Wednesday, 30 May 2012
I'm a sucker for a good story, and the post from yesterday and today link in very nicely. I was intrigued by the beautiful 'Paolo Soprani' that the musician was playing so did a bit of research.
In 1863, an Austrian pilgrim returning home from visiting the Loreto sanctuary asked for hospitality for the night at a farmhouse near Castelfidardo. After having been refreshed, he sat down by the fireside and started to play a strange 'box'. This was the house of Antonio and Lucia Soprani and their sons. One son, Paolo, was interested in this musical box, which was a copy of the 'accordeon', patented in 1829 by Mr Demian of Vienna. There are differing tales of how Paolo obtained this box: some say that he awoke at night and studied the secrets of the instrument. The important thing is that from this little box, a few years later, the accordion industry would be born in Castelfidardo. In 1864 Paolo opened a small workshop and eventually moved to a bigger home in the centre of the town where he exhibited and played the accordion. His instrument was very popular with Italians who had emigrated overseas, and the sound of the "armonica" helped to ease their homesickness. In 1900 Paolo's company had a huge success at the World's Fair in Paris and he became a member of the Academy of Inventors of Bruxelles and Paris. He worked until he was 70, when his two sons took over, and Paolo died in his home in 1918 when he was 73 years old.