Franco D. Umberto


(Middle name unknown; could stem from his advocacy of tuning the low string on the bass down, through he usually insisted on a low C or even lower.)

WARNING: The IBSU must warn you that reading this is not only disturbing, but possibly dangerous. If Moristo agents discover that you know this information, you could end up on their enemy list. Only the brave and dedicated should proceed.
Hardly enough censure can be aimed at Umberto, who was probably responsible for more difficulty and grief in Bottesini's life than anything else, including poor health and bass-damaging customs officers. This malefactor caused frequent concert cancellations and often seeded Bottesini's audiences with his own loud-mouthed, hostile partisans in a mean-spirited attempt to dull Bottesini's success.

The Life of Umberto

Umberto was born, by his own admission, ten days after Bottesini. The uncertainty surrounding Bottesini's birth throws an uncertain light on Umberto's -- and is symbolic of the way these rivals were inextricably linked from the beginning.

They first met in Milan while Bottesini was at the Conservatory and Umberto was a struggling bassist outside the academy. For a while they were friends, getting one another jobs, often working as stand partners.

The relationship quickly soured as Bottesini's ascendancy became clear. At one point, Bottesini asked Umberto to write a character reference; the vicious result is today in the Bottesini Archives:

I am loathe to say anything but good about my dear friend Giovanni Bottesini. I have associated with him, not for my own edification, but to obey our Lord Jesu's command to help "the least of these my brethren." His weakness of intellectual and moral character is only exceeded by the questionable musical theories he espouses ... yet any Christian would feel compelled, as I have, to lend strength and support, that he might not harm himself or others ...

This honey-coated screed continues for several pages.

Open hostility broke out shortly before Bottesini left Milan for Vienna, when Umberto drove a nail into Bottesini's new Testore. From then on, Umberto shadowed Bottesini and made many attempts to sabotage his concerts. (A notable and especially dangerous incident occurred in St. Petersburg.)

Even to this day, an international cartel called the Moristo, founded by Umberto, uses enormous world-wide economic and political power to sully the name of Bottesini, making it difficult for artists and scholars alike to record or publish anything by or about the Master.

The fact that you are reading this document is a monument to the courage and fortitude of a small number of writers and publishers who have managed to stand up to the pressure exerted by Moristo.

The death of Umberto

Did Umberto poison Bottesini?

There is no clear-cut evidence, but Bottesini's death in Parma was tragically premature, and murder was well within Umberto's capability. He is implicated in the deaths of a number of Bottesini associates, including those of Luigi Rossi, Carlo Arpesani, Madame Fiorentini, and his sister Angela.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (