Basilica di San Francesco: A Sublime Set for Sublime Music

La basilica di San Francesco ad Assisi, è il luogo che dal 1230 conserva e custodisce le spoglie mortali del santo serafico. Lo scorso novembre questo magnifico luogo dal significato religioso inestimabile ha fatto da scena ad un concerto di Frate Alessandro, il "prete cantante"  della città di Assisi, accompagnato dalla Orchestra da Camera di Perugia.  La Basilica superiore è famosa per i meravigliosi affreschi del tredicesimo secolo che raccontano la vita di San Francesco.

Can there be a more sublime setting for a sublime concert than the grandiose Upper Basilica di San Francesco, adorned with the late 13th century frescoes depicting the life of our San Francesco? At times, during a recent November concert night, the frescoed vaults over the altar of the Upper Basilica di San Francesco glowed a fiery red then flowed into a royal purple. The purples misted to an icy blue. Then came warm yellows. It was an astounding lighting kaleidoscope by the PBS techno team to backdrop the late November concert of Frate Alessandro, Assisi’s “singing friar.” PBS aired the concert in March 2017.

Accompanied by the chamber orchestra of Perugia, Frate Alessandro’s concert ranged from solos to songs accompanied by two children’s choirs, others with the St. Francis Basilica choir directed by Franciscan choir director/composer Padre Magrino, OFM.

There were no seats left in the Basilica that night as two Franciscans offered the enthralled public a musical splendor backdropped by the stunning frescoes recounting the life of their founding padre, our San Francesco.

The warmth of the colors moving across the Gothic vaults above matched Frate Alessandro’s own warmth. That in his voice and that in his broad smile and dancing eyes. And in his words at concert end as he thanked the public after expressing gratitude to the chamber orchestra and the accompanying choirs: “Our music is uniting us all, for we are mirroring all of you through our music. We are taking in your joys and tribulations and reflecting back to you in musical joy.”