ISBN 978-88-905747-0-2 highSCORE Proceedings 2010 / editor Ingrid Pustijanac / translated by Ivan Fowler and Michael Elphinstone ÂŠ highSCORE New Music Center 2011 www.highscorenewmusic.com Printed in Pavia, Italy
highSCORE Proceedings 2010
Editor Ingrid Pustijanac Translated by Ivan Fowler and Michael Elphinstone
INDEX Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Editor’s Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
THE POETICS OF COMPOSITION Sound resources from non-Western music and their use in Western art music – A colloquium on music by Christopher Theofanidis and Ingrid Pustijanac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Energy and Music – In conversation with Mario Garuti . . . . . . .
Personal Notes on Some Aspects of Musical Tradition Paul Moravec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Composing today – Interview with composers of the highSCORE Festival 2010 Ingrid Pustijanac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
THE GUITAR QUINTET ET AL A discreet guest, the guitar quintet from Boccherini to CastelnuovoTedesco Matteo Giuggioli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Twentieth-century Guitar Music Carlo Fierens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Early Instruments in Contemporary Art Music Ugo Nastrucci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
highSCORE Festival 2010 - Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
highSCORE Festival 2010 - People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I am deeply moved to be collecting together the outcomes of highSCORE New Music Center’s first months of activity in this volume, less than a year after its foundation. Our center was created with the mission to stimulate, train, aid and promote the excellence of young people in the field of musical composition, and offer them a context within which to further their professional preparation, propose their work to the wider audience and interact with other composers, performers, artists, musicologists and editors. It was with these aims in mind that we began fulfilling our mission by presenting the highSCORE Festival 2010, a contemporary music festival with master classes dedicated to young composers from all over the world. Two intense weeks of concerts, premier performances, workshops, lessons and seminars discovering new music took place in the enchanting Italian city of Pavia. These Proceedings, enriched by the contribution of the musicologist and editor Ingrid Pustijanac, for the most part consist of a collection of comments made by the young participants of the festival, interviews with the protagonists, analyses, musicological writings, reflections and the minutes of the conference. As I write these lines, the year 2011 is coming rushing over the horizon, brimful with initiatives. Thanks to the untiring dedication of our Executive Director, Paolo Fosso, we are working on the program for the next edition of the highSCORE Festival. We are giving the final polish to our web portal, and we are getting ready for the launch of a new and innovative educational event: highSCORE Special Week. And these activities are only the tip of the ice-berg. None of this could have happened without the generous contribution of the Fondazione Cariplo, the hospitality provided both by the Pavia’s conservatory, the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “F. Vittadini” and by Voghera Town Council, the availability of CampUS Residence, Pavia, legal advice provided by 5
avvocato Andrea Cazzani and the goodwill of all those friends who attend, participate in and contribute to our activities. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you. Giovanni Albini Artistic Director - highSCORE New Music Center
The current volume is divided into two parts. The first part – The Poetics of Composition – is a collection of interviews that were conducted with the teachers of highSCORE Festival 2010, Christopher Theofanidis and Mario Garuti, in which some of the main ideas they dealt with during the master classes are explained in a concise form. The role of non-Western elements in Western art music, confronted by Theofanidis, is further considered in Paul Moravec’s reflections. The interview with Mario Garuti, on the other hand, focuses on issues related to the concepts of time and figure in music. The first part of the volume concludes with an interview I carried out with the young composers participating in the master classes. This interview aimed at highlighting the richness of compositional approaches and the variety of individual poetics present at the Festival. The second part of the volume – Guitar Quintet et al – is a collection of historical and analytical essays. In his article, the musicologist Matteo Giuggioli presents the genre of the guitar quintet through an overview of the musical literature of the past. The guitarist-musicologist Carlo Fierens proceeds with the examination of the solo guitar repertoire, taking into consideration also some pieces written by the young composers participating in the Festival. The final article of the second part consists of a series of reflections written by the composer Ugo Nastrucci on the use of early instruments in contemporary music. This article is enriched by an appendix in which the organological characteristics of these instruments are described. I wish to close by thanking all of the participants for the enthusiasm with which they agreed to contribute to the creation of this volume. Ingrid Pustijanac Musicologist
THE POETICS OF COMPOSITION
SOUND RESOURCES FROM NON-WESTERN MUSIC AND THEIR USE IN WESTERN ART MUSIC – A COLLOQUIUM ON MUSIC BY CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS AND INGRID PUSTIJANAC
