In August 2010 we had a unique musical event in our old church:
A concert by Assia Cunego of the minimalistic music of composer Simeon ten Holt.
We'll leave this information on this site until new events come up.
Simeon ten Holt (1923) is considered one of the most important Dutch composers of the twentieth century. He studied piano and music theory in his hometown Bergen, a Dutch coastal and artist village, and composition with Honegger and Milhaud in Paris in the 1950’s.
He experimented with tonality, serialism and surrealism, studied music physics and immersed in electronic music.
Simeon ten Holt worked on his magnum opus Canto Ostinato for several years. Its first performance, using three pianos and an electric organ, took place in 1979 at the Ruined Church of Bergen and was later performed in many places with different combinations of instruments as well as solo piece.
Canto Ostinato follows the rules of harmony and is built according to the laws of cause and effect, tension and relaxation. The work consists of 106 musical themes or "objects", joined via non-repeating musical bridges. The performers decide on the number of repetitions of each of these themes and their dynamic contrast.
Like a rotating glass object showing new colors and reflections, Canto Ostinato presents the listener with hypnotic new dimensions and unexpected musical metamorphosis. At three points in the work, a melody detaches itself from texture to create an emotional climax that subsequently dissolves.
In case the performer is a soloist, he or she can change the layout of the themes - each of which is assigned to different voices in the score - and combine them freely with each other.
The "celebration" of this music can last from half an hour to several hours, depending on the situation, the dynamics, the artist and the audience. This version of Canto Ostinato is Assia Cunego’s interpretation of the piece for concert or pedal harp, an instrument that produces a more transparent and permeable sound than the piano, while still being able to fill a large space.
The Italian premiere of this unique version of Canto Ostinato will be held August 27, 2010 in the ruins of the Church of Bussana Vecchia near Sanremo, just like Bergen a coastal and artist village. The duration of this performance will be about two hours, without a break.
Assia Cunego, born in 1983 in Rovereto, Italy, graduated with highest honors in harp at the age of 18 from the Conservatory of Brescia with Professor Anna Loro. She subsequently attended the Masterclass by Prof. Gisèle Herbet at the Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg (Germany). In numerous international competitions she won first prizes and scholarships, distinguishing herself by her great technical and interpretive skills. From the age of 19 years onwards she is a permanent member of the jury for the "Jugend Musiziert” competition in Germany.
In her career she performed predominantly in solo concerts throughout Europe, again and again gaining success and appreciation from the audience and favorable critics reviews. She made recordings and featured in radio and television broadcasts (RAI, Bayerischer Rundfunk). At the age of 25 she performed her 1500th public concert.
Since 2005 she holds harp master classes in Germany and Holland and teaches (since 2007) at the music school of Achim, near Bremen, Germany.
In the summer of 2008, Assia performed her interpretation of Canto Ostinato for solo harp at the closing concert of the Festival Simeon ten Holt of Bergen, in honor of the 85th birthday of the composer.
In 2009, Assia founded HarpACademy, a school dedicated to the art of playing the harp. HarpACademy currently supports 25 students, an orchestra of harps, courses, workshops, competitions and the first international college for harp.
Assia’s repertoire includes the most significant works of harp music, ranging from baroque to classical and from romantic to modern and contemporary, including jazz and entertainment. Her interests are also directed towards improvisation and church music. She lives in Bremen with her husband.
Ruined Church, Bussana Vecchia di Sanremo
In 1404, the main church of Bussana was completed. It is dedicated to Sant'Egidio (Saint Giles) and was built on the ruins of an earlier roman church.
On Ash Wednesday 1887, February 23, at 6 am, the first of a series of three earthquakes shook the French-Italian border region and marked the destiny of this coastal village. Many of the religious population fled to the church to seek shelter.
In just twenty seconds the second quake caused deaths and extensive damage: the ceiling of the crowded church collapsed and almost all the dwellings in the upper part of the village were destroyed, burying dozens of people.
Until some years ago, the church was closed to the public because of the risk of falling stones. After a partial restoration by the town of Sanremo to establish structural integrity, the Ruined Church of Sant’Egidio is now an extraordinary place open for all cultural events.