This project was supported through the Creative Communities Fund managed by Arts Council Malta
Earlier this year, the Philharmonic Society of St Peter's Band Birzebbuga held a spectacular concert at the Mdina Metropolitan Cathedral, performing to a full house, commemorating 50 years since the Blessed Pope Paul VI declared the authenticity and true relics of St Peter under the Vatican's main altar. It was appropriate for this occasion to perform works which were related to St Peter the Apostle.
The programme was divided into two parts: the first part focusing on vocal works, while the latter presented a demanding repertoire, especially Symphony No. 1 The Archangels op. 50 by Franco Cesarini. The main soloists for the special occasion were two distinguished singers - soprano Ruth Sammut Casingena and tenor Charles Vincenti.
The concert consisted of 70 strong musicians, both seasoned and upcoming musicians who presented a programme of very high calibre, under the baton of Mro Michael Bugelli. Among the standard instruments that are normally found in bands, other instruments such as the harp, double bass and the cor anglais were also involved with the band.
Among the works that were performed composed by Chev. Mro Carmelo Pace, Mro Raymond Sciberras, Philippe Rombi, Riziero Ortolani and Alex Caruana, the most challenging piece of the programme is the Symphony No. 1 The Archangels op 50, composed by the Swiss composer Franco Cesarini who endured years contemplating and redrafting this composition. It is a 30-minute work written for a full symphonic band, making use of some unusual instruments like the harp and cor-anglais. This massive work constitutes highly dramatic language, profound thematic developments and frequent polyphonic elaborations that are continuously developed and enhanced with great artistry and musicality, throughout the four movements which reflect the four different archangels.