Alfeo Gigli compositore: una vita per la musica (
Alfeo Gigli: a composer. A life for music), Quaderni di Octandre, 19/2000, I, 23 pp.

Alfeo GigliAlfeo Gigli was born in Modigliana (Forlì) in 1907 of Pasqua Casadio and Giuseppe Gigli, a refined footwear artisan, who had been rewarded a gold medal and conferred a knighthood thanks to merit in work. Even in his early childhood, he had been attracted by music in spite of his father who would have liked him to study Engineering. He started studying harmony and counterpoint in Faenza with maestro Lamberto Caffarelli, a singular philosopher-musician, he became music teacher at the male Orphanage and in 1925 he conducted the band concert which inaugurated the ‘Cardello’ in the honour of Alfredo Oriani in Casola Valsenio with Mendelssohn’s music. He moved to Bologna with his family and  specialized at the ‘G.B. Martini’ Conservatoire with Maestro Masi. During those years, he was among the first to introduce hot jazz into Bologna with his trumpet. After a few years of activity he had to give up its wind instrument because of illness and got a diploma in contrabass with maestro Ugo Marchetti and specialized in band instrumentation with maestro Ranalli. During the 1930s he attended the School for Officer Cadets in Palermo. In 1935, after his wedding to Dalma Furgeri, who was his companion for life, he was in the Orchestra of Merano and in 1939 he entered the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino by open competition. He toured many European cities with the orchestra and many great conductors. In the 1940s, he played in the orchestra with the greatest conductors of the age, particularly Mario Rossi and Franco Ferrara who remained attached to him. In many seasons, he alternated his activity at the  Maggio Musicale with the one at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena.
During the war period, he was banished for political reasons to Lauro, in the province of Avellino. He went back to Modigliana with his family and he organized an orchestra and conducted some concerts; at the end of the concert on 13 May 1944 his Hymn to Modigliana, which he had composed in those years, was premiered. In 1951 he became the first contrabass in the orchestra of the Swiss Radio in Lugano but then he moved to the orchestra of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna where he remained until 1972 when he retired. In the 1950s and 1960s, as a member of the ‘Representative Committee of the orchestra of Bologna’s Teatro Comunale’. With some colleagues of his, among whom Mario Luzzato, Giacomo Federici, Oscar Rizzoli, Tullio Clerici and others, he was involved in the organization of the permanent orchestra. Even before his 25, he had started his composing activity with many chamber works and with the symphonic poem “Prometeo” for strings, trumpets and horns.
In 1953, after the death of his only 14-year-old son who was victim of a tragic road accident, he composed the “Veni Domine” invocation and he started a great “Requiem Mass”. After that, during a very creative period, he used the most varied composing languages up to atonal music and dodecaphony. Among these works, there are some for big orchestra: “The Knight and death” which took inspiration from one of Dürer’s etchings, the “Polichromy of nature” “Selene’s face”, the “Concert for violin and piano”. In the religious field, apart from the Requiem Mass, he composed “Gloria Deo”, “Prayer”, “Sacred Song”, “Ave Maria”. Besides, there are more than 80 compositions for big orchestra, different chamber groups (strings, winds) and piano, which are going to be catalogued. With his op. n. 25 “Grotesque suite” or “Masque Tryptich” which was performed by soloist .of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna, he obtained success both with the public and with the critics in several Italian concert halls. Some of his compositions were performed abroad with famous conductors: in Paris, athens, Warsaw, Wien, London and Budapest. In 1992 he was awarded the honorary membership to the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna.
Even if he was often away from his native hometown, he always remained attached to it and “would have liked Modigliana to become an important musical centre where to organize frequent concerts both for chamber groups and for orchestras” (Modigliana Almanac, 1989).
He was a keen bibliophile and expert on ancient books and in 1946 he founded an antiquarian bookstore with his brother Ancora under the arcades of via Augusto Righi and in 1947 he began the publication of periodical catalogues of antiquarian books for Italy and abroad. The bookstore was one of the first ones to be registered with the Association of Italian Antiquarian Bookstores. After 1951, when Ancora Gigli moved to Castelbolognese, the bookstore took the name of “Libreria Docet” with Alfeo Gigli, His wife Dalma Furgeri and his son Loris. Since 1952, the bookstore has published more than 200 catalogues. In 1983 it passed on to the founder’s nephews and in 1995 it moved to the present headoffice in via Galliera n.34/A.

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