By Anna Lawton
[This article has been originally published in i-Italy. Click here to see the original article.]
An elegant public of about two hundred guests gathered at the Italian Embassy in DC, on March 22, to attend the “In Dreams Awake” concert in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Angelino Alfano, inaugurated the event saying: “The European Union is a success story. What unites us prevails over our differences, and the eagerness to be together is stronger than any disagreement.”
Ambassador of Italy, Armando Varricchio, who hosted the event, recognized the contribution of the United States to the European integration process in his introductory remarks: “It is particularly significant to celebrate here in Washington DC the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome and the start of the European project. The US contribution has been fundamental to the European integration process, with the launch, ten years earlier, of the Marshall Plan and by providing a constant support to Europe’s path towards peace, security, and prosperity.”
The evening’s highlight was the “in Dreams Awake” concert, with symphonies written for the occasion by Maestro Gabriele Ciampi. The concert began with the piece de rigueur, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which is the official anthem of the European Union. The creative arrangement of the Ode set the tone for the concert that alternated dreamlike moments with passages of emotional crescendo.
One piece, the Quartet in E minor, was of particular symbolic significance. In Maestro Ciampi’s words, “I want to present the Quartet in E minor,
which I composed for the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. It is a piece arranged for four different instruments with great emotional force and which aims, through the common melody, to unify their different sound characteristics. The search for this unity is at the basis of this piece, much like it is the mission of the European Union today.”
Maestro Ciampi directed a group of Italian musicians who played with the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, composed of members of the National Symphony Orchestra, a historic musical institution founded in 1931 in Washington, DC. The resulting ensemble was an unusual orchestral combination, well suited to Maestro Ciampi’s highly innovative compositions. The strings prevailed, with twelve violins, two violas, five cellos, three bass and two guitars (!!). They were complemented by two clarinets, one flute, one bassoon, one trombone, drums, and the piano as the centerpiece.
For the occasion, a raised stage was set up in the central hall of the Embassy, which transformed that grandiose space into a concert hall with good acoustics. The evening was topped off with a buffet of Italian finger-food delicacies, and abundant prosecco to toast the concert and the Treaties of Rome.
[Photos courtesy of the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC.]