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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Never mind the arpeggios, what shall we have for lunch?

How food and music go hand in hand

Casa Cozzi, Treviso, June 2010

Here I am sitting at a long table with students about to enjoy a pasta dish. It was taken in 2010 at the Treviso Guitar Summer School in Italy. Every morning, the first question was not about scales or arpeggios but “what shall we have for lunch?”

After this year’s Summer School I went directly to another wonderful, but very different part of Italy – Val Sabbia near Brescia, a two hour drive out of Milan. There I presented a concert with my great friends and colleagues Claudio Piastra and Flavio Cucchi. We call ourselves the New Guitar Trio. We rehearsed for a couple of days in a mountain retreat 800 metres high in the Parma hills. All around were trees and fields and hills. All I could hear were the sounds of tractors, dogs barking and the occasional car winding around the steep bends. Hidden in the trees, a short walk away, was a restaurant with an elderly but sprightly lady providing delicious home-cooking.

June 2011 arriving in the Parma hills for rehearsals

On the third day of my arrival we recorded a few pieces from the programme in an 8th century church. At lunchtime the three of us, together with the recording engineers and producer, went for a proper sit-down meal in a nearby restaurant. For the first 10 minutes or so they spoke earnestly and in detail about the preparation of various dishes. I thought to myself: only in Italy would seven men dining alone do such a thing!

The concert in Val Sabbia was in a church with a jovial and helpful priest called Don Dino. The organiser is the enterprising and far-thinking Nico Bello who brings together local communities, traditions, music and yes, food, to create special events and festivals. He has done so with twenty communities already. After the concert we all went out – you’ve guessed it – for a wonderful meal of local hams, handmade pastas, various cooked meats and lots more.

So, after spending two weeks in Italy I returned to London. Today I am playing in Pakenham near Bury St Edmunds, again in a beautiful church. I am told that during the interval snacks and drinks will be available in the marquee. After the concert I am invited to a proper sit-down meal.

Music and food have gone hand in hand during these past few weeks, as they did for Duke Orsino even more extremely in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:
“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

The idea was to get rid of his love sickness by over-indulging in food and music to the point of nausea. No need for that, I say, just stop short of that and enjoy all three – music, food and love!

Visit the restaurant at:
Hotel Parco della Fonte,
Vallio Terme,
Brescia, Italy
http://www.parcodellafonte.it

July 2011

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=612 .
© 2017.

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