What if we called it Mumù?

Music in museums, the initiatives are multiplying, the public is enthusiastic even if they follow them, actually, only via streaming
Concerto a Castel Sant'Angelo, sala Paolina, Roma

The Covid restrictions gave Mariastella Margozzi an idea: immediately after her appointment as director of Rome’s state museums, she decided to use them as a cultural opportunity. Assisted by Anna Selvi, she reached an agreement with the directors of nine museums in Rome plus three in Abruzzo to organise twelve concerts, behind closed doors but accessible online, thus streaming the culture that can later be enjoyed live.

Concert at the Abbey of San Clemente, Casauria
Concert in the Abbey of San Clemente at Casauria, Castiglione a Casauria (PE)

Music and art together are more attractive. Or together they complement each other. Or together they offer a double possibility of cultural and spiritual enrichment. Because multimedia is now in our heads and it is natural to use this term even when it comes to traditional arts, such as those housed in museums, with music.

To say that examples of this combination are multiplying is perhaps excessive. But it is true that this path has been taken and success leads to emulation, not least because of the very high standards achieved. Thus, on Christmas Day last year, classical, baroque and precious jazz music resounded in the Spada Gallery, the Basilica of Santa Maria ad Martyres (Pantheon), the Boncompagni Ludovisi, Hendrik C. Andersen and Mario Praz museums, among others.

Concerto al Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi
Concert at Boncompagni Ludovisi Museum, Rome

One example of an extraordinary combination is Andersen’s nudes representing a sort of ideal city at the dawn of the 20th century, accompanied by Aleatology jazz, ultra-modern experimental sounds and improvisations by Marco Sinopoli and Daphne Nisi. Not easy, certainly. And not for everyone either. But the result of this combination takes the spectators’ minds far ahead, into the exploration of unimaginable horizons.

Concerto al Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen, Roma
Concert at Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum, Rome

The reinterpretation of archaic and modern music in dialogue with classical and popular literature in the Etruscan sanctuary of Apollo in the archaeological area of Veio, performed by jazz musician Luigi Cinque with Giovanna Famulari, an extraordinary cellist known to the general public for her performances with the singer Tosca, is very evocative. But she is also and above all an eclectic musician.

Giovanna Famulari Concert at Musical instruments National Museum
Giovanna Famulari Concert at Musical instruments National Museum, Rome

Three concerts also in Abruzzo, to start a year of hope and innovation: sacred music in Sulmona, in the Santo Spirito al Morrone Abbey, in the Corradiana musical chapel in Pescara and in the Abruzzo National Museum in L’Aquila. Both exhibitions are called Mirabilia of music, music opens museums.

Concerto all'Abbazia di Santo Spirito al Morrone, Sulmona
Concert at Holy Spirit Abbey at Morrone, Sulmona (AQ)

So, if physical closures drive people away, perhaps it is precisely the distance, the prohibitions, the long time spent at home, that induces nostalgia in visitors, and creates new interests in those who, attracted by initiatives like this, want to get closer to a world they had never thought to ask for the keys to.

Concert at Abruzzo National Museum, L'Aquila
Concert at MUNDA, Abruzzo National Museum, L’Aquila

A doubt: should the music that can attract interest in museums be cultured, or would more popular concerts draw the attention of a less knowledgeable, but larger audience?

Luigi Cinque is peremptory: “Culture is not democratic, not because it should be the prerogative of the wealthier classes, but because it cannot belong to those who do not engage, do not read, do not listen. And those who enter this world appreciate experimentation, the new that enhances the old. This does not detract from the fact that there is nothing to stop us offering rock or even a certain kind of pop. A Bruce Springsteen concert in the Uffizi? Why not? But everything must be studied in detail, there is no such thing as moving with improvisation and bad taste.

Concert at Mario Praz Museum, Rome
Concert at Mario Praz Museum, Rome

Giovanna Famulari does not underestimate the opportunity offered to many artists, especially in a difficult moment like this. While Mariastella Margozzi has no doubts: this road has a future, indeed, it is the future. People appreciate it, music is a natural complement and will always be more so.

Gian Stefano Spoto

Gian Stefano Spoto

Gian Stefano Spoto, journalist, was Raidue and Rai International deputy director, then Middle East Rai correspondent. He wrote five books: the last one, Deserto bianco  (Graphofeel ed.), about Middle East from Gaza war till today.