Roberto Bonati ParmaFrontiere Orchestra - La Fòla de l’oca / Over Time

La “ Fòla de l'oca“ is the new project by Roberto Bonati, in the double role of composer and conductor, for the ParmaFrontiere Orchestra, produced on the occasion of Parma Italian Capital of Cultur  2020/21: a work on Time with texts by Sant'Agostino, Eraclito, Marco Aurelio, and Walt Whitman that starts from yesterday’s reflections and looks into the past to search for paths to tell the complexity of our present and the mystery of the future. On this occasion the orchestra was joined by six young musicians from as many European musical academies: Oslo, Nürnberg, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Stavanger, Glasgow.

The links to Roberto Bonati's digital artist pages:

On Saturday February 4th at 17:00 at Casa della Musica in Parma, Gian Paolo Minardi (Musicologist) will present the album with Roberto Bonati.

“La Fòla de l'Oca”, an ancient and surreal refrain, a wild goose chase, is an ironic rigmarole that my grandmother would repeat when I was a child and that for me has the smell of the earth, of our countryside, a world that no longer exists but where my roots are. It seemed a fitting title for a work on Time, a project that moves from past reflections and in the past looks for paths to tell the complexity of our present and the mystery of the future.

A story told through music, an art that develops and dies within time, carving its flow. Music shows the beauty of the moment, here and now, without past, without future but in the memory of the past and in the leap towards future. An art that lives in time and of time and that is a metaphor of our very existence – suspended, as Seneca states, "in one instant of time that runs away".

In 2018, the head of culture in Parma asked me to present a project for the application he was preparing for "Italian Capital of Culture". Every year, one Italian city is in charge of being the national capital of culture. I thought to compose a piece on the concept of Time because the main topic suggested by the head of culture was "Culture beats Time" and to create an orchestra with young musicians coming to Parma from different European countries. Parma won the national application, and so the project was on.

In 2020 because of the pandemic was not possible to realize the concert, so everything was delayed to 2021 and, again because of the Corona, I decided to invite only six young musicians from the six academies with whom I had relations: Oslo, Nürnberg, Hamburg, Goteborg, Stavanger, Glasgow and to mix them with the ParmaFrontiere Orchestra, the ensemble I created in 1998. I’m really grateful to these academies and their professors that participated enthusiastically by sending their students.

The main goal was to mix the veterans of the orchestra with young generations. We create in this way an eighteen musicians ensemble. 

Coming to the music, I started to read books on the concept of Time: Saint Augustine, Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius, Walt Whitman and then I began the compositional process. 

For me, it has been an intense and adventurous period of work.

Then, at the end of September, the musicians came to Parma, the orchestra has gathered. We had a great week of rehearsals, with an incredible focus on music and outstanding participation by the musicians. 

We played two concerts on October 2nd and 3rd in the fabulous Farnese Theatre, a venue built in 1618 by Giovanni Battista Aleotti, a magnificent wooden theatre in which Monteverdi presented one of his, now lost, masterpieces: Mercurio e Marte.

The orchestra played with great passion, and the audience welcomed the performance with deep attention and applause. All the musicians devoted themselves to the music and after the concert the enthusiasm of the players was fantastic and a gift for me.

I'm delighted about this experience, both musically and humanly. 

This is what our life in music is about: gather people, gather different generations and go together into the mystery of music.

Roberto Bonati

ParmaFrontiere Orchestra
Roberto Bonati  composition and conduction
Giulia Zaniboni  vocals
Mario Arcari  oboe
Marco Ignoti  clarinets
Riccardo Luppi soprano sax and flute
Simon Andreas Fredheim Folkvord     alto sax
Simon Herberholz    tenor sax
Michael Gassmann  trumpet and flugelhorn
Benjamin Löfgren  trumpet/flugelhorn
Fabius Mey   trombone  
Finn Henrik Stamer  violin 
Ingrid Berg Mehus violin
Paolo Botti  viola
Gregorio Buti  cello 
Luca Perciballi  guitar
Tommaso Salvadori    vibraphone
Andrea Grossi   double bass
Roberto Dani   drums, percussion

Project for Parma Capitale Italiana della Cultura 2020/21
A production by ParmaFrontiere
Music by Roberto Bonati
Lyrics: Saint Augustine, Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius, Walt Whitman

Recorded by Corrado Cristina at Teatro Farnese - ParmaJazz Frontiere festival on October 2-3 2021
Mixed and mastered by Simone Coen at Riverplant Music Studios-Monza on August 2022

Cover photo by Chiara Berta

Many thanks to:
Corrado Cristina and  Simone Coen for the sound,  the ParmaFrontiere Orchestra for their commitment, Chiara Berta for lending me one of her wires, Monica Mattioli and Aureliana Mazzarella for their help on the  greek texts