Museo Cantoni

Cantoni Museum: the history of his concert

The Cantoni museum is housed in the former Coltaro schools in the municipality of Sissa Trecasali, in the lower Parma area. We are at the origins of the most popular wind music known.

The origins of the Cantoni Concerto

Cantoni Museum
Foto Cantony’s family on the film set Novecento

Let’s go back to 1861 when Giuseppe Cantoni, born in 1841, founded the “Concerto a fiato” in Casale di Mezzani, in the lower Parma area, together with valid musicians from the area. A skilled flugelhorn player, he initiated all his children at a very young age, no less than 14 of them to study the trumpet, trombone and flugelhorns with the aim of creating a wind ensemble with his entire large family.

Some have excelled in this:

  • Riccardo graduated in trumpet at the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma
  • Fernando became soloist of bombardino and composer of the pieces of the Cantoni Concerto
  • Dante distinguished himself in the bass tuba

The concert band was composed of 12-13 members of the family, the only outsiders, let’s say, were the clarinettists.

The road of music

Giuseppe Cantoni and his Concerto, in a short time are characterized by professionalism: initially called in the peasant festivals dedicated to the harvest or the grape harvest, they soon became an important point of reference in the genre of polka, waltz and mazurka.

Any occasion becomes a good one to call the Cantoni Concert to play, especially in the square or on festive occasions.

The management of the group remains in the hands of Giuseppe until 1909, the year of his death. The baton is taken up by his son Fernando until the 1960s when he passed the fate of the group to his son Severino.

In 1983 a young Eugenio Martani joined the concert, a quartino soloist, passionate about music and the group.

It will be Eugenio himself who, as a passionate scholar and researcher of popular music, founded the Associazione Tradizioni della Bassa in 1998, with the aim of “recovering, keeping alive and spreading all the traditions typical of the Bassa (riparian zone of the river Po), the history the knowledge of the characters and the culture of the area “. The project also sees the collaboration of the Circolo La Duchessa in agreement with the Municipality of Sissa and the Comunalia of Coltaro.

Eugenio Martani collects, catalogs and keeps inside the Museum original instruments, scores, music and journalistic testimonies and much more from the Concert.

Three curiosities …

  • Giuseppe Cantoni had a singular way of attracting the public: with the “invitation” the solo quartino went up to a balcony, to a window (or even it was said on a tree half hidden among the leaves) and performed the Waltz de “nightingale ”accompanied by the rest of the wind concert. Here is a young Martani playing the nightingale himself.
  • Severino is responsible for the artistic encounter with great masters of theater and cinema: Giorgio Strehler, Roberto Leydi and the famous Bernardo Bertolucci. Bertolucci himself wanted the concert on the set of three important films Strategia del Ragno, Novecento and Tragedia di un uomo ridicolo.
  • Following the musical typology, other wind concerts were born: the Pinazzi Concerto in Bocca d’Enza, the Barco di Bibbiano Concerto, the Rossi-Jovini Concerto and others.

Visiting the Museum

During the visit it is possible to listen to the old recordings on 78 rpm discs dating back to the 1930s, while along the exhibition path it is possible to listen to music in order to bring the visitor closer to the melodies of this popular music trend. In addition, the original scores, the instruments used, the information posters of the past are on display (who remembers the big ones of the parties with the musical group that played?).

For music lovers it is a treasure trove of emotion while for those who approach it it is pure culture because you learn that some things are not as you think … and we say nothing else.

How and when to visit the Cantoni Museum

Eugenio Martani was a pupil of the Cantons and for this reason he took up the inheritance and to him the task of continuing to disseminate it. In the Museum he welcomes you with his enormous passion for music and deep respect for this family, telling you anecdotes, travel stories, encounters, occasions, he is the historical mind of what is still called the “Cantoni grit”.

The museum is located in the former Elementary Schools, via Roma, 42 in Coltaro, Sissa in the lower Parma area.

It is necessary and recommended to call in advance, on the telephone of the Lower Traditions Association t.0521 875534

However, we provide the Municipality website for any further information.


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