In Sicilia: An Afternoon Stroll on New Year’s Day

Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral

On New Year’s Day, we took an afternoon stroll along the Via Vittorio Emanuele. We retraced our steps, this time with the goal in mind, to the Fontana Pretoria, then strolled on to the Palermo Cathedral and the Piazza della Vittoria. As the afternoon light drew down, we strolled back to Butera 28 and made a dinner with our purchases at the market the day before.

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Listening List

Luigi Dallapiccola, Frammenti Sinfonici from the Ballet Marsia 

Dallapiccola was born in 1904 to Italian parents in what is now Pazin, Croatia.

He had his first experience of Wagner during his family’s internment in Graz in 1917, later studying music in Trieste and then in Florence, where a performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire persuaded him to work as a composer . . . . He was among the first Italian composers to absorb the principles of Schoenberg and to make continuing use of the latter’s serial techniques. Dallapiccola died in Florence in 1975. [citation]

In 1947, Dallapiccola excerpted about three-fourths of [his ballet] Marsia to create an orchestral work entitled Frammenti Sinfonici dal Balletto “Marsia” (“Symphonic Fragments from the Ballet ‘Marsyas’”). The ballet, completed in 1943, was “the last of the composer’s scores to use tonal materials.” [citation]

On Spotify here.

On YouTube here (as part of Orchestral Works, V. 1).

Danza Magica


Sostenuto, ma deciso (Recitando) – Danza di Apollo

Ultima Danza di Marsia

La Morte di Marsia


Credits: The sources for quotations may be found at the links in the text. As always on the blog, the photographs, unless otherwise indicated, are mine.

12 thoughts on “In Sicilia: An Afternoon Stroll on New Year’s Day

  1. Steve Schwartzman

    The tricks that the mind plays: in looking at “Games at the Circus Maximus” in your previous post, I read it as “Games at the Citrus Maximus.” Do you think that has anything to do with my having a cold?

    Did anything in particular lead you to choose Sicily for this vacation?

    1. shoreacres

      I’m sorry to hear you’re still fighting that cold. I had hoped it would be gone by now. Traveling when feeling less than 100% never is fun, and sometimes it’s rotten.

    2. Susan Scheid Post author

      Love that! My mind plays that sort of trick all the time, cold or no. I do hope you are past yours now, and look forward to New Zealand reports. We chose Sicily egged on by friends who’d been there, everyone ecstatic, and also because our friend David had reported on via Butera 28, which looked to be (and turned out to be) exactly the right place to stay, which gave us a very strong head start.

  2. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Susan – I must say you always entice your readers to listen, and to visit … and to learn more – right now (sadly) I must move on … but loved seeing these and reading about Dallapiccola … history serves us well – though difficult to comprehend the horrors – yet how people come out and give us so much. Thanks – I loved seeing the post – cheers Hilary

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Hello, Hilary: Well, you know, cyber travel has its charms as well, doesn’t it? And your observation about the horrors and people managing to get through them and give us so much is absolutely on point.

  3. shoreacres

    Speaking of tricks the mind plays, I found myself wondering if Dallapiccola had scored anything special for the piccolo. I certainly am enjoying his last tonal piece.

    I had to zoom in for a closer look at that top photo of the Palermo cathedral. Are those two saints on the left, attached above the towers? And are they wind vanes? They certainly look like they might be. In any case, they amused me. There’s nothing like a couple of saints, just hanging out.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: Dallapiccola > piccolo! Note to self to look into that. I just happened upon this piece and quite enjoyed it; so pleased you enjoyed it as well. About the top of the Palermo Cathedral: you may be amused to know it’s only through examining the photograph that I spotted those little fellars there? They made me laugh, too. “A couple of saints, just hanging out” is a perfect description.

  4. David N

    I loved it that from the centre – which I guess is the meeting of the streets which mark some of the boundaries to the four quarters – you could take so many different routes back to Butera 28. Which market did you buy your provisions from? Such choice!

    Good to hear some Dallapiccola that isn’t Il Prigioniero, which I always found worthy but a bit dull (can’t remember much about the one staging I saw).

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: We loved that, too, and as I am hapless at directions, I was particularly grateful to have this landmark from which to venture out, as you say, in so many directions. Via Vucciria was the market in this case, though we visited them all. Such choice, indeed! I don’t know much at all about Dallapiccola’s music, really only the Partita for Orchestra, and that not well, though I like it. The one I posted here I happened on by chance. I’m actually finding it hard to choose music of Italian composers to accompany these posts. More than once, I’ve thought to ask you about opera, which seems the richest strand, but I’ve refrained, as it’s not as if you idle time on your hands.

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