I.P. In keeping with the theme of the 2010 edition of the highSCORE Festival, the quartet and/or guitar quintets, the second movement of your composition Visions and Miracles, entitled Peace love light YOUMEONE, has been performed. This composition was composed in 1997 in three movements, and a transcription for string orchestra also exists. It uses musical means to translate a unique idea that you expressed in an interview. The three fragments of poetry that are used as titles of the individual movements also express this: All joy wills eternity (I) by Nietzsche, Peace love light YOUMEONE (II) by the 1960s American guru Timothy Leary, and finally I add brilliance to the sun (III), taken from a troubadour’s poem. In all three movements, the predominant element is the presence of a clear, folk-musicinspired, melodic profile. Nevertheless, the techniques of repeated tones and repetitions reveal a certain closeness both to Bela Bartók’s string quartets and to minimalist music. C.T. I was once in a bookstore and came across a book with the wonderful title – The subtle art of repetition – which caught my attention. Repetition in the worst sense of the word, of course, implies a kind of inanity – a lack of thought, maybe boredom, and certainly a lack of creativity. Repetition in defter hands, however, is the ability to create internal cohesion and self-referentiality by artfully dancing around the repetition – that is, to make repetition seem like the elaboration of an argument rather than circular meanderings. What and how a creative artist does this is something which is very personal. For me, it comes from a sense of physics or dance which is constantly reorienting to the original material.
I.P. In my opinion, another element that’s important in you music from the late 1990s is present in Visions and Miracles. I mean the use of ritenuto notes which take on a function rather like that of the resonance pedal of the piano. This technique is widely used also in your most famous piece, Rainbow Body, composed in 2000 for orchestra. It allows you to define a particular relationship between the harmony and the motivic development of your thematic material. This process has undergone a number of transformations over the years. C.T. It is a fine line between a drone and what you are referring to in Rainbow Body – a sense of orchestrated sustain. I am naturally very attracted to modal music, and so by extension to drones; though, as with repetition, the discourse of the ‘subtle art’ is even more applicable to drones. It is true, as the Jazz artist John Coltrane proved, that literally any note stands well against a drone, but it is also true that drones can really ‘dull’ the ears over time - their gravitational weight can sink the ultimate flow of a piece. In Peace Love Light YOUMEONE, I was trying to create a sense of buoyant timelessness, using a drone, by giving it different ‘flavours’ throughout the composition. Each of the larger regions of the piece is saturated in a different scale, though the work always happens over a C. It was intentional that the lowest note was a middle C (a treble note) – this was to give the piece a bright quality, and at the end of the work, the drone finally does release, which for me had a kind of spiritual implication. At times, as in Rainbow Body, certain notes in the ascending scales ‘stick,’ which creates, as you say, a kind of ambiguity between harmony and the melodic materials which grow out of those particular notes. I suppose I had a similar acoustic concept in mind for both pieces, one which emanates from the warmth of sound one hears in a church acoustic. Like a kind of impressionism, the beginnings and endings of the notes in a church environment are not so clear, just the warmth and resonance of the sound. In Rainbow Body, which is a later piece, I use more elaborate means to make this happen, 12
with the duration of each of the background sustaining pitches very carefully timed out in their diminuendos. I.P. After writing six concertos for orchestra and solo instruments, three operas, various pieces for orchestra, including the above mentioned Rainbow Body, in 2009 you composed a Symphony, commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Savannah Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival. The piece unfolds over four movements, following the best classical tradition. Speaking of your orchestral production in general, compared to your solo and chamber works, you have expressed a highly specific opinion, which does not emphasise the formal heritage that such genres might bring to mind. Instead, you underline the different expressive reach. I quote from your interview with Molly Sheridan: «For me, the binding glue between the different pieces is that essentially an ensemble, or even a solo player, is an organism. And the music moves as an organism does. So if you have a massive orchestra, lumbering in quality, you have to do things to make it graceful, proportionately to the movement, and make it move in a way that makes it beautiful. That's different from a two-flute piece to a string quartet to an electric guitar ensemble or whatever it happens to be. Each of those things as an organism has its own mechanics, its own logic, and part of composing is finding out what it is. I'm very aware of that when I'm doing it. Again, it comes back to movement, and dance, and gestural motion. It has a different scale. Also, larger ensembles tend to be more like public oratory. You're speaking to people who are slightly at a distance. Things read differently. You can't micro emote in those things, you know. Whereas, if you're singing lieder, you can. You place things very deliberately and carefully. Understanding that as a starting point is something that I feel really close to in my concept for pieces that I'm working on.»1 This awareness of the instrument for which you are composing seems to have determined not only the writing of 1
CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS, Wider Than a Concept, Deeper Than a Sound. In conversation with Molly Sheridan, in «new music box. The Web Magazine of the American Music Center», 1 November 2010, http://www.newmusicbox.org/ article.nmbx?id=6640 (consulted on January 5th, 2011).
