, passed the floor to the master director of the vocal ensemble, Monsignor Marcos Pavan. It was he who announced the next performance of a Requiem Mass, with 4 odd voices, written by Perosi in 1912 for the funeral rite of Luitpold of Bavaria and then used for decades on the occasion of the funeral of cardinals, and for this reason called ” of the cardinals “. The event is organized by the BAM music record label, based in Geneva, represented at the press conference by Daniele Maggiore, CEO of Bam international.

Marcello Filotei per l’Osservatore Romano