The first word that comes to mind when I remember Maestro Renzi is “clarity”, the clarity that he expected of his students already in the first harmony and counterpoint assignments, the clarity that he chased during a time in history that had very little clarity. I often wonder how now, after so many years, he would have reacted to some radical changes which he did not get to witness and that have drastically changed our perception of things. I wonder if he would have ever given in to having a cell phone or a computer and I smile while imagining his ironic and disenchanted comments to the frantic novelties of our times. I do not mean that he was not curious about what technology could offer, in fact, he was attracted by it and tried to use the possible applications, but as any good Roman, he was always looking with a critical and ironic eye at the trends that embrace any novelties without criticism. His art also reflected this. It is difficult to say how much of his lessons were only about composition. In his class, I learned a lot more. Because when you entered his classroom, you really would not know what was awaiting you, if a counterpoint lesson, a piano lesson or perhaps an endless one on Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” or on Puccini’s “Suor Angelica”. At times when you thought that you did your exercises well you would hear him say that yes, everything was correct but musically speaking was weak. Nevertheless, you would ponder, must I make art even with my assignments? Other times, when instead you had neglected your study in favor of inevitable weaknesses of youth and went to the lesson having barely completed one lousy counterpoint, you would go back home with a hefty loot, because time was not, in any case, to be wasted and those lessons became the most productive and unforgettable of your life.
He loved teaching and he did it in the best way: with clarity. He was not nitpicking. He never imposed on us any little “tables” for our exercises (how much I hated those tables, and how much I would like to go back in time to start doing his exercises again), it would have been too easy. In music, he taught me that there is no absolute rule. Each case is by itself and even the most arid exercise of a harmony bass or a counterpoint must be addressed as a work of art, because in the end, it is, and the thing I am most grateful for is having taught me that only by submitting to this unwritten “rule” there is true freedom. In addition, the rule for him was clarity of intention and clarity of exposition. Today when I remember those lessons, I realize that I am and will always be his pupil until the day when I will not have conveyed to someone else this oral tradition, which is more precious of any handbook of harmony or counterpoint or fugue.
Happy centennial Maestro.

Bruno Moretti
Composer and Conductor
May 2014


Homage to Armando Renzi at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Rome April 12, 2013



Written accounts by Friends and Colleagues

Written accounts


Sacred Music Catalogue
S.I.A.E. (Italian Society Authors and Editors) Catalogue



Memories from former students


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