On 11 July 2017, at the age of 88, Maestro Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini died in Bologna.
Born in Bologna in 1929, educated at the GB Martini Conservatory, the conservatory in Padua and the Conservatoire of Paris, the Maestro lived a double professional life: on the one hand a musician, organist, harpsichord player who travelled all over the world performing in Renaissance and Baroque concerts, and on the other a historian, musicologist, professor, expert in organ culture, restorer, author of books, essays and the authoritative magazine l’Organo, which he founded.
He was the owner of the organs of San Petronio, among the oldest in Italy, and we are grateful to him for having restored them to the fullness of their inestimable value.
He became interested in protecting historic organs during his youth.
In fact it is thanks to his efforts that a census was taken of old Emilian organs, which made it possible to restore sound and life to hundreds of instruments that otherwise risked being lost forever.
During his lifetime he was able to assemble an important collection of about 70 Italian “keyboard” instruments, which he then donated to the Carisbo Foundation with the aim of building a museum around them. Thus in 2010 was born the collection bearing his name in the Oratory of San Colombano. Here visitors can both see and hear the 16th century spinets, harpsichords and ancestors of the piano, up to popular instruments built in the 20th century following an ancient tradition.The prestige of many instruments is built up by the signatures of their eminent creators, and their beauty is made even more precious with decorations painted by artists such as Domenichino, Belisario, Corenzio, Jan Fran van Bloemen. Some of the instruments are extremely rare, such as the 18th-century “folding” harpsichord, a travel instrument which was used, among others, by the famous singer Farinelli and the king of Prussia, Frederick the Great. A singular instrument is the one created by Giovanni Ferrini, a Florentine instrument maker that was able to combine the harpsichord and the piano in 1746.
The instruments have been delicately restored and are subject to constant maintenance, making the collection a harmonious assembly of living “monuments of sound”.
Master Tagliavini’s intent and dream was to create a place for spreading the culture of ancient music, and, at the same time, for teaching and learning. His friend Liuwie Tamminga, curator of the San Colombano collection and also owner of the San Petronio organs, compared his passing to the destruction of an entire library.
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