The new Oratory of Fr. Armando Pierucci to Saint Michael in Jesi and Tolentino

17/10/2020
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As a consequence of the COVID-19emergency, this concert was postponed to 17-18 October 2021 (see Italian website).

An Oratory to Saint Michel

For musicians, an oratory is a composition with a religious topic, to be performed in church or in a theater without a scenic action. The oratory genre started with the lauds that Saint Filippo Neri was singing in his oratory, as a matter of fact. Later, at the time of Bach and Handel, it reached a very high artistic level for the presence of the orchestra, the dialogue among the characters and with the choir. When Bach died in 1750, a very devoted woman said: "Finally this music teacher who changed the church into a theater died!"

Subsequently, many musicians composed oratories, especially in Germany and France. In Italy, between the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Lorenzo Perosi who, with his oratories, aroused such an enthusiasm that it was defined “Perosìte”, as if it was a disease. But the contagion soon died out; and the churches were the least infected: not even a virus of good music remained, neither of the scholarly music, nor of the popular music type.

But not everyone is resigned. Even if a swallow does not make spring, Fr Armando Pierucci has composed an oratory dedicated to Saint Michael, but in reality, also to the Holy Virgin Mary. It is for two soloists, choir and orchestra.

The choice of the oratory’s theme was suggested by Maurizio Petrolo, the Director of the oratory’s world Premiere in the cathedral of Jesi on April 4, 2020. Maestro Petrolo said to Fr Armando: “In my region of Apulia, in Calabria, in Sicily, they still perform demanding religious music, even if pop orchestras also took over there since quite some time. Please, compose something for the great sanctuary of Saint Michael at Monte Gargano". This was the spark that gave birth to the composition, which then gradually took shape thanks to the words of chapter 12 of the Apocalypse.

Many read in that chapter a very actual theme for our time: “A great sign appeared in the sky: a woman clothed with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head ... Then another sign appeared in the sky: a huge red dragon ... then a war started in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon ". This fight is so violent that, even if it is fought in the sky, its effects and tremors are felt also on earth.

Therefore, in addition to evoking the conflicts of the celestial armies, the music of the oratory is immersed in a universal prayer in which not only the choir singers, but also the listeners participate, taking up the ways of Bach, who from time to time included the most well-known popular melodies  in his Passions, so that all those present would join the cosmic invocation of heaven and earth. The oratory ends with a unanimous song of faith and courage: "Christ lives, Christ reigns, Christ is the Lord Jesus".

Why is the oratory first played in Jesi? Jesi is the city that has accompanied and blessed Fr Armando's musical activity in the past 20 years. Already Bishop Serfilippi and then Bishop Gerardo encouraged and supported the Magnificat Institute in Jerusalem, founded by Fr Armando. In 2005 the Premio Vallesina Association joined; they moved seas and mountains to promote the studying of the 250 students of the school, and to renovate it.

Jesi listened to the students of the Magnificat, the performance of many compositions of Fr Armando, such as “Via Crucis”, “La Terra dei Fioretti”, the “Sinfonia Mariana”. The Laus Plena Foundation, created in 2015, which Fr. Armando presides, was presented in Jesi. The foundation is dedicated to the safeguard and promotion of the sacred music heritage of all Christian Churches, especially the Eastern Churches, that remained more in contact with the origins. The foundation was presented in Jesi at a very interesting press conference organized by the Vice-President of the Order of Journalists of the Marches Region, Nicola Di Francesco, with the participation of Fr Armando Pierucci.

It is due that the premiere of the oratory to Saint Michael takes place in Jesi.

Saturday 4 April 2020, 9 pm                               Sunday 5 April 2020, 5 pm

Cathedral of Jesi                                                  Teatro Comunale di Pollenza

 Armando Pierucci, Oratorio S. Michele for soloists, choir and orchestra

 Directed by Maurizio Petrolo

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