Time & Location
Whether it is a short chamber work or a large-scale composition such as an Oratorio or an Opera, a composer has to revert to his composition tool box that not only helps in creating the necessary building blocks for a composition but, perhaps more importantly, is also responsible for creating the composer’s ‘sound' – that which clearly distinguishes one composer from the other. Composer and conductor Christopher Muscat opens up Joseph Vella's tool box and analyses the wide array of composition techniques used by Joseph Vella with particular reference to his Oratorio Ir-Rewwixta.
Colin Attard – Vella's eldest and close nephew and mentee, and himself one of Malta's most active musical personalities – gives a quite personal insight into Vella's life, especially his early years and the gradual development of his career – whether as conductor, composer or academic.
Also mentioning some interesting anecdotes, Attard outlines how, throughout, Vella bypassed the big limitations of the doubly-insular Gozo, and, while never discarding his Gozitan roots, actually, made the most of the resilience which necessarily frames a Gozitan.
Attard also tries to illustrate how Vella's personality comes across in his artistic activity, the latter being very much a reflection of the former. Similarly, Vella’s iconic figure is juxtaposed with his otherwise very affable character.
Joseph Debrincat, who will be conducting the performance of Rewwixta, will give a talk focusing on Vella as a composer with particular reference to his big choral / vocal works and also to his interest in the Maltese language. Then the talk will move on to a detailed harmonic, rhythmic, melodic and formal analysis illustrated with numerous examples from the score. Another aspect in this analysis will be the refined orchestration that is one of Vella’s forte. Concurrently, reference is also made to the storyline of Friggieri’s poetic drama.