In Ruda – a small village in the province of Udine, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, fifty kilometres from Trieste and just over a hundred from Venice – singing has always been part of the town’s history. Accounts of the pastoral visits by the bishop of Gorizia Carlo Michele d’Attems in the second half of the eighteenth century witness the ability of the inhabitants of Ruda to catch the attention of the prelate with soavissimi canti (the most agreeable singing).
These innate gifts were further developed during the nineteenth century, thanks to the prescient education policy of the Habsburg Empire (Eastern Friuli remained under the dominion of Vienna until the First World War). Music was taught in primary schools and this facilitated the meeting of young people and the formation of groups of singers.
Even after the First World War and the battles of the Isonzo, these local features did not disappear. On the contrary, they found even more devotees in the following years and decades.
Personalities such as Vito Lipizer, Riccardo Zumini, Ezio Stabile, OnorioNovelli, Alberto Andlovizand above all Alfonso Mosettig pursued this course and spread the culture of music amongst young people in Ruda through philharmonics, bands and small choirs.
The first written document of a vocal-instrumental concert, in which the “Coro di Ruda” is quoted, dates back to 1926. The concert, as shown by an invitation held in the choir’s archive, took place in the “salasociale”(the choir’s seat). The programme included music by Verdi, Mascagni, Gounod, Fètras and Stabile. Solo baritone voice: Giovanni Gobbo; violin: Olimpio Gratton.
The rebirth and the first successes
The Second World War in the forties destroyed not only material things, but also the spirit of many Friulians, including the inhabitants of Ruda. Many did not return from the Russian Campaign on the Eastern Front, while others died in Albania and Greece. However, after the end of the war, people wanted to start over. Thanks to the tireless work of Rolando Cian, the choir was revived in Ruda or, more precisely, a new chorus with the emblematic name of “costanza e concordia” (constance and concord) was officially founded. With this name, Cian and his partners wanted to emphasize two fundamental aspects that remain important for those interested in this choir. Constance, because choristers must regularly attend weekly rehearsals and Concord, because without friendship, solidarity, common goals and projects, it is impossible to work together.
The early years were characterized by intense activity, mainly dedicated to traditional folk music. During the Reconstruction after the Second World War and even during the Italian economic miracle, the connection with ancient roots and singing about the social condition became almost a duty. In the early years of the choir, all the directors picked up plenty from the Friulian and regional folklore heritage. Apart from the classics – Arturo Zardini, Cesare Augusto Seghizzi, Rodolfo Kubik, Albino Torre and TitaMarzuttini – there was also room for some authors from Trieste such as Piero Pezzè, Mario Macchi, Antonio Illersberg and others.
The first concerts could not take place anywhere else but Friuli: in those years, fairs and festivals were routine for the choir.
At the same time, and especially thanks to the work of Tullio Pinat in the early 1950s, even polyphony – that is the simultaneous combination of voices – began to form part of the choral repertoire. The need for a more appropriate qualification of the group emerged and in 1966 the choir decided to change its name to “Coro polifonico di Ruda”. After regional success, many national performances followed: the first important landmarks were Arezzo and Rome, perhaps thanks to many periodical whip-rounds organised by the choir leaders in town, as the old choir members recall.
From the seventies to the present
The refinement work always pursued by the directors leading the choir’s artistic side helped the renown of the group to expand beyond the regional and national boundaries.
From the second half of the 1960s, especially thanks to the work of the maestro Orlando Dipiazza, the “Coro Polifonico di Ruda” was lauded on the main stages of Europe, invited both by important artistic organizations and other European choirs.
The intense study and, above all, the inexorable passage of time influenced the various replacements of choir members over the decades. A first phase may correspond with the late sixties and early seventies, when those who had been part of the choir even before the war made way for younger singers, eager to continue that astonishing activity. A second phase of membership renewal may be identified at the end of the eighties, when new strengths bolstered the choir. Thus, many young people from various towns took place in the choir along with the singers from Ruda.
Today the “Coro Polifonico di Ruda” can proudly be defined as an international group, even in its membership. Not only are singers from the whole of Friuli part of this choir, but also others from the Veneto region and even foreign students who find in day-to-day work with the “Coro Polifonico di Ruda” both a reason for personal satisfaction and an opportunity to enhance their cultural baggage and professional knowledge.
All the choir’s away days abroad from the seventies to today
2016 Lloret de Mar/Barcelona, Spain – “Cançó Mediterrània”International Choir Competition
2015 Málaga, Spain – “Canta en Primavera” International Choir Competition
2014 Styria, Austria -Concerts in Gnas and Graz
2013 Derry, Northern Ireland – First City of Derry International Choir Festival
Switzerland-Vella -75th anniversary of the foundation of the “Lumnezia” male choir
2012 Belgium – Concerts in Brussels for the “Open Days”
Carinthia, Austria – Concert in the Saint Paul’s Abbey in Lavanttal
2011 Carinthia, Austria – Concert in the Giessen Abbey
2010 Shaoxing, Xi’an and Beijing in China – VI World Choir Games
2009 Vienna, Austria – XXVI International Franz Schubert Choir Competition
2008 Graz, Austria – V World Choir Games
2007 Linz, Austria – Competition
2006 Litija, Slovenia and Athens, Greece
2005 Helsinki, Finland and a competition at Tallinn in Estonia
2004 Riga, Latvia and Saint Petersburg, Russia
2002 Kanal, Slovenia
2001 Ulaanbaatar on three occasions and Karakorum, both in Mongolia
Toronto in Canada, Boston in the USA and Kanal in Slovenia
2000 Riga, Lielvarde and Jupebalga in Latvia
Souffelweyersheim and Strasbourg in France
1999 – Manila, Quezon City, Luzon and Tondo in the Philippines
1998 Kanal, Slovenia
Paço de Arcos, Lisbon and Linda Velha in Portugal-
1997 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Kaunas, Vilnius and Šiauliai in Lithuania
1996 Twice in Vienna, once each in Klagenfurt, Innsbruck, Feldkirch and Graz in Austria
Twice in both Avellaneda and Resistencia and three times in Buenos Aires, all in Argentina
1995 Bratislava, Slovakia and Vienna, Austria
1994 Three times in Nizhny Novgorod and once in Sormovo, both in Russia
1993 Chrudim and Pardubice in the Czech Republic
1992 Three times in Preveza, Greece
1991 Twice in Strasbourg, France
1990 Tours, France in competition
1989 Kempten, Germany
1988 Novi Sad, Zrenjanin and Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia
1987 Oslo, Drobak and Fredrikstad in Norway
1986 Bellinzona and Locarno in Switzerland
Sofia, Bulgaria and Braunschweig in Germany
1985 Innsbruck, Austria
Bremen, Hannover, Kiel, Hamburg,Wolfsburg, Munich and Landshut in Germany
Versailles, Paris, Strasbourg and Souffelweyersheim in France
1984 Münster, Bochum and Cologne in Germany
1982 Athens in Greece, Verviers in Belgium and Ljubljana in Slovenia
Düsseldorf, Ratingen, Cologne and Bonn in Germany
1981 Rijeka and Opatija in Croatia
1979 Velden, Austria
Vodnjan and Pula in Croatia
1974 Vienna and Villach in Austria
1972 Klagenfurt, Austria