Remembering Joe Green: The Life & Art of Giuseppe Verdi, Part VIII

During the Second World War at the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt better known as Terezin, Verdi’s Requiem was performed an astounding 16 times. A Romanian conductor and composer named Rafael Schachter both organized and conducted the singers and instrumentalists from start to finish. Having only his one copy of the score which he carried with him everywhere, Schachter secretly arranged rehearsals with his fellow inmates until they were at a performance level to present Verdi’s masterpiece to the public. When asked why he dared to perform a Catholic Requiem among predominantly Jewish prisoners, Schachter replied:

“We must respond to the worst of mankind with the best of mankind.”

Through his life and art, it can be said that Giuseppe Verdi has assisted in bringing mankind significantly closer to a Divine Source.

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Remembering Joe Green: The Life & Art of Giuseppe Verdi, Part VII

Even the Maestro, himself, was star struck when it came to artistic greatness. In fact, Giuseppe Verdi was so thoroughly well versed in this one man’s artistry, it’s not a stretch to say the Father of Italian Opera could very well have been one of his biggest fans.

This hyper-fandom is evidenced by the Maestro not only having read each and every one of this man’s numerous works, he did so repeatedly. This famed personality was so revered by the composer, a special term of endearment was reserved for him whenever Verdi used the word “Pappa”. Giuseppe Verdi held this man’s genius in such high regard, the Maestro took four of his complete works and set them each to music.

I can only be referring to that 17th century British actor whom many consider to be the greatest writer of the English language and whose plays are as timely today as when they were when originally written some 500 years ago – the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.

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Remembering Joe Green: The Life & Art of Giuseppe Verdi – Part I

Joe Green.

That’s how I first became familiar with the great composer, Giuseppe Verdi. I was in 2nd grade and my father was taking me on my first stroll through that vast, expansive world that is Classical Music. Knowing at the age of 8 I wasn’t quite ready to fully absorb or pronounce anything remotely resembling Italian, my father would animatedly say to me, “Giuseppe Verdi is another way of saying Joe Green.” He then proceeded to play me that popular Verdi hit used to sell anything from life insurance to car wax, The Anvil Chorus from “Il Trovatore” from Dad’s “Voice of Firestone” record collection. After becoming familiar with the tune, whenever the chorus of renegade gypsies broke into song in synch with their metallic hammers, my father would turn to me and say “Who wrote it?”

Joe Green. He wrote that and a whole lot more.

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