A Tribute To Teresa De Rogatis

Album cover art for upc 5028421956275
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Catalog: BRI95627
Format: CD

Milani, Cinzia

Born in Naples in 1893, Teresa de Rogatis was a child prodigy who gave her first recital at the age of seven. She studied piano, composition, counterpoint, harmony, conducting and voice at the Conservatorio San Pietro in Naples. While in Egypt on a concert tour, she met and soon married a Swiss man of means living in Cairo, Paolo Feninger. Settling there in the 1920s, Rogatis helped to found the National Conservatory of Egypt, where she also taught piano and guitar for over 40 years. Her husband’s death prompted her retirement in 1963 back to Naples, where she lived quietly until her death in 1979. Her career as a teacher allowed little time for composition, but de Rogatis took a selfless attitude to her own work. ‘If teaching hundreds of young people about the poetry and beauty of music, instead of composing works and symphonies, means giving one’s life up, then that’s what I’ve done. But if some of these young people, who are now adults, can understand a Beethoven symphony or sonata and find in it solace and a guide for their own lives, then I will live in their memories just as I would have done in my works, and my life will have been equally useful.’ Her relatively slender output – 60 acknowledged works – is dominated by piano music, but de Rogatis also wrote instrumental songs and dances for the guitar, and a four-movement Sonatina of no less ready melodic appeal, all presented here by her modern-day counterpart, the Italian guitarist Cinzia Milani. In a personal introduction to the scholarly booklet note, Milani observes how de Rogatis ‘reconciled brilliant virtuoso flair with an elegantly feminine touch, even when the overall tone is jocular or ironic.’ Milani’s decision to record this music on a distinctly modern instrument is part of ‘an imaginary dialogue between different periods and the changes they heralded: like glancing backwards while walking towards the future.’

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