The Malta Independent 5 June 2020, Friday

Rare instruments dating back to the Baroque era have been inherited by the Manoel Theatre

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 18 September 2019, 13:14 Last update: about 10 months ago

Manoel Theatre has just inherited a number of rare and valuable instruments, left by George Debono, which date back to the Baroque era.

The instruments include a Broadwood piano which dates back to 1888, which has been restored with financial aid coming from The Friends of the Manoel.

"We are pleased that this piano has been restored to its full glory and will be part of the Mozart Ensemble DeNote concert", said representative Carmen Gatt Baldacchino.


The piano will be the first of the acquired instrument to be played at the Mozart Ensemble DeNote concert which will take place on Wednesday 13 November. The concert is in memory of Dr George Debono. Alongside Gatt Baldacchino were two of Debono's heirs, Marie Cabourdin and Paul Debono.

Other instruments include two viola da Gambas which date back to the 15th Century - a  bowed string instrument, played similarly to a cello. This was one of the most widely used instruments in the Renaissance and Baroque Period.

There is also a Baroque stylecello, which is bigger than the normal and which is characterised by having a lower pitch. Two beautiful clavichords are also part of the collection, which are string and keyboard instruments in a rectangular form which was used in the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance and Classical Eras.

Artistic Director of the International Baroque Festival and Manoel Theatre, Kenneth Zammit Tabona, who is also the nephew of the late George Debono explained how his uncle was a technical and unique person who always loved Baroque music, and especially loved Bach.

"Once I started the Baroque Festival, Uncle George became the 'doctor on call'. The first causality was a cello which was damaged on a plane coming over and we had to locate George who peddled on his bicycle with a hot pot of glue to mend this cello!" Zammit Tabona recalled many memories of George Debono. He also explained that two of the instruments were also on display most recently at the 'Music in Malta' exhibition.

 "As part of our strategy to further promote culture and the arts, Manoel Theatre has put a lot of effort in putting baroque in the foreground of the island's cultural activity, especially with the Valletta Baroque Festival," said Culture Minister Owen Bonnici. He stressed that it is important for people, NGO's and art enthusiasts to continue to support the  cultural sector.

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