Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Perosi and Gigli Meet

A charming and peculiar story from the June 1933 issue of Caecilia:

A pleasing story comes from the Vatican regarding a carefully planned meeting between Maestro Don Perosi, the celebrated composer of sacred music, and the tenor, Benjamin Gigli. Perosi is very hard to approach, refuses visits by persons unknown to him, and often enough will not admit even his old friends. The tenor, Gigli, long had wished to pay a visit to him and the meeting was prearranged by Advocate Adriano Belli in the following way.

Lives with Monks

Maestro Perosi lives with the confraternity of the Brothers of Mercy just outside Vatican City. He has two rooms where he spends his time composing and praying, for he is very devout.

A pianoforte was brought into the ante-chamber of the composer's apartment and Gigli sitting down at the piano sang one of the composer's most famous pieces.

Amazed to hear the world famous tenor's voice outside his door, Perosi opened it and understood the surprise that had been prepared for him. Perosi was touched by the act, shook Gigli by the hand, and promised to write a special piece of religious music
for him which the tenor in turn promised to sing.