I have a friend/dealer who lives in Florence, Italy. He has been a good source for all my European autographs - his name is Renato and he has been given the seal of approval from the United Autograph Society as a legitimate dealer. Beyond our business life together, over the years, we have become good friends. I have a rather interesting story I would like to share with you concerning a very rare find he came across just before Christmas.
During my long-standing friendship with Renato, we have discussed all sorts of musical things. At the top of our discussions is a composer named: Francesco Paolo Neglia, he is my great Uncle. Francesco lived in Enna Sicily most of his early years but later moved to Hamburg Germany after taking a German wife. Basically, he was exiled to Germany by his Italian counterparts; marrying a German during the 1st world war was not accepted!
My friend Renato was traveling in Liguria when he came across 6 large volumes of articles, reviews and photos of my great uncle. Amazing stuff. The photocopies you have in your hand are pictures Renato sent me when he found these items in Europe.
To help you understand my desire to revive the music of FP Neglia, take a look at a journal entry I made back on December 21, 2004.
For over a year I have been putting together a history of FP Neglia, both written and pictorial. I have unearthed many interesting facts, articles and other documentation about his life. I have been searching for any or all rights to his music, [I even contacted a lawyer in Sicily to assist me (through a friend here in the USA)] I have been in contact with most parties in Enna: the Conservatory di Francesco Paolo Neglia, the Mayors office, the school of FP and more. After I find out more information concerning the copyrights of FP material; which I think at this point, is public domain, I will purchase the rights myself. My hope is to have all of his music recorded and performed in the next few years. In addition to the performance(s) and recording, Il Ponte Magazine is interested in running FP as their cover story in a future issue. If I can produce enough material, UNICO, Il Ponte, The Italian Tribune, the Italian American Society (and hopefully others) will pitch in and help raise the necessary funds to produce the recording/performance.
A few days ago, a friend of mine who lives in Italy contacted me concerning a large chunk of material collected by the nephew of FP Neglia. This material was discovered in Liguria at a vintage bookstore. These archives (6 scrap books) contain photos, programs and critiques of FP from 1901 to 1914 when he was in Hamburg, activity as composer and conductor from 1900 to 1956, including photos, news and libretto on the first performance of his opera Zelia, also letters/reports by Mario Barbieri.
If I am able to collect enough information, it could make for one hell of a dissertation for one of my nieces or nephews! I wrote to Renato (my contact in Italy) and requested photos of the various items up for purchase. He sent me about 20 pictures via the Internet last night … The cost of the purchase is 800 Euros which translates into about $1000 U$D. I am committed to seeing this project through, no matter how long it takes.