Academic journal article Fontes Artis Musicae

Claudio Sartori: Bibliography of a Bibliographer

Academic journal article Fontes Artis Musicae

Claudio Sartori: Bibliography of a Bibliographer

Article excerpt

The second centennial of Giuseppe Verdi's birth was noted at the 2013 IAML Congress in Vienna, but at the same time another anniversary was remembered, one equally important for Italian musical culture of the world: the centennial of the birth of Claudio Sartori, born in Brescia (1 April 1913), but Milanese by adoption. In Milan, he devoted his activity as scholar, passionate researcher, and above all pioneer and promoter of music librarianship and bibliography. He died in Milan on 11 March 1994 as a guest of the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, now Casa Verdi.

His parents were probably well-known: in the 1903 Ricordi journal Musica e Musicisti, in its column "Fiori d'arancio" dedicated to marriages, one finds "In Turin, the editor Alessandro Sartori, brilliant theatre reviewer of the daily Sentinella Bresciana, marries professor Pia Treves" (1). His elder brother Rinaldo (1909-1981) became a brilliant scientist, director of the National Electrotechnical Institute "Galileo Ferraris" in Turin, president of the Italian Electrotechnical Association, and director of the Institute for General Electrotechnics at Turin Politecnico.

As a student, Claudio deepened his early interest in classical studies at the prestigious Liceo Arnaldo da Brescia with a solid foundation in piano and composition, skills he attained with the assistance of his mother, who taught Italian literature at the Calini High School, and was also a renowned translator and author of history, music, and music education.

Unlike his parents, who followed Fascism and its principles, Claudio, as his schoolmate, poet Vittorio Sereni stated, is "the only one already then ... constitutionally antifascist among us" (2). This attitude led him to search in every way to escape military service, in order to help his mother in the awful years of racial laws after 1938 (even if Catholic and Fascist, Pia Treves was persecuted for her Jewish origins, and her writings were registered in the infamous list of prohibited books) (3), and to adhere to the partisan movement after 8 September 1943, by joining the military group "Fiamme Verdi".

From his writings up to this period, it is possible to identify a predilection for research on the Middle Ages and Renaissance (e.g., studies on notation, his thesis on Prosdocimo de Beldemandis), and his fellow countryman Antonio Bazzini (1818-1897), violinist, composer, teacher, and then director of the Royal Conservatory of Milano, an artist that is still to be rediscovered.

During the Resistance, Sartori does not write about music, but of politics: he writes about news of the war, of Italian internal affairs, and of Partisan actions in the journal Brescia libera; later, he becomes the soul of il ribelle. In addition to publishing news and focusing on documents--entire issues are only reproductions of sources: official and internal documents of the Fascist government--he uses the pseudonyms of "Giovanni", "G.", "Pierino", and "P." on some thirteen articles between 1944 and 1945. His articles are often very personal: he professes his antimilitarism, his hate for war, army, and discipline, but he is always realistic; on 12 August 1944, in the article "Chiamata al dolore" (Call for Pain) signed "Pierino", he speaks of his wish that a normal life would come back as soon as possible:

   Purche finisca! E la parola d'ordine.
   Tutti la conoscono e se la passano. E un basso ostinato d'ogni
      discorso e d'ogni pensiero. Tra poco
   sara insegna di negozio e cartellone di spettacolo....
   Questi uomini che hanno paura di soffrire ancora, di piu.
   E sono pronti e maturi per la piu grande vigliaccheria. Torni la
      pace, la tranquillita, magari anche
   il fascismo purche la guerra finisca (4).

   [Provided it ends! It is the password.
   Everybody knows it and shares it. It is a basso ostinato of every
      talk and every thought. Shortly
   it will become a shop sign and show board... … 
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