Rosenfinger Virtual Concert Hall - Insider Programme 1



Vasta per aequora vecti: Sea and Wind from Classical Literature to Piano Music

Fabio Grasso, piano


"Vasta per aequora vecti", “transported through the wide sea”, is a verse drawn from the Aeneis.

This programme collects works that recall in various way the light, the sounds, the mythology of the sea landscapes described in the classical epic literature and in the subsequent literary works that refer to this model. Part of this programme was performed in Vercelli (Sala Dugentesca “J. Robbone”), during a meeting of the Association of Classical Culture, April 2007.



Fabio Grasso: Due liriche di Mimnermo


Read about & Listen




Letizia Michielon: from Vox tibi, nn. 2-3, Echo, Oceanidi


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Claude Debussy: Prélude n. 8 Vol II …Ondine





Claude Debussy: Prélude n. 2 Vol I …Voiles


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Claude Debussy: Prélude n. 5 Vol I …Les collines d’Anacapri


Claude Debussy: L'isle joyeuse





Claude Debussy: Prélude n. 7 Vol I …Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest


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Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata op. 31 n. 2 “Der Sturm”






FABIO GRASSO: Due Liriche di Mimnermo, for soprano and piano

Fabio Grasso, piano. Guest artist: Lucia Lazzeri, soprano


The meditation of the Greek poet Mimnermus (7th century b.Chr.) about time flowing and transience of the existence is very famous mainly for the metaphor of the leaves, image of the human life: just this text is used in the second of these Due Liriche for soprano and piano.

The first one is based on another important poem, in which the repetitiveness of the day-night alternation is represented by the solar chariot's perennially equal motion; so the author imagines for the Sun a secret night journey on the Ocean's surface, before the rise of the Homeric "Rose-fingered Aurora", from which our website draws its name.

The structure of the first piece follows the asymmetrical palindrome route of the poem, assigning a fairly recognizable harmonic connotation to every section defined by a main textual element: Helios (vv. 1-3 and 11), Eos (vv. 3-4 and 10), the Sun's journey (central verses).

The second piece is divided into two main sections; in its turn the first one has two subsections (vv. 1-2, vv. 3-5), while the second part consists of three segments with quite different characters: widespread octaves from the "black Parcae" to "Death", lumps of close sounds until verse 9, and an anaphoric melodi proceeding for the last verse.


LISTEN -  n. 1: 0'00'' to 3'32'' - n. 2: 3'32'' 



TEXTS: Original Classical Greek (used for the composition) and English translation


n. 1



Mimnermus, 7th century. b.Chr, fragm. 10 D.



n. 2



Mimnermus, 7th century. b.Chr, fragm. 2 D.  





CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prélude n. 8 Vol II ...Ondine

Fabio Grasso, piano


The daughters of Ocean inspire one of the pieces of the cycle Vox tibi (2007) of Letizia Michielon, an hommage to some women of Greek mythology, related to the natural elements.

A Debussyan atmosphere permeates these works, not casually, since Debussy also loved these sea figures, as testified for example by the Prelude Ondine.

We find one of the most beautiful literary evocations of them in Aeschylos’ Prometheus bound:



LISTEN to Letizia Michielon's Vox tibi, movements 2-3, 3'31''



LISTEN to Claude Debussy's Ondine, 4'09''





CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prélude n. 2 Vol I ...Voiles

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prélude n. 5 Vol I ...Les collines d'Anacapri

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: L'isle joyeuse

Fabio Grasso, piano


The second Debussy’s Prelude recall a silent, impressionistically "veiled" motion of sails on the sea waves (voile has the double meaning of "sail" and "veil"), while the images of joyful mediterranean isles with their bright colour inspire both …Les collines d’Anacapri and L’isle joyeuse. This last is said to be a Greek isle, whether the isle of Cythera, Venus’s birth place, or another like homeric Calypso’s isle, so described in the fifth book of the Odyssey.


            When Hermes came to the far isle, he went to the great cave, in which lived the nymph with beautiful locks. A great fire burned on the hearth. Far, citron and thuja smelled a delicate perfume. She, inside, sang with beautiful voice and wove with the golden spool. A luxuriant wood was all around, alders, poplars and odorous cypresses. Wide-winged birds had there their nest … Around the cave a lush vine, full of bunchs. Limpid water was flowing out from four close sources … surrounded by flowery meadows. Even a god would have contemplated this place, astonished, and rejoiced in his heart.


LISTEN to Claude Debussy's Voiles, 4'47''



LISTEN to Claude Debussy's Les collines d'Anacapri, 3'26''



LISTEN to Claude Debussy's L'isle joyeuse, 6'13''





CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prélude n. 7 Vol I ...Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest

LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN: Sonata op. 31 n. 2 "Der Sturm"

Fabio Grasso, piano


The homeric poems and the Greek theatre were surely well known to Shelley and Shakespeare. We end the programme with two passages that certainly owe much to the Greek literature, and show the stormy face of the sea. Shelley’s West Wind has directly inspired Debussy's ...Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest.

The relation between Beethoven’s Sonata op. 31 n. 2 and Shakespeare’s Tempest is weaker – the composer was induced to mention the drama in order to satisfy persistent requests about possible literary references for this Sonata. in which the inner stormy tumult deflagrating in the first movement is only apparently tempered by the resigned atmosphere of the initial theme (like a resigned motion of sea waves after the passage of a storm) of .the final Allegretto, that with its thematic developments and strong dynamic contrasts becomes soon a very unquiet, tormented movement, after the peaceful contemplativeness of the Adagio.


Thou (West Wind) on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion, Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread on the blue surface of thine aery surge, like the bright hair uplifted from the head of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge of the horizon to the zenith's height, the locks of the approaching storm.

… Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is: what if my leaves are falling like its own! The tumult of thy mighty harmonies will take from both a deep, autumnal tone, sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce, my spirit! (Pierce B. Shelley, from the Ode to the West Wind)


 “I boarded the king's ship; I flamed amazement .., and burn in many places … Jove's lightnings, the precursors o' the dreadful thunder-claps … the fire and cracks Oggetto:f sulphurous roaring the most  mighty Neptune seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble … his dread trident shake.“ (William Shakespeare, from The Tempest)


LISTEN to Debussy's Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest, 3'47''




LISTEN to Beethoven's Sonata op. 31 n. 2 “Der Sturm”, 25'02''


1. Largo – Allegro, 9'20''



2. Adagio, 8'22''



3. Allegretto, 7'20''