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Italian musicians take Jeddawis back in time
By Mohannad Sharawi
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 21 - 10 - 2011

Saudi Gazette
Sometimes you don't need a time traveling machine to cruise back 150 years in time, back to the nineteenth century to the city of Naples, the bastion of the unification of Italy in 1861. Just leave it to the music composers of that Baroque era and operas time like Gaetano Maria Donizetti and their soulful music can take your soul back to that epoch. A group of musicians Sunday amazed the audience with their soulful music at a special musical concert called “Concerto Lirico” (Lyrics Concert) held at the Italian Cultural Center in Jeddah, marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. A group of four musicians performed at the concert, including trumpeter Mauro Maur, pianist Francoise de Clossey and two vocalists, Sarah Agostinelli and Adriano Gentili who flew all the way from Italy to Jeddah, especially to perform, marking the remembrance of their country's history. Saudi Gazette met with Mauro Maur and his fiance Francoise, after their performance to talk about their exclusive musical experience in the Kingdom.
Q. How does it feel being here in Saudi Arabia for the first time and performing on stage?
Mauro: It has been such a splendid experience and a very valuable visit to this lovely country for the first time. Before I came here to perform here, I performed with Francoise last night at Sami Al Angawi residence “Makkeyah”. We shared our musical presentation with some Saudi musicians who played the lute, violin and eastern flute. They were just amazing especially the lutist who amazed me with his Hejazi melodies.
Francoise: This is my second visit to Saudi Arabia. I was here last year on a similar occasion and I really had a great time here. The people are very kind and generous. I liked the local traditional music here at Makkeyah's. I really appreciate the oriental musical scales, also known as “Maqamat”. I merged some of the violist's pieces with my piano's western scales. The result was just a great fusion of music accented by two diverse spirits of music. I think the music is a universal language in which people belonging to all cultures can communicate with each other. I have visited other Arab regions and performed with some Arab musicians. Undoubtedly, Arab melodies are full of high spirits and emotions.
Q. How many pieces did you perform tonight and how did the audience respond to your music?
Mauro: We had planned to perform some ten pieces. However, the gleeful audience asked us to prolong the live show, so we did some extra romantic pieces.
Francoise: I personally felt like an ambassador representing my country and have conveyed a cultural message through my music performance to the Saudi people. I liked the diversity in the audience who belonged to different cultures and representatives of consulates like France, Germany, Ethiopia, Switzerland and Greece. To summarize, the music unified us.
Q. How long have you been performing and what is your musical specialty?
Mauro: I have been a trumpeter and an Orchestra musician in general since 1985. In addition I am also a conductor and composer for the theater, the television as well as the cinema. Moreover, I have played sound tracks in more than 100 films.
Francoise: I have been playing the piano since 2001. Before I met and collaborated with Mauro in 2003, I have participated in numerous recordings for radio and television. I have also played in important concert halls around the world. I like the classical genre and I am looking forward to collaborating with other famous musicians around the world.
Q. After performing with Saudi musicians, is there any feasibility of a future collaboration with them?
Mauro: Yes, indeed. I think we will visit the Kingdom again and discuss the possibility of making a musical project with some Saudi musicians. It will not be a commercial project, it will be a project to exchange musical experiences.

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