This is a very special and unusual opportunity to join a private house party for Kirker clients, hosted by Fernanda Giulini whose private villa is the base for our visit. It is also an opportunity to get to know the pianist Melvyn Tan who will bring the beautiful collection of keyboard instruments to life in three concerts and talks at both the Villa and Signora Giulini’s apartment in Milan. The development of the piano is vividly explained in the three included recitals.
Villa Medici Giulini
We return to the Villa Medici Giulini, the home of Fernanda Giulini, in the village of Briosco between Milan and Como. The internationally known pianist, Melvyn Tan, introduced us to Fernanda Giulini and her matchless collection of historic pianos a couple of years ago. It’s a wonderful experience to hear the instruments played by a pianist of Melvyn’s stature in the magnificent rooms of the 17th century villa, simultaneously both grand and intimate. Three dinners are taken at the Villa and one in her apartment in the heart of Milan where her collection of virginals, harpsichords and harps are kept. Wines from the Giulini vineyards are served with every dinner. After dinner, postprandial drinks will be served in a different room each evening. The Villa is very much a private home, not a hotel and our clients are looked after by Signora Giulini’s own staff.
One of the world’s best known pianists, Melvyn Tan came to the UK from Singapore as a small boy and studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music. He has played in concert halls around the globe. Melvyn writes: ‘Although I have been performing from the collection for the best part of 30 years, I am still discovering new musical miracles. With the instruments from Mozart and Haydn’s time we hear a brittle, glass-like sound which was very much the kind the composers heard, and was reflected in the music they wrote. Beethoven, of course, when he became the toast of Vienna a few decades later, disliked these instruments and encouraged piano-makers to strive for a fuller sound, so the player could achieve a ‘cantabile’, a singing quality to imitate the singers and string players of the day. The rest, as they say, is history, and the concept of the piano as we know it today was born.’