your 2009 Symphony, but also many elements of the overall form of the piece. C.T. Yes – starting with the very tradition of a symphony itself. I think that I most identify with the late Romantic idea of a symphony being a universe, and that universe has its own rules which govern it. The first thing I asked myself is ‘what feels like a symphony to me, and what does not?’ I do not presume this for anyone other than myself, nor do I think it is a hard rule for success, but I did notice that many of my favourite works had a first (and often last) movement which was substantive in length; that is, at least 12 minutes or so. I also noticed that time seemed to accumulate weight as it went in the symphonic language. That is, the third movement may only need to be 5 minutes because where it comes in the total architecture makes it feel like 8 or 10. This is the organism of the symphony – it is literally in its biology. There is also something about the scale of a symphony that makes one consider the way memory works, and memory is also organic I think. There was an interesting theorist here in the States named Jonathan Kramer who wrote about memory in music.2 One of his ideas was that after we hear a theme and it disappears, when it comes back it means something more to us – the idea being that there is a ‘hidden’ development that happens out of time, much like the depth of connection that happens between friends over many years – they are continuously coming in and out of each other’s lives, but the actual amount of time that they spend together is very little. And yet, with the passage of time, there is a depth that develops notwithstanding that. Mahler does this of course – he will develop a section of a movement over 6 or 7 minutes, then completely leave that region of the piece for some time before bringing it back quite a bit later. The effect on the listener’s sense of journey is extraordinary. In my symphony, I was quite conscious of this. I tried to create this strong sense of return in the first movement with the music which has the chimes, but I also try to 2
One of Kramer’s most famous works is JONATHAN KRAMER, The Time of Music, Schirmer Books, New York 1988. [Ed.]
create it on a larger structural sense by mirroring several of the materials from the first movement in the fourth, however distorted and transformed they may become. There is something in the humanistic experience which yearns to return, maybe if only to the same place with a deeper appreciation of what you already know and have encountered. This is what creates depth for me. I.P. In your compositions you pay a great deal of attention to the timbric potential of instruments. This manifests itself in the combinations between the various instruments (I’m thinking of the use of three oboes together with the sopranino clarinet, the B flat clarinet and the piccolo in the opening section of your Symphony). It is evident in your careful choice of registers which reveal fresh properties in familiar instruments. However, it is also clear from your decision to use more unusual instruments, such as the cimbasso. This attention is particularly evident in the definition of new colors in the extreme registers, both in the uppermost register with unusual combinations of wind instruments, and in the lowermost register where the brass instruments often play a structurally important role. C.T. Very nicely phrased. In what instrument you choose to put the material is of primal importance of course. Material which sounds pleasant in a piccolo, can sound like a struggle for dear life in a trumpet. This is about intensity, intent, and meaning, and you are right, it is ultimately structural. You must be aware of pacing in orchestration and the effect of the intensity of the orchestration on the flow and structure. With respect to the idea of doublings, triplings, etc., I tend toward ‘chorused’ sounds – sounds which don’t seem like clumsy individuals, but have a certain definition because they are stabilized by being reinforced. It also creates a kind of character, ultimately, which I like. Creating character through orchestration is one of the great joys of orchestration. I often think to myself – what adjectives could I use to describe what I want here? I take great delight in coming up with unusual descriptions in music – ‘mercurial and good-natured,’ ‘too self15
