Undoubtedly, the best achievements of Mgr Giuseppe Farrugia, by far a formidable all-rounder, were in the musical field. The great majority of Farrugia’s compositions, and the best, are without any shadow of doubt sacred and vocal. Farrugia generally uses either a very rich and chromatic harmony, almost german in style or, rather, the conventional Italian type, or amixture of both. The two “Responsoria” Georgi Miles Inclyte (1878; revised 1892) and Praeclara custos virginum (1893) are two major “cavalli di battaglia” among Farrugia’s ‘ouvre’ that are still played today. One might argue that Farrugia’s (sacred) music is very operatic in nature. His Hodie Egressa Est (1884; revised in 1910) is an antiphon in honour of the Immaculate Conception and it is really a dramatic work, reflecting the “ontological” duel or confrontation between Satan and Sine Macula. Joseph Fili David (1896) is a close second to the preceding work. As was the custom of antiphon-writing, Farrugia’s antiphons are very festive in mood.
Alla Mia Patria is an overture (‘sinfonia’), Farrugia’s only instrumental work for band. The style of this overture is complimentary to the form.
The music of Giuseppe Farrugia is a ‘hybrid’ between stylistic lofty characteristics and demagogic, popular flavour.
by Stephen Attard
Photo Credits: George Cassar
Sound Clip: Hymnus – Georgi Miles Inclyte (1878) – “O Heros invictissime”
Vespers (1900) – “Domine ad adiuvandum me”
Rumen Doikov (tenor), Luadate Pueri Choir, Victoria Festival Orchestra conducted by Joseph Vella