Greetings from Liliana Gorini, Responsible for Verdi Tuning Campaign of the Schiller Institute and President of the Italian Movimento Solidarietà.
Dear Guests and Members,
Tonight we have a special treat for you all: a concert performed in the "Verdi tuning" or scientific tuning pitch of c'=256 Hz (equal to a'=432 Hz).
The campaign to lower the tuning in order to revive the classical tradition and repertoire, was initiated in the 1980s by Lyndon LaRouche, who demanded that our own chorus and orchestra in the U.S. perform the Mozart Requiem at c'=256 in order to respect the key, color and registers shifts of the human voice intended by the composer. "Put scotch tape on the bassoons and oboes, but go back to the scientific pitch," LaRouche said at the time.
Returning to Milan after this performance, I found at the Milan Conservatory a letter of Giuseppe Verdi, dated 1884, which said pretty much the same: We should go back to the scientific pitch, because the sound of voices and instruments "is much more majestic than the high shrieks of today's high tuning." At the time of Verdi, many opera houses tuned up to a'=448, such as happens today in Berlin, Salzburg and elsewhere, as a result of a completely wrong conception of "brilliance" in the performance, demanded by Karajan and by record companies.
In 1988, we had the first international conference on the Verdi tuning in Milan, during which we introduced a petition to go back to it, signed by thousands of opera stars, including Placido Domingo, Monserrat Caballé, Joan Sutherland, Piero Cappuccilli (who attended the conference, and gave a now historical example in both tunings from a Verdi opera, which you can hear in our DVD).
Tonight, you will listen to one of those opera stars who endorsed our campaign, Antonella Banaudi, who will sing a Verdi aria and two Schumann Lieder in the Verdi tuning. You will also listen to our own orchestra and chorus, performing Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and Verdi's Va Pensiero in the same tuning. Thanks to the lower tuning, it is in fact possible for singers, instrumentalists and for you, the audience, to concentrate on the beauty of the piece, and the poetic message it transmits to you, rather than to what Verdi correctly called "the shrieks of an overly high tuning fork".
So enjoy the concert, and support our campaign!
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