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Notes by Dr. Beverly Everett

icon-cascarinoI first learned of Romeo Cascarino and his beautiful music from my friend and mentor, international conductor JoAnn Falletta. A mutual friend had introduced JoAnn to Cascarino’s music, long time Philadelphia music critic Tom DiNardo, a close personal friend of the Cascarino family. Forming an orchestra called the Philadelphia Philharmonia, JoAnn recorded six of Romeo’s orchestral works for the Naxos label in 2008.

Cascarino’s musical language is one of warmth, beauty, color and nuance. After hearing the CD I immediately fell in love with the piece, “Blades of Grass” for English Horn, Strings and Harp. The title and subsequent emotion of the piece are derived from Carl Sandberg’s elegy, “Grass,” written in 1918, which is about men dying in battle. – Beverly Everett

Grass by Carl Sandberg (1918)

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.

Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

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