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“A lesson with Angelo

Vercelli - foto andrea cherchi81.jpg
Enrico Demaria con i genitori.jpg

Angelo Gilardino's individual classical guitar lessons for the students of the "Viotti" music high school were held on Saturday afternoon on the second floor of the Civic theater, with the entrance a little further to the right of the main one, where today you enter (but on the first floor) to the Quartet Society, the Dance Academy and the Civic Museum.

I had become a pupil of Angelo at the age of thirteen (he was twenty-four) and I called him "sir" as was customary between a teacher and a pupil. An elderly guitarist had brought me to him, Carluccio Fornasino who, among other things, had been one  of the only two "musicians" from Vercelli - the other was the tailor Michele Ferrino - to whom Angelo had turned, very young, to get the rudiments of guitar technique after the fateful meeting, in Modena, with Ida Presti.

My dad, who was an excellent songwriter, had never been able to play the guitar decently, decided that it was up to me to fill that family gap. And so the employee of the metric office, herbalist and above all renowned guitarist Carluccio Fornasino had come into my life. My parents bought me a red and black Eko with metal strings in the "Belli" shop in Corso Libertà, and Fornasino suggested me to buy the Carulli method for guitar. 

I was still living in an old house on Corso Libertà, right in front of the Caffè Marchesi, which has now been completely renovated. Fornasino came to give me lessons, also in music theory, once a week. When we got to the last piece of the first Carulli a "Rondò poco Allegretto", Fornasino said to me: "I have nothing more to teach you, now I'll pass you to Maestro Angelo Gilardino, because he is much better than me".

The pharmacist Duccio Ravera, now almost ninety years old, arranged the meeting in his beautiful home in via San Paolo. It was evening. I showed up with my Eko, and in awe of this new master. He was a tall young man with long hair and with eyes able to read you. I obviously played Carulli and the exam, I don't know how, was passed. Gilardino told me to enroll in the Liceo Viotti and immediately handed me one of his guitars, a “Pasqualon”. I began to attend Professor Robbone's school and in June 1967, I also gave an essay, in the hall in via Monte di Pietà, right in front of the "Teatro Civico" then home to the "Quartet", today of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation, playing two Preludes of Sor and a Capriccio of Carcassi.

About one year later, at the Saturday afternoon lesson, Angelo told me: "Don't take the guitar out of its case, and listen". And he spoke to me. The night before, right at the Civico he had seen "2001 - A Space Odyssey". "It's a film that will be talked about for a hundred years and more." And instead of listening to me in Bach's Bourré, he began to tell (for his part) of the hominids who faced each other, in the "dawn of man", with grunts and waving of paws, until the black monolith arrived, and one of the monkeys who had touched him, with great circumspection, he had the intuition to grab the bone of a dead animal and to kill another monkey with whom he was disagreed.

"You have to go see it now."

“But will I understand, maestro?”

"It doesn't matter if you understand it or not, but imprint it well in your mind, you will understand it later".

Of course I did, but caught little, though I saw the monolith cut across the planets. Years went by, since then I've seen it about twenty times, and when I look at it, I think of Angelo and his prophecy: "We will talk about this film forever".  Of course, he was right.


2001 Odissea nello spazio

It started from there. I was passionate about cinema, I went every week, in the afternoon, to see westerns at the "Corso" and I got involved in Angelo's story that fascinated him: he evoked the astronauts who, millions of years later, on the Moon, when the monolith reappeared, behaved in the same way as the monkeys. And then the journey to Jupiter of the Discovery spaceship with the HAL 9000 Computer that goes crazy and tries to sabotage the mission; the fight between the commander of the spaceship, David Bowman, and HAL, which ended with the memory lost of the latter; then the journey of the commander, all alone, on the notes of Ligeti, towards the last encounter with the monolith in a Louis XVI-style room born in who knows what universe, and the return to the Land of David, who died and was reborn as a fetus.

 In telling, Angelo became fervent. He told me about the monolith which, in a particular image created by Kubrick (which I always went looking for when I saw the film and rewatched it), transversely cut a group of planets arranged vertically, to form the symbol of the Cross. 

Vercelli - foto andrea cherchi76.jpg


2001 Odissea nello spazio
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