The Malta Independent 26 March 2019, Tuesday

Concert Version Of Nani’s Messa del Naufrago at St John’s

Malta Independent Friday, 28 November 2008, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

For its annual flagship concert, APS Bank will be presenting Anton Nani’s Messa del Naufrago (1872) for male voices and grand orchestra at St. John’s Co-Cathedral on Thursday, 4 December. Taking part will be Joseph Aquilina (Tenor), Charles Vella Zarb (Tenor), Alfred Camilleri (Baritone), Anthony Montebello (Bass), Kor Mirabitur (male section), the Jubal Orchestra, with Rev. John Galea conducting.

Antonio Nani (1843 -1929) composed some of the most attractive music in the Maltese musical heritage and, while even his ‘short’ works show an admirable attention to orchestral colouring and tonal structure, it was in ‘long’ works that he excelled. One of these is the Messa in onore di S. Paolo Naufrago or, as it is usually called, Messa del Naufrago.

This massive work, of incisive luminosity and perceptive exploration of vocal and orchestral sonorities, is replete with fine melodies and at times uneasy grandeur. After writing the original version in 1871, the composer revised the work in 1882 and 1908 to bring it in line with changing times and liturgical requirements.

To this day the 1908 version is still being performed, making Nani’s splendid work, albeit in a modified form, the only nineteenth century grand mass still regularly heard in our churches making it the most performed composition by a Maltese composer.

But during the APS Bank concert, which will be under the distinguished patronage of Mgr. Pawl Cremona, O.P., Archbishop of Malta, it is the original version that will mainly be heard.

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