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The Mystery of Malta’s Co-Cathedral

World Premiere: St John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta 24/02/2023

The idea of composing a piece of music inspired by the famous Hymn of St. John the Baptist, to be included in the concert in the Co-Cathedral of Malta dedicated to the saint, on 24 February 2023, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Malta Band Clubs Association, was suggested by Maestro Music Director Giampaolo Lazzeri.

I knew the famous hymn, as musical notes historically take their italian name from it. I listened to it several times trying to snatch some ineffable secret that would give me the inspiration to start the work. Then, I read up on the history of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller and the Co-Cathedral of Malta and saw how the two things were closely connected and linked to the history of the island; a story that began in the Middle Ages, full of adventure, mysticism, mystery, which soon directed me to a sense of "investiture" of the Knights of the Order for a noble cause.

The Co-Cathedral gave me the sensation of enclosing in a sort of triumphant celebration the greatest mysteries that came to be created throughout the history of the Order.

Listening guide

After a brief introduction, whose sonority immediately recalls a place of worship, the piece begins with the very first notes of the Hymn of St. John distinguished by the Latin text: "Ut quaent laxis" articulated by the II Horn and immediately repeated by the I Horn ; once this brief structure is finished, the enunciation is fragmented into parts that undergo harmonic and timbral variations and which, like a magic key, open doors towards an ever more mysterious dimension culminating in an extended theme of an adventurous, industrious and magical character. Once the theme is finished, after the Gong's blow, the notes of the Hymn return, but now they seem an indissoluble part of the musical journey that they themselves have generated. A new element is then enunciated which, although "relative" to the Hymn with some similar interval characteristics, appears new, sudden, noble and determined, like a sonorous mark, suggesting the "musical coat of arms" of the Knights ... Now, a theme begins with a medieval flavor: a ceremonial dance of noble "investiture" which eventually merges with the "musical coat of arms". Mysterious "doors" open again which lead us back to the previous theme, magical and adventurous, now perceived with greater integrity, at the end of which one has the impression that time contracts and the musical material merges into a triumphant celebration of the " musical coat of arms” incorporated in the Co-cathedral, shining with victory and nobility.


Turin 12/12/2022                                                                                The author

                                                                                                         Davide Boario






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