|‘For me as an artist, direct contact with the audience is the ultimate value and the highest privilege,” says Italian tenor, actor and musicologist Marco Beasley, co-founder of Accordone, one of the world’s leading early music ensembles. The ensemble will perform at the Eilat International Chamber Music Festival in early February. Beasley stresses, “We are humans, not robots. We need to communicate.”
In a phone interview from his home in Naples, Beasley talks about the ensemble he formed 30 years ago with two friends.
“We devoted ourselves to early music; it was a true passion for us. Originally there were three of us – Guido Morini, Stefano Rocco and me. Later on we were only two. Stefano had twins, and things became complicated for him. But he is still with us,” he says.
Beasley goes on to explain that “The language of early music, this repertoire of the Renaissance and of early Baroque, was very close to our hearts. At that time there was still a lot to discover. Ours was the generation that came right after the pioneers of the 1960-’70s. I was lucky. As a student of the University of Bologna, I spent hours at the immensely rich library of the Conservatorio di Martini. This library still has a huge amount of Italian early music. Guido and I did a lot of musicological research, and our love of this music was the lifeblood of the entire enterprise,” he recounts.
“Many things were happening in music between the Renaissance and early Baroque, and for me it is very interesting to explore this period, without forgetting that we are people of our time. So what we were doing was cleaning it from the dust of the centuries – but inside, this music is fresh and absolutely young. The way they composed music at that time is really touching.
It reaches straight to your heart, not your head. There are aspects of this music, such as its harmonic elements and composition, as well the texts, that make this music direct and easy to perceive,” he says.
Explaining his love of the music of that period, Beasley says that despite the centuries of difference, Italian early music has many similarities to what is being sung today, “especially the image of a singer who at the same time was an actor, as well as the themes, like love, above all.”
At the festival in Eilat, Accordone will present two programs. “Storie di Napoli,” in which Italian folk dancer Silvia Pirone will participate, is dedicated to Neapolitan music.
“I was lucky to be born in Naples,” says Beasley. “Lucky because it is a very musical city, full of high culture. In essence, it is very different from its image of poverty and dirt. The concert program spans the 16th century to today. It includes early tarantellas and songs of our late contemporary singers Lucio Dalla and Caruso. The latter epitomize the entire history of 19th-century immigration from Italy to the US, this farewell sea travel and the new life in the strange land.”
La Bella Noeva – The Good Message is the other program of Accordone. It is comprised of wedding songs, proposal songs and pure earthly joy. Like the ensemble’s first program, it covers a long period of Italian musical culture from Monteverdi to our days.