The idea of a tree of life underlies Dante’s three canticas and, according to some theories and legends, is at the basis of the Commedia itself: this tree of life was the obvious destination of this year’s Paths of Friendship concert.
On that occasion, our praying voices resounded in the Cathedral of Otranto, on the medieval pavement of its nave, lavishly decorated with scenes from Man’s history and fate in a monumental stone carpet — recently restored by Ravenna’s mosaic masters — where the New and Old Testament, the Koran and the Torah come together in one inextricable design. These voices rose against the madness of evil from the heart of Otranto’s citadel-medina, an age-old jumble of different cultures and religions that paid an awful tribute to barbaric hatred in late XV century, with 813 martyrs. And music opened up to a universal message that surpasses the boundaries of sound: music became prayer, embracing people and building a “bridge of brotherhood” between East and West, the expressive poles featured in the Arvo Pärt composition Riccardo Muti chose as a starting point for his new “friendship journey”. The concert then continued with the celestial melody of Haydn’s garden of Eden, to conclude with the dismaying emotion Man experiences when confronted with God, an emotion only Verdi’s Te Deum can express.