The Song Cycles of Joseph Vella

The Song Cycles of Joseph Vella
20th January 2012 cyber
Date Friday 20 January 2012
Venue Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta
Time 19:30 hrs


  • SEHER op 39 for soprano (on a text by Daniel Massa)
    soprano Maria Frendo
  • NISGIET L-IMHABBA op 64  for baritone (on a text by Achille Mizzi)
    baritone Kevin Caruana
  • ASKESIS op 72 for contralto (on a text by Mario Azzopardi)
    contralto Claire Massa
  • POEZIJI TAL-BAHRIJA op 53  for tenor (on a text by Joe Friggieri)
    tenor Charles Vincenti

conductor JOSEPH VELLA

The Song Cycles of Joseph Vella: harmonisation of Maltese culture at its best  Annaliza Borg

MPO composer-in-residence Joseph Vella, is considered a pioneer where the composing of music to a Maltese text is concerned. His very early work, the secular cantata Il-Barri (1962) on a poem by Gorg Pisani, is very indicative of this.

Right up to the 1960s, as far as vocal music was concerned, composers in Malta were greatly influenced by the Italian musical tradition. Joseph Vella was the first Maltese composer to break away from the Italian influence and pseudo-folk idiom to compose art music using the Maltese language in an effort to create an indigenous type of Maltese lieder. Songs like Il-Kebbies tal-Fanali (Anton Buttigieg), Wahdi (Joe Camilleri) and Il-Lejla l-Qamar qed Jitwerrec (Mario Azzopardi) can surely be described as prototypes in this respect.

His experience using Maltese as a medium soon led Vella to go one step further and compose a whole song cycle. Seher, one of the works to be performed on Friday, is a set of five songs to words by Daniel Massa and can also be described as an absolute first on the local music scene……. more