By Natalia Di Bartolo
The Sardinian composer Mariano Garau, born in 1952, has learned from Florence’s Maestro Rodolfo Cicionesi, with whom he continued his studies of harmony and counterpoint, after beginning to study music under the guidance of the composer Pietro Allori, choirmaster of the Cathedral of Iglesias, setting the foundations of what he was then able to develop over time.
The spirituality of a musician who is dedicated especially to the Sacred Music is unshakable and accordingly Garau has its own line of composition that comes from the soul more than by listening to other composers’ music. This is an indisputable fact: the composer is original, sensitive, selective, demanding with himself and with others, and inspired.
His music reflects the man: it is finely placid, but only in appearance, revealing to the careful listener, however, a whole inner world of remarkable depth, which can digress into a most deeply felt and transcendent spirituality. In short: listening to the music of Mariano Garau we may abstract ourselves from the world, immerse above all in prayer and in this way we come in contact with that mysterious spiritual realm , impalpable and collective, felt by every sentient being.
His personal feeling, then, that shows as simple, is actually quite complex and is an example of how today we can make music, especially sacred, without fuss or using brash instruments or capable amplifications, even underlying: what counts for Mariano Garau is the voice.
The human voice becomes for him a varied instrument, composite, that is able to make the interpreters modulate, harmonize and resonate to the soul like an orchestra. The voice, singing solo or in chorus a cappella, is the foundation of his music.
In the voice, his favorite instrument, used in polyphonic singing, properly executed with a head voice, and therefore with few harmonics, but deliberately fixed and fluting, Garau found himself and the lymph to germinate his own melodies and suggestive harmonies that he is able to create in a vocal fusion. The voice becomes the mean to transcend humanity and flies to try to touch the Divine, in a compositional and melodic correctness that is all personal and never repetitive.
In addition, as the creator of his own “style”, easily recognizable to the listener, when Mariano Garau decides, as often happens, to accompany the loved human voice by musical instruments, the outcome is not at all complicated, but unfolds with the same naturalness with which he composes for voice a cappella.
An instrumental composition that delivers a calm and never solemn melody and elegant and cleverly structured harmony, never dominating, the winning tools of his art. Merging voice and instrumental music is for him a test and at the same time a challenge in which he finds himself winning.
Mariano Garau has gained a lot of experience in the many years in which he worked as Choral Director, and continues at the present time, when, however, international interest is focused deservedly on him as an author, bringing his compositions to be performed by the best known choirs and in the most prestigious locations in the world.
In his career he has never had specific assignments as a composer; he owes his fame above all to the Internet site http://www.cpdl.org, where scores from all over the world can be downloaded, and that made very popular and well performed his compositions, including “Ave Verum Corpus”, “O Magnum Mysterium”, “O Jesu dulcissime me “,” I love Te Devote “,” Christmas Eve “,” Stabat Mater “,” Agnus Dei “and many others. Several Italian and foreign choirs have in their repertoires such compositions.
A great satisfaction was for the composer the recording of his Stabat Mater by the “Pueri Cantores Sancti Nicolai”, a prestigious Polish Choir. Another joy, the ability to listen to a live performance of his “Ave verum” by the choir Vox Japanese Gaudiosa, a chorus that, according to the most accredited critics, reaches vocal perfection; a big satisfaction was also the recording of his songs by Dutch Ensemble “Vocaal kwartet Quartz”.
Of great prestige is considered his composition “Hildegard von Bingen: the mystical girl,” with a libretto by Karen Saillant, starring the voices of the International Opera Theater of Philadelphia directed by the same Saillant and the voice of soprano Agnes Pazienti, a concert that held its world premiere on August 7, 2015 in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, and resumed again in Italy and Philadelphia.
Other performances followed in China, Australia, USA, France, Hungary, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and South Africa, revealing a reputation by now recognized everywhere and likewise deserved.
Mariano Garau, finally, entered the artistic life of the writer about twenty years ago, with a contact on a site then devoted to sacred music, on which appeared both musical and literary productions to be put to music. Songs based on texts specially written by the person who signs this article were born, both in Italian and Latin; spiritual works of great beauty, such as “Jesu Jesu !, mi in cruce”, a cappella, also performed all over the world; as well as numerous chorals and intimate vocal compositions, which are also part of the repertoire of famous international choirs. This professional and friendly fellowship has never stopped since then and is still a source of excitement and pride for both.
© Natalia Di Bartolo