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The Maltese language plays a strong role in the music of two notable composers whose works will be performed at the Chamber Music Concert on July 3.

Joseph Vella

“We listen to music with our muscles,” Nietzsche, the passionately musical philosopher, once said, referring to the powerful effect music has on us, a sort of involuntary expression as the music works on us. As we go back to experiencing live performances again, perhaps its effect will be stronger.

On July 3, audiences will be taken on an exhilarating avant-garde musical journey across two string quartets, three (clarinet, violin and piano) trios and a sextet. Among these are works by two local composers, namely Joseph Vella and Verónique Vella, both of whose works have a special relationship with the Maltese language.

The music of Joseph Vella is often played internationally and he is considered as one of Malta’s leading composers. A number of notable firsts are attributed to his name, including being the first (and up to now, the only) symphonist in the history of Maltese music. His song cycle Seħer Op 39 for Soprano and Orchestra was also the first ever written using the Maltese language as a medium. Interestingly, while the Mediterranean influence does emerge in some of his works, because he has touched upon such a diversity of styles in his music, it is never consciously considered ‘nationalistic’.

Veronique Vella

Verónique Vella also boasts a number of firsts to her name, notably that in 2008, she became the first Maltese woman to be conferred a Ph.D. in Music Composition. Several works by Vella have been recorded by reputable professionalmusicians. These include Mara bil-lejl (Cosmos Wind Ensemble) and Ċassa Quddiem Mera on the album Riflessi performed by soprano Miriam Cauchi. Vella’s solo flute piece, Wens, has been performed extensively by virtuoso flautists, such as Rebecca Hall, Aisling Agnew and Laura Falzon to name a few.

Listen out for the idiosyncratic rhythmic pulse of Joseph Vella’s Segments No. 2 and the minimalist melodic fragments of Verónique Vella’s Fjuri at the Chamber Music Concert on July 3. To find out more, click here.


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