In memory of my friend Fernando

Fernando Grillo

Fernando Grillo

by Francesco La Rosa

Fernando Grillo died in a tragic way, great composer and extraordinary artist of bass. The news has left astonished all those who knew him and friends in particular, that a few hours after the event still wonder about the reasons that have ravaged Fernando’s mind pushing him to that gesture. We spoke with Franco Valentini, Grillo’s friend and partner several times in the preparation of shows and concerts.

Franco, I’ve been the first person who told you the news at the phone, can you tell me now what is your mood?

From the moment I heard the news from your voice I have in my heart a feeling sad and almost of disbelief about what happened, I’ve been Fernando’s friend for many years, the awareness of standing next to a person of extraordinary sensitivity and very high musical culture held me close to him, and I can say that he and Carmelo Bene were the music and the voice of the theater.

Can you remember some important episodes of your life together?

Surely the play we presented together, a world premiere at the Teatro Morlacchi, and the text was the counterpoint between voice and his bass, intense months that made me understand the sensitivity of Fernando, a sensitivity so high that he could touch the depths of pure intellectuality of man. But he was a great musician and composer, perhaps so I considered him, but Karl Stokenauer did not agree with me, he said he was not a musician but … the music.

I often spoke to him about Perugia, but he told me that maybe this town did not like him much, he did not feel accepted as a son, what do you think about it?

It ‘true, I tried in a very gentle way to suggest him to the direction of the Sagra Musicale Umbra, I introduced, to be precise, Claudio Scimone too, a great artist very appreciated in the U.S., and despite their participation was free of charge they were rejected both.

Are you accusing the umbrian musical culture of provincialism or between the lines you make me realize that maybe there were other interests?

I find it hard to give precise answers to the provincialism I answer as Antal Dorati, a Hungarian cellist friend of Nagy, …

What did he say?

In Umbria some good master of international value is missing, about the interests … the best answer is silence

When a friend disappears often the pain is excruciating and dismay, but how did you live a death like this?

surely pain and anger are the most intense feelings at this time, but in recent months, and perhaps for the same problems as Fernando, where systems of this society will lead to higher social despair, almost a “duty to suicide ” fails to make headlines, now the dead for social desperation, are more of an epidemic, however for the epidemics we are willing to spend billions of euro, but there is an epidemic that is called social despair and who should solve the problem cannot understand and find out, those who are called to give answers fail because they don’t have the wounds of life and forget that leading to despair and hopelessness is the greatest sin of a man towards other men.

How much could be responsible the serious economic situation that he was living?

A few days ago, only in the province of Perugia, two men and a woman in the same day committed suicide, the men with the gas and the woman leaping from the window, all with economic difficulties, but this happened in total silence and indifference of the press, as if dying of despair is equal to die of old age … no news. Sure that the faults are there, and I think and I fear that sooner or later there might be the beginnings of a social misunderstanding that could make uncontrollable civil coexistence.

The sorrow for the death of your friend makes you perhaps too pessimistic ….

Well, though I would not conclude this interview looking like Cassandra of the situation, however, I should mention that Cassandra was not the one who destroyed Greece, but only the one who had understood the desperation of the people warning them of the great danger to which they were going to meet.

How can we say goodbye to Fernando?

Remembering him in the Castle of Giomici of the friend Luciano Vagni, the four seasons with the violin Dimitri Tombassov and the smile of Fernando directing the quintet of Berlin.

Franco Valentini, describe yourself in one sentence …

I think I’m a man with a worker’s heart and a thinker’s soul ..


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: