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  • Writer's pictureFondazione ILMC

OPERATION MACCARI continues. The video appeal by Francesco Lotoro

Thanks for the support that many of You have given us since last June, when we told you on Facebook about the ๐Ž๐๐„๐‘๐€๐“๐ˆ๐Ž๐ ๐Œ๐€๐‚๐‚๐€๐‘๐ˆ for the first time; now, we're back to relaunch the fundraising for the restoration of 10 sealing wax discs from Zonderwater military imprisonment Camp, in South Africa. Among them, there's the one containing ๐‹'๐€๐’๐’๐„๐ƒ๐ˆ๐Ž ๐ƒ๐„๐ˆ ๐’๐Ž๐†๐๐ˆ, an original work written by the italian composer ๐‘๐€๐Ž๐”๐‹ ๐Œ๐€๐‚๐‚๐€๐‘๐ˆ whose restoration is fundamental to obtain the written score, since the original manuscript has been lost. In the following ๐•๐ˆ๐ƒ๐„๐Ž, ๐…๐‘๐€๐๐‚๐„๐’๐‚๐Ž ๐‹๐Ž๐“๐Ž๐‘๐Ž is asking for ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ. ๐ˆ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ž๐จ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐จ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ž.

After long and delicate negotiations, we finally acquired the 10 Shellac 78 rpm records containing the phonograph recordings made by Italian POWs musicians interned during the Second World War at the Zonderwater Camp (South Africa). Zonderwater (43 km from Pretoria) was the largest military imprisonment Camp built by the British Army during the 2nd World War; between 1941 and 1947 it housed over 100,000 Italian soldiers captured by the Allies on the fronts of East Africa, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Italian Libya and transferred on ships from Suez to Durban and preliminarily sent to the Pietermaritzburg transit Camp.

The Zonderwater complex, under the orders of Colonel Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo, was as an urban settlement in a road network of 30 km and made up of 14 blocks structured in 4 fields, each of which housed 2,000 prisoners; the Camp had language schools, middle and technical-professional schools, libraries, canteens, churches, cinemas, radio, the Camp's official newspaper, craft and sports activities were carried out and even a hospital with 3,000 beds was set up.

The musical and theatrical activity of Zonderwater was on high levels as regards musicians, actors, singers, theatrical tailoring and make-up, 17 theaters were set up in barracks equipped with large stages; a 86-musicians symphony orchestra and a 65-players fanfare of were formed. Thanks to the copious historiographical material collected by Emilio Coccia (curator of the Zonderwater museum in Pretoria), from the thesis of Donato Somma of the University of the Witwatersrand and from the head of the 'Association Zonderwater' Elisa Longarato, we learn that Marshal Giuseppe Filippi wrote Inno del Prigioniero di guerra (lyrics by Antonio Forleo) and in 1942 Carlo Alberto Scoppetta wrote Canto del Prigioniero di guerra (photo) and Canto del prigioniero di guerra for voice and piano (lyrics by Mario Gazzini); POWs composers such as Salvatore Giammello, Amleto Greco, Aldo Buttiglione, Michele Mineo, Filippo Cristofori and Salvatore Caruso wrote piano/ vocal/chamber works, songs, religious pieces, opera arrangements (some scores were rearranged remembered by hearth), operettas and Italian-language adaptations of American or British plays.

In Zonderwater, Vittorio Longarato built a banjo-mandolin with the wooden structure obtained from a bench in the Camp, the upper part of the soundbox obtained from the skin of a rabbit and four double strings obtained from metal wires pulled from motorcycle brake cables; among the musicians, the names of the baritone Gregorio Fiasconaro stand out (father of the sprinter and middle-distance runner Marcello Fiasconaro), the Roman sergeant violinist and composer RAOUL MACCARI, the pianist DAVIO ALMANGANO from Pavia and the violinist corporal COSIMO (known as Mino) MARTUCCI from Lecce.

In 1946, after the war and awaiting repatriation, Martucci, Almangano and other musicians interned in Zonderwater recorded a large repertoire for piano, piano&violin, guitar and other instruments in a recording studio assembled by the British authorities shortly outside the Camp; among the recorded pieces (arrangements by Chopin, McDowell, etc.) stands out a work quoted as 'composed in captivity': 'L'Assedio dei Sogni' for piano written by Raoul Maccari, recorded by Almangano.

These recordings were edited in December 1946 from the sound engineer John Hecdt at the Gallo Recording studios in Johannesburg which, during the War, being no longer able to press in the United Kingdom due to obvious logistical difficulties, installed the machinery to produce a limited number of records, mainly test or customized pressings; when engineer Hecdt died in 1960, Zonderwater records were part of his extensive music collection which he passed on to his son. In 1990, one-of-a-kind copies of Zonderwater's records were bought at an auction by Rob Allingham, founder of the Recordiana record Company in Johannesburg from which the ILMC Foundation acquired them.

While requiring specialist equipment for digitization and remastering, the Zonderwater records are in good condition except for one, the most important of the entire collection: due to an accident during transport elsewhere for packing, the 78rpm containing the recording of 'L'Assedio dei Sogni' has broken in an external point and also has a deep scratch (see photo). The missing piece has been recovered, the disc will be entrusted to a technician in Bari for repair; the goal is not only to reconstruct the disc in its entirety but also to reconstruct its (lost) score from the audio, as we did months ago successfully for the two Pyral discs containing Maurice Soretโ€™ symphonic poem 'Rรชve de France' (Operation Soret, successfully completed).

For the repair of the aforementioned disc we need your help, since the ILMC Foundation has already supported the costs of the Zonderwater 10-discs collection; as for Operation Soret, we place immense trust in all of You, even the smallest contribution will be more than useful. Thank you.


To send us your support, please make ๐š ๐›๐š๐ง๐ค ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ to: Istituto di Letteratura Musicale Concentrazionaria BANK: INTESA SanPaolo BRANCH: 55000 - Fil Accentrata Terzo Settore IBAN: IT94 Y030 6909 6061 0000 0103 682 SWIFT CODE: BCITITMM REASON: Operation Maccari

OR you can send ๐š ๐œ๐ก๐ž๐œ๐ค payable to Istituto di Letteratura Musicale Concentrazionaria Please mail your check to: Istituto di Letteratura Musicale Concentrazionaria Via V. Marone 38/C - 76121 Barletta (BT) - Italy

OR you can ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐๐š๐ฒ๐ฉ๐š๐ฅ by clicking on this link: REASON: Operation Maccari

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐‹๐Œ๐‚ ๐…๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ž ๐š ๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ ๐ญ๐š๐ฑ ๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ข๐ฉ๐ญ

IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS Please email to: you can also call the number or send a whatsapp message to: +39 347 7517282

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