aware and prickly,’ etc. From these I can try to define something interesting in music more accurately. Of course, music has a logic all its own, but I find that metaphors like this can propel me into orbit more vividly. I.P. In the two conferences which you held for the participants of the master classes you chose to analyze the Symphony. Understanding of this work was further extended in the second meeting, in which you confronted a topic that is particularly central to your activity as a composer: the importance of non-Western musical traditions in Western art music. A great deal has been written on this subject both from the technical point of view and in direct relation to specific musical works of the past and of the present.3 In many of your compositions, numerous themes and motives, atmospheres and rhythms are present that seem to be reminiscent of folk traditions. Certainly, the Symphony can be collocated among these. Only on rare occasions, these consist of musical citations in the true sense. Rather, a deeper form of internalization of musical idioms from diverse cultures is at work, which comes to the fore in the moment of writing. Another example I could mention is The Refuge, for soloists, choir, orchestra and a number of non-Western ensembles (2007). Elements that belong to the worlds musical traditions are an integral part of your way of thinking about music, as you underlined in your conference on non-Western music. During that conference you presented musical examples from a range of cultures, such as the Bulgarian Women’s voices, Pigmy hunting cries, Japanese Gagaku, Rwandan women’s songs and Masai tribal singing, Tibetan chant, Inhuit rice games, etcetera etcetera. Which elements of traditional music have struck you the most, and how 3
For further details see, amongst others, GEORGINA BORN, DAVID HESMONDHALGH (editors), Western Music and Its Others. Difference, Representation and Appropriation in Music, University of California Press, Berkley/Los Angeles/London 2000, and the collection of essays edited by JONATHAN BELLMAN, The Exotic in Western Music, Northeastern University Press, Boston 1997.
have non-Western musical cultures established dialogue with your compositional poetics? C.T. First, I think that there are two things that attract composers to non-Western musics. One, of course, is that it has a very different starting point from our understanding and training and forces us to confront the things we take for granted. In the Bulgarian Women’s singing, for instance, the tails of the phrases always seem to have some elaboration or ornamentation that falls away; the phrases, though strong, have a little flourish at the end. This is really interesting, and makes us realize how much our phrase endings are less interesting. Also, they sing with their characteristic bright, penetrating tone (something which is also found throughout many non-Western instruments – an ‘unapologetic’ timbre which is bold. It makes one realize how controlled and shaped our timbres have become, and how the quality of ‘raw’ is missing from our vocabulary. Or how in Japanese Gagaku, the instrument of the Shô is a pentatonic sonority that ‘breathes’ – the individual notes of the chord crescendo and diminuendo with the effect being an elegant respiration of sonority. We don’t have that – we have blunt crescendos and diminuendos, but there is no reason we cannot bring this into our vocabulary. These things are all vitamins for the composer. Of course, Messiaen knew this, and imparted it to his students, as well as many American composers of Messiaen’s generation – Harry Partch, Lou Harrison, etc. Secondly, a composer is attracted I think to the sense of the eternal in these traditions. This may sound a bit overstated, but in a musical landscape in which forward evolution has been the tradition for 200 years, where looking back usually involves irony or quaintness, the idea that this music comes from something that doesn’t have that fast metabolic change is very attractive. So many of these traditions have changed little over several hundred years – they are outside of the polemic of leaving the past behind. I think there was a similar reasoning for the movement starting with Arvo Pärt looking back at Medieval and early liturgical traditions. 17
There is also a wonderful sense of discovery in these musics for the composer. I remember how excited I was to hear some of this music when I was 22 for the first time â€“ what a door of possibility it opened for my imagination. The sense of discovery keeps your internal process vibrant and relevant to the joy of living.
