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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

THE STORY OF GIUSEPPE VERDI, PART 2

Verdi's Education


Here is the scratching of his name:


And here is the way he wrote his name, as a man:

Listen

Then there came the question of education—of reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic—for this music-loving boy. The Verdis wanted Giuseppe to grow up as he should; so it was arranged for him to go to school in the neighboring town of Busseto. A cobbler lived there who was a friend of the family, and with him Giuseppe went to live, having board, lodging and tuition at the school, and all for six cents a day.

Giuseppe still played the organ at Roncole, going thither afoot every Sunday morning and back after nightfall.

He must have been a weary little boy after the day's music-making at the church. One Sunday night when it was dark and he was too weary to notice where he was going, he fell into a ditch, from which he was rescued by an old woman, who, hearing his call for help, pulled the half-frozen boy out of the water.

Our little hero had another talent besides music. He knew how to win the friendship of people. So at Busseto a man named Barezzi offered to take him into his business. He sold spices, drugs and perfumes. But besides this he played the flute in the church. At his house Giuseppe heard lots of good music, for the town orchestra rehearsed there. Here is a picture of Giuseppe's friend:

BAREZZI

Then Giuseppe made another friend who gave him a wonderful bit of advice. HE URGED HIM TO BECOME A COMPOSER!

Better still he helped the boy in every way he could until he was sixteen years old. By that time our little Giuseppe was grown to be quite a man. His friend, whose name was Ferdinando Provesi, was proud of him, for already he was becoming a master. He played the cathedral organ at times; he conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra; he led its rehearsals, and he composed music for its concerts.

PROVESI

So you see—all the wonderful operas that were to come were already on the way!

It has been written that Provesi was the first person to see and understand Verdi's real genius. The boy worked hard and advanced so rapidly that it was soon necessary for him to go to a larger city for lessons.

Now a good friend is always a good friend, so it is pleasing to tell that Barezzi sent Giuseppe to Milan, the lovely city of Lombardy, to study. And here a curious thing happened. He was refused a scholarship at the Conservatory of Milan; the reason given was that the authorities considered him to show no special talent for music. But this made no difference to the boy. He believed in his talent and kept at work to perfect it.

Please visit me this Friday for the 3rd and final part of the story.

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