Mario Parodi: En silencio 1963 (from seis istantaneas) – Marco Ramelli

Mario Parodi has been a continuous source of research for years. A biographical search that progresses slowly, with only a few steps per time. Paradoxically, this challenges in unveiling who he was only accentuate the legendary aura surrounding this musician.

He was born in Turkey to a Genovese father, then from 1950 lived in Argentina, where he married and had a daughter, Silvia Parodi, who also became a guitarist. Details about his life beyond these facts are scarce, and he seemed to have lived an isolated existence within the world of guitarists in South America. After his death from cancer in 1970, his name was lost in the history of guitar.

Searching for him, for me, is more than just a historical quest; it is a musical exploration, a journey into a unique universe. He is a portal that helps approach a perhaps lost way of interpreting and listening to music.

During his years in Istanbul, he was initially self-taught as a guitarist. Still, he had a solid foundation in counterpoint, harmony, and interpretation from pianists, who likely adhered to the school of Liszt. It’s worth noting that many Turkish pianists studied or drew inspiration from the virtuoso.
For this reason, he learned an art of interpretation based on the ability to manage time, rubato, and work on sound by anticipating and postponing notes, manipulating sounds like a material, something to be shaped, much in line with the poetic of the late romantic pianists.

Fortunately, we have his recordings: extraordinary performances that testify to his approach to interpretation. Recordings that had and continue to impact many musicians significantly. For example, when I spoke to Paul Galbraith years ago, he told me that the first guitar recordings he ever listened to were from Mario Parodi.

For me, playing his transcriptions and compositions and analyzing his recordings is a way to better understand this distant, refined, and poetic approach that can tell us a lot about the romantic art of interpretation.

Last month, at the end of a recording session, I performed this little gem composed by Parodi. ‘En Silencio’ is part of ‘Seis instantaneas,’ which, as a Parodi album’s liner notes tell us, are ‘short pages that are intimate and express, in a true and sincere manner, a special state of Parodi’s soul: they are vivid stages of romance, which he expresses to his listeners with special care and love.’

In the absence of much biographical data, these pieces are important because they come with dates and are small fragments of his life in music:
‘Atardecer’ (1932): ‘Mar Negro’ (1943): ‘Pequena Cancion’ (1939): ‘En Silencio’ (1963): ‘Estudio en azul y blanco’ (1964): ‘Arguello’ (1965).

Giovanni Tammaro created a very poetic video from this impromptu performance. Only after finishing the video did we realize the incredible resemblance to one of the few photos of Parodi on one of his album covers, which you’ll see at the end of the video.


Audio and Video: @Giovanni Tammaro
Recorded at Centro Asteria