(Translated by Ivan Fowler)
ENERGY AND MUSIC IN CONVERSATION WITH MARIO GARUTI
I.P. At the beginning of your lesson for the participants of the 2010 highSCORE Festival in Pavia, you spoke about black-white music with reference to composers such as Luigi Nono and Morton Feldman, and you highlighted a common trait, namely the rapport between sound and silence. In what way is the monochrome that you associate with this music realised on a compositional level? M.G. From Webern onwards, narrative flow has been transformed into a process, the elements that constituted the narration are laid bare â€“ they no longer contribute to a phraseology that is larger than themselves, but are exposed. These distinctive, archetypal traits or bending structures are ascribable to sound/very brief information, sound/information of a certain length and the passage from a sound/information to another sound/information. Looking at them, we would have a short vertical line, a short horizontal line and an oblique one. In Nono and Feldman, albeit in a different way, it is evident how their music is made up of the first two distinctive traits that donâ€™t assume a relationship between different pieces of information but simply the idea of variation of a pattern in a process. I think that the sensation of colour with its nuances can be attributed to the third distinctive element, the oblique line, which gives the idea of movement from one sound to another. The first two, on the other hand, give me the idea of black and white or, at the most, red as in the colour of overheating (see Malevich). The sensation of black and white (or red) comes also from the fact that the very idea of the process is reduced to minimum terms by these two composers, even the idea of movement on a formal level is minimal, with different values both in Nono and in
Feldman. Compositions such as A Carlo Scarpa4 and Coptic light5, for example, give the idea of a same subject re-proposed in a different light. (This is a generic dialogue; the concept of a sound object in Nono is much more complex and difficult, while in Feldman it seems simpler because it is not tied to parameters different from pitch.) I.P. In outlining your personal view of the current situation as regards music, you’ve noted a certain decadence, a kind of ‘decline’ in the production of Western art music that is in some way tied to a very important concept for the definition of your poetic horizon; that of energy. This is an element that you find present in the production of other forms of music, like rock music for example, in which the relationship between thought and energy has found a new and fruitful balance. M.G. By energy, I mean information in motion, recognisable, therefore it is clear that if we take into account today’s contemporary production we have to make many distinctions. The indications that we can have generally regard the latest generations that I don’t love, when I see that they perpetuate a type of aesthetic tied to the 50s, above all belonging to Mitteleuropean thought that had sense at the time of its greatest development; to re-propose it today in patently different contexts no longer makes sense. This superficial appropriation of an aesthetic that doesn’t directly belong to us already leads to a loss of energy, in the sense that it is a loss of information inasmuch as this information has already experienced a period of growth, development and decay. Therefore the problem is that the technical decision to act on an obsolete linguistic code is already a loss both from the point of view of energy and from that of information. Secondly, it’s interesting to see how music operators with non-classical training, like DJs, have understood the importance of duration much better 4
LUIGI NONO, A Carlo Scarpa, architetto, ai suoi infiniti possibili per orchestra a microintervalli (1984). [Ed.] MORTON FELDMAN, Coptic light for Orchestra (1985). [Ed.]
than other composers. In his correspondence with Boulez6 in the 50s, Cage had already noted the uniqueness of the parameter of duraton; of the four parameters that constitute sound, it is the only one present in both sound and silence. It is the only musical aspect that can be applied also to silence. Cage pointed out that European music in the 50s was considered post-Webernian only in the temporal sense of the word, but not as a consequence of Webern. In his opinion, it was really the Americans who continued to maintain two elements that were already evident in Webern’s Op.9, namely silence and repetition, two features that have been long ignored in the West, precisely because western composers have in some way shown themselves to be afraid of repetition because they interpret it as a loss of information or as a redundancy of the same, just as they have refused silence, perhaps on account of subconscious fear: horror vacui. Now it’s clear that a DJ who has not had academic training relates to history in a freer way, and if he has a little sensitivity towards the temporal aspect of the sound objects he puts together, then he assimilates with greater ease, together with the evolution of western language, the idea of silence and repetition. These are important elements for subsequently reporting patterns over the course of time. I’m thinking, for example, of Aphex Twin or Autechre7. In some pieces by these musicians, the ease with which they carry out sound processes where the factor of absolute predictability is given, for example, to a metre that is complex internally but simple in its entirety (pieces always in 4/4), is evident: alongside the predictability, there’s also a large factor of unpredictability since the internal complexity is treated as if it is in continuous motion, like a gaseous mass. When I speak about energy in music, I’m talking about a sound organism that seemingly lives a life of its own; on a technical level 6
PIERRE BOULEZ, JOHN CAGE, Correspondance et documents, édités par Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Nouvelle édition / revue par Robert Piencikowski, Schott, Mainz 2002 (ed. it. ID, Corrispondenza e documenti, a c. di J.-J. Nattiez, RCS Libri, Milano 2006.) [Ed.] Aphex Twin is the pseudonym of the electronic composer Richard David James (1971); Autechre is an English electronic music group made up of Rob Brown and Sean Booth. [Ed.]
it means creating processes that can be considered rich in information over time without losing their own internal meaning, their own recognisability. A successful piece is made up of a good balance between thought and energy. It’s a problem of artistic coefficient. If the work as a whole is too complex compared to the result or, conversely, if the thought introduced in the composition is too simple, in both cases we have a very low artistic coefficient in the composition. If the final aspect of the balance between thought and energy, ultimately the emotional aspect, is successful, this means that there has not been dispersion of energy in switching from the work as a whole to the result. It is a problem of transforming matter into energy. I.P. The mind and the body, the heart and craft are oppositions between elements that lead towards one’s own music only through a process of synthesis. To use broader terms, one could talk about the relationship between aesthetics and a composer’s technique, a balance the research of which should represent one of the principal objectives of every young composer. Your personal journey has been guided by interests and numerous models among which, from the outset, the very important concept of the figure has been defined as central; in 1986 an entire issue of I Quaderni della Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano, containing your essay entitled Intenzionalità.8 was dedicated to this concept In that text you spoke of figure as a “controlled accident” and of a figure “outlined with a single gesture in all its aspects”, already introducing the dimension of speed as one of the major transformational forces. M.G. Concept of speed as a hyperparameter that deforms the sound object, rendering the figure something that tends towards gesture, in other words the recognisable features of a musical figure with an extremely fast pulse lose their own single identity to give rise to a gestural movement where the directionality of the event becomes more important than the elements that make it up. 8
MARIO GARUTI, Intenzionalità, in «I Quaderni della Civica Scuola di Musica», Nr. 13, December 1986, pp. 106-109.
This means that, to all appearances, it happens that we have a dispersion of energy if, as such, we intend non-recognisability of the information tied to the figure. But in reality we obtain a new type of information that is the sum of the details, we obtain a musical gesture and therefore information that could not have been obtained maintaining the intelligibility of elements which on paper apparently constitute figures. For example, at the beginning of the piece Il Giardino delle Esperidi, fantasy for solo violin, quoted in the text, there is an extremely high pizzicato, a double jeté in a glissando and other microgestures that make our perception of what is happening in terms of figure recognition unstable, on paper one can very well find a type of detailed writing in every instant of the gesture itself (at every point of the gesture itself); it is clear that then the information regarding instability and the possible direction in which the gesture is moving constitute the element that will need to be followed, in this case the process continues with stabilisation in an area opposed to that of the opening, that’s to say, low pitch. Precisely where movement tends to be forced into a much narrower diastematic range. I.P. In works from the 90s such as Quando Diodoro declinò lo sguardo rivelando l’eccentrico oblio (1991) and Dove l’argine va in delirio (1991), you developed a new kind of relationship between static figures and moving figures, originating from an old question concerning the relationship, in music, between two ways of managing time, on the one hand measured and chronometric time and, on the other hand, the Heiderggerian interpretation of time as experienced duratons, such as kairos. M.G. Following Heidegger’s indications on the concept of time as given in his 1924 seminar,9 I thought that there might be two ways of evaluating composition as the art of knowing how to place the right duration at the right time. One entails the view of time as 9
MARTIN HEIDEGGER, The Concept of Time, translated by William McNeill, Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1992 (ed. it. ID., Il concetto di tempo, Adelphi, Milano 1998). [Ed.]
before and after, therefore as a succession of moments that determine a narrative or a process. