In October 2016 I was invited for the first time to present at an international conference, organized by the Conservatory of Reggio Calabria in Italy. I was talking about the use of the Italian salterio in Vivaldi’s music and its related performance practice. It was a beautiful experience, as I could share this special moment with my lovely and intelligent supervisor Teresa Chirico, who guided me trough preparing my presentation and helped with language issues at the spot… And we had lots of good food!
… was a big challenge for me. Being used to play the Hackbrett with two sticks since I was a child, I was quite frightened to study a completely new playing technique in adulthood. Day by day, I studied, being an autodidact, having just the Early Sources on salterio and the instrument by Michele Barbi as a teachers. But these teachers were incredibly efficient – the salterio from 1725 taught me through its sound, how it needs to be plucked and soon many crucial questions on the pizzicato technique could be solved. The picture below shows my first performance with the pizzicato technique, playing Vivaldi’s salterio-Aria “Ho nel petto un cor sì forte”…
In 2016, it was time to found an ensemble to present the Italian salterio repertoire to the audience, having now the perfect instrument for doing so. Our first activity was the recording of our first CD “Sacred Salterio” in the church of St. Gerold (Vorarlberg/Austria). I was honored to work with fabulous musicians – Miriam Feuersinger (soprano), Jonathan Pesek (violoncello) and Deniel Perer (organ) – and a very experienced sound engineer: Markus Heiland from Trituonus Musikproduktion! It was not easy to record a full CD of challenging cantatas for salterio obligato, just after one year of playing this instrument. But we did it… 😊
Like a irony of destiny, I returned to Basel in September 2015, just one year after having graduated in Contemporary Chamber Music at the Hochschule für Musik Basel. This time, I inscribed just at the building next doors, at the famous Schola Cantorum Basiliensis to gain knowledge on historically informed performance practice. I am grateful for the intense two years I spent here – and the beautiful morning walks on the Johanniter-Brücke to have a room with a harpsichord to practice on…
In Spring 2015, I got accepted at Leiden University for a doctorate trajectory (docARTES) on the history and the playing techniques of the 18th century Italian salterio. I am very happy to be supervised by Ton Koopman, Dinko Fabris, Teresa Chirico and Frans de Ruiters! My fellow students and I are trained in the inspiring Orpheus Institute in Ghent – a life full of new knowledge, conferences, presentations and writing starts….
In Spring 2015 I started my first researches on the history of the Italian salterio. At random I chose Bologna – and I fell absolutely in love with this city.
After having read thousands of pages of 18th century documents, I was many testimonies on salterio practice richer! It was an absolutely fabulous time!
Suddenly after having bought the salterio, I had to decide some crucial questions about the restoration process: How should I let it restore? And most of all: by whom? Should I give it to the hand of an instrument builder, specialist for making sound a piece of wood? Or should I give it to a restorer, experienced with early instruments but never with the aim of making them sound again?
I have decided for the latter! And it was a good decision!
I finally trusted in the skills of Massimo Monti, Roman specialist for early Italian harps and salteri and I was very grateful for his courage to do it!
One year later, in Spring 2015, it was done: I could hear and feel for the first time the sound and the resonance of this unique salterio – it was finally clear that this acquistion was a spectacular one!
I definitely can not describe in words how I felt when playing my salterio from 1725 for the first time! THANK YOU, MASSIMO!!!
… in Spring 2014, I was in the final months of advanced Master studies for contemporary chamber music. I definitely not intended to become a specialist for 18th century Italian salterio music. BUT life had another plan! The unexpected opportunity to buy this beautiful salterio by Michele Barbi (built in Rome in 1725) was the starting point of the most incredible journey of my professional life. I didn’t doubt a second when seeing this salterio for the first time – I just felt “YES” inside… The next day it was mine. ❤️