by Grazia Salvatori
The Russian-Italian Organ Duo (Elena Kalashnikova and Luca Massaglia) plays “Nell’Azzurro” by Italian composer Grazia Salvatori (b. 1941). The piece consists of an introduction and four variations on a folk tune about the Madonna dei Martiri di Molfetta. Molfetta, situated as a port town on the Adriatic Sea, has historically been a maritime community. In 1188, a boatload of Crusaders returning from the Holy Land found the Icon of the Madonna floating on the water. They brought it to the Hospice in Molfetta which was constructed in 1162 on the orders of the Norman King William II. The Crusaders would return to Molfetta, many of whom were wounded and dying. It is for this reason that Molfetta had built the Hospice. Those who were returned to health went on their way, while some died in Molfetta as Martyrs of the Faith. Everyone prayed to the Madonna of Martyrs who was symbolized as a Mother and Child with Angels, in a Byzantine style Icon. The Madonna in 1840 became the town’s patron along side San Corrado. Especially devoted were the fisherman who asked for her protection. Annually, the Molfettese people, where ever they are in the world, take time to celebrate this Miracle. Traditionally, there is Novena with a Mass and procession through the streets. At some point the Icon (now statue) is placed on the fishing boats for veneration. A plenary indulgence is granted by the Pope to anyone who attends the Mass of the Madonna Dei Martiri and the Mass the Sunday following Easter.
The International Russian-Italian Organ Duo started its activity in 2017. The members of the Duo are Elena Kalashnikova (born in Pjatigorsk, Caucasus, Russia) and Luca Massaglia (born in Turin, Italy). Elena Aleksandrovna Kalashnikova studied piano at the Music College in Stavropol and she pursued her piano studies at the “Leonid Sobinov” State Conservatory in Saratov, where she studied organ as well. She performed piano concerts in Russia as soloist and as a member of various chamber ensembles. She worked as piano accompanist and piano teacher at the Music School n. 19 in Saratov and as piano accompanist at the Saratov Conservatory. She is currently music teacher at the “Ivan Turgenev” Russian school in Turin (Italy) and organist at the Madonna degli Angeli Sanctuary of the same city.
Detailed information about Luca Massaglia can be found at his personal website: http://www.lucamassaglia.com/homepage… Russian-Italian Organ Duo has a matchless repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary music and that includes original pieces for organ 4-hands, original pieces for two organs and transcriptions mainly of orchestral works. Some notable composers have written pieces specially for the Duo: Franklin D. Ashdown (U.S.A.), Jay C. Batzner (U.S.A.), Michael Canales (U.S.A.), Carson Cooman (U.S.A.), Emma Lou Diemer (U.S.A.), Paul A. Epstein (U.S.A.), Stanley M. Hoffman (U.S.A.), Justin H. Rubin (U.S.A.), Charles Shadle (U.S.A.), Neil Thornock (U.S.A.), Khadija Zeynalova (Azerbaijan – Germany), Johan Famaey (Belgium), Adrian Vernon Fish (England), John Riley (England), Aaro Pertmann (Estonia), Tapio Säyppö (Finland), Wolfram Graf (Germany), Rainer Lischka (Germany), Alexander Moseler (Germany), Markus Nickel (Germany), Andreas Willscher (Germany), Victor Kioulaphides (Greece – U.S.A.), Gilberto Bosco (Italy), Fausto Caporali (Italy), Carlotta Ferrari (Italy), Walter Gatti (Italy), Grimoaldo Macchia (Italy), Angelo Maria Trovato (Italy), Vidas Pinkevičius (Lithuania), Konstancja Kochaniec (Poland), Irina Dubkova (Russia), Anna Vetlugina (Russia), Milko Bizjak (Slovenia), Mateo Soto (Spain), Maria Löfberg (Sweden), Johan-Magnus Sjöberg (Sweden), Boryslav Stronko (Ukraine).