Sacred music, whether dedicated to a liturgical function or composed for inner, intimate needs, can be regarded as one of the founding experiences of the Western culture’s musical tradition. It has traversed more than 12 centuries of history to reach us and still today continues to stir the imagination and inspiration of many composers.
Among these, Antonio Cocomazzi can rightly be said to be among those who stand out the most, both for his personal experience and for the particular area in which he matured his artistic experience. San Giovanni Rotondo can in fact be considered as one of the most important spiritual centres in Italy and has risen over time thanks to the activities and works of Padre Pio of Pietralcina to a point of reference for international Christianity. The author’s family knew Padre Pio directly and still retains many intimate memories of him.
It was precisely these experiences that prompted Cocomazzi to write a Missa Defunctorum, a wide-ranging Requiem, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the friar’s death (1998).
Presented in this Da Vinci Classics disc, the Requiem, Ad Patris Pii Honorandam Memoriam in the version for soloists (soprano, tenor, bass), choir and organ is the summa of an inner, spiritual and artistic journey, a heartfelt homage to that great sacred tradition that takes its starting point from the K. 626 Requiem by Mozart – the composer’s declared point of reference, to which he adds both original and Stravinskian elements, as in the rhythm, for example, or when expressing God’s wrath and the threat of eternal damnation.
The premiere of the work took place in 1999, when Padre Pio was proclaimed ‘venerable’, and it will be performed again in 2022 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the friar’s canonisation. Nearly twenty-five years have passed since its premiere, years in which Cocomazzi has prepared various versions (the original is for soloists, choir and orchestra) that have not, however, in the slightest affected the creative force that generated it, the fruit of a “spiritual inspiration” that in some pages is almost indomitable, in which respect for the past is united with the composer’s own imagination and visionary spirit, merging into a single musical magnum opus.