A Wonderfully Unusual Combination in Lucca

One of the concerts I attended in Lucca’s BASS2018 LUCCA (Sixth European Biennial Double Bass Congress and Festival running from July 30th to August 5th, 2018) was that held in the Boccherini conservatoire’s red room. The performers were Valentina Ciardelli (double bass), Anna Quiroga (harp) and Stefano Teani (piano).

It was a quite fantastic concert: lively, different, lyrical, surreal, fun, fab, with something to please all except for one person (wait till the end to find out).


The afternoon recital started with something frenetically Rossinian. It was a real challenge to play this piece in the mounting heat of a Lucca scorched by one of its hottest days.

The both lyrical  and witty second item was composed by Valentina.

Other pieces followed including some by Frank Zappa (Valentina’s sobriquet is ‘Zappawoman’).

Valentina’s pot-pourri arrangement of themes from Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’  paid elegant homage to Lucca’s most famous composer.

My favourite, however, was the Royal March from Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale played by Ciardelli and Quiroga (the duet otherwise known as the Girls in The Magnesium Dress).

If ever there is such a thing as an eclectic double-bass player then it is Ms Ciardelli; she is a superb performer, extracting every type of timbre and nuance from a very exacting instrument, a brilliant and clever arranger and a highly talented composer. Most of all Valentina is doing for the double bass the kind of job that James Galway did for the flute, nurturing people’s increasing appreciation for the double bass. Having such astounding team members like Teani and Quiroga does help…




(PS I have to add that the left hand of the management at this particular festival item didn’t know what the right hand was doing. Evidently, a pass was required for entry to the concert, although this was not clearly specified. A rather officious young man at the entrance let us in on the basis that I had written an article on the festival in ‘Grapevine’, the Lucca area English magazine. However, we found out when we’d returned home that there were two persons, arriving a little later than us, who were excluded from enjoying the concert because they didn’t have a pass. One was the editor of ‘Grapevine’; the other was her daughter, a professional harpist of some distinction. I thought this was quite unacceptable.)

5 Replies to “A Wonderfully Unusual Combination in Lucca”

  1. Dear Francis,
    This concert was a BASS2018Lucca congress recital, and it was not part of a festival.
    To attend at the recitals as at all the congress activities was required to be a congress member and a pass holder (this could be obtained for free if required for just one recital by the presenters who had familiars or friends).
    The article writes about a festival concert, for sure the author knows the difference between a festival concert and a congress recital, this information, taken probably from the presenter and the consequent invitation, was wrong, not the procedures at the building entrance, and not the exclusion of people that could not be accepted also for insurance and safety reasons without a pass.
    If who wrotes was accepted at the concert was lucky but this was absolutely wrong.
    The information was very clear to all the presenters including the one who performed this recital, it appears very strange to think that everybody was allowed to attend at the recital and to write what happened as an unusual thing.
    BASS2018Lucca was very clearly organized in two parts and it appeared on the press all over the world.
    It was absolutely new in the BassEurope congresses to have in addition of the congress activities, reserved to the congress members, the festival concerts without tickets and open to everybody.
    This recital was never included in the festival evening concerts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gabriele for your explanatory reply. If, however, you state the congress pass was free for just one recital attended by friends or relatives then why could not free passes have been more readily available? Anyway, the situation has passed and two of Lucca’s distinguished journalists, editors and musicians were rather disappointed.


  2. Dear Francis, I am Alberto Bocini, and of course I am also sorry for the way the matter went, however it was enough to ask for a Press Accreditation at the email addresses of Bass 2018 Lucca, as we did in other cases,
    Best regards, a.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s