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SERGIO GIVONE
"Memory of Angelo"

Sergio-Givone
Angelo dedica a Duarte.jpg

Of course we had our authors, and we read them passionately, in an adventurous mess that ignored any canon and brought together Garcia Lorca and Ezra Pound, Baudelaire and Montale. Our problem was not the poetry of Lorca and Pound, but how their work helped us to penetrate the mystery of the poem (and ours!). Even reading the great writers of the twentieth century, as well as listening to classical music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were not an end in themselves, because they took place within a project, no matter how ambitious or unrealistic, which aimed straight at the heart of things. And if today, many years later, I wonder what led me to devote myself to philosophy, certainly not the first of my youthful choices, the answer comes by itself. Rightly or wrongly, I thought that philosophy was helpful to me and could be a precious tool for me.

No more than that, though.

Federico Garcia Lorca
ezra pound

It was poetry that brought us together. I was in the second year of high school, at the Lagrangia in Vercelli, and the daily "La Sesia" had published some of my not exactly memorable verses, but Angelo, who missed nothing, not even weak and uncertain attempts like mine, found them worthy of attention. He got on the Gilera motorcycle with which he loved to dart at full speed on the roads of the rice fields and came to Buronzo, where I lived, to tell me what he thought. We became friends and poetry was immediately the main topic of conversation in the afternoons when I went to visit him in his house in Piazza Cavour under the "Torre dell'Angelo" (tower of the Angel, which I thought was called that due to the fact that he lived there). We were interested in poetry itself, poetry as a spiritual dimension, poetry as the soul of the world and not poetry as a literary genre or as an historical expression. In short, poetry and its essence. Convinced that poetry had its own secret, its own truth, we questioned this secret-truth as if it were a sphinx capable of giving us answers on the meaning of our existence. From the human sciences, then at the center of the cultural scene, we expected nothing. Instead everything from poetry.

Doctor Faust.jpg

In the meantime, music increasingly represented for Angelo the central and exclusive focus of his life. Radical as always at the moment of the most important decisions, one day Angelo showed me a stack of books and asked me if I wanted to take them home. They were the books of the most beloved poets and the most popular writers. The latter, especially. And among these Thomas Mann, above all. Of which I cannot fail to mention Doctor Faustus here, who was at the top of that pile of books. I remember the cover as if it were now, with the famous pastel self-portrait by Schönberg, in which the father of dodecaphony has the hallucinated features of Adrian Leverkühn. Angelo wanted to get rid of all those books that had played such an important role in his education, but which he no longer needed. But he wanted me to take charge of it. And maybe I would keep reading to find answers to the big questions, just as he taught me to do (and as I would in the following years to this day). As for him, he was now entirely busy answering the call that wanted him to be a musician. This call is no less irrecusable and peremptory than the one that Socrates heard from his demon on his deathbed. The time for words is no longer, said the demon.

It's time to make music!

Vercelli - foto andrea cherchi87.jpg

Photo: ANDREA CHERCHI
 

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