Because my mind is still on Italy, today’s installment of SUGGESTED LISTENING for the CLASSICAL MUSIC SKEPTIC features classical guitarist Cang Guan (CN) performing L’Ultimo Caffè Insieme by Italian composer Simone Iannarelli. Before listening, think about someone you love — a family member, friend, significant other. This piece is about them.
About the Composer:
Simone Iannarelli (1970- ) has had a fascinating career that has taken him all over the world. He was born in Rome and studied classical guitar at the Conservatorio “A. Casella” in L’Aquila, where his teacher was the award-winning guitarist Massimo delle Cese. Upon graduating, he moved to Paris for the opportunity to study with the great Tunisian-French guitarist Roland Dyens, and ended up enrolling in the Conservatoire de la Courneuve to study orchestration with accomplished composer Guillaume Connesson. Iannarelli’s compositions for solo and chamber guitar have been published internationally and performed widely, and are especially known for eliciting a particularly dark, rich sound from the instrument. Iannarelli is currently Professor of Guitar at the Universidad de Colima in Mexico.
About the Piece:
L’Ultimo Caffè Insieme (“The Last Coffee Together”) is actually a single movement from Iannarelli’s Italian Coffee suite, which features twelve short programmatic pieces — that is, pieces intended to convey a particular image, story, or emotion. Other movements in the suite, for example, include Tarde de Lluvia con Café (“Rainy Afternoon With Coffee”) and Caffè Su Una Nuvola (“Coffee on a Cloud”). L’Ultimo Caffè Insieme is about saying goodbye. It’s about caring deeply for someone, and then watching them disappear from your life forever. It’s a love letter and a break-up song, a memory, an old photo that makes you smile but also cry. Iannarelli has harnessed the most vocal range of the instrument, and performer Cang truly makes the guitar sing. The melody is soft and pleading and conversational, and the repetitive chord progression is simple yet heart-wrenching. This piece is the reason why guitarists seem so attractive. Music this beautiful just makes you want to curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee, and listen.
If you enjoyed L’Ultimo Caffè Insieme, you might also like…
- Simone Iannarelli: Il Tuo Aroma from Italian Coffee
- Enrique Granados: Dance No. 2 ‘Oriental’
- Heitor Villa-Lobos: Mazurka Choro