quattro quadri
per organo solo (2018)
42 minutes – no.33

Venice's success in commerce and shipping during the 16th and 17th century came with a heavy price: the Black Death. Believed to have originated in Central Asia, the bubonic plague was spread by rats and fleas hitchhiking on ships going westwards, along the Venetian trade routes. The 'invisible enemy' invaded La Serenissima in the year 1348, and triggered a total of twenty-two pandemic outbreaks over the course of 150 years. Between 1576 and 1577 a second wave claimed fifty thousand people, almost a third of the local population, whereas the final strike in 1680 was just as fatal: in just seventeen months eighty thousand people in Venice perished.

In those days, the Black Death was viewed as divine punishment. Nevertheless, the undeniably random nature of infection caused worshippers to liken the disease with being shot by an army of Mother Nature's archers. In desperation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, that is to say, the patron Sebastian, in view of the belief he himself ... >>>



photo: Sebastian (2011) by Aurelio Monge (photography)
(reproduced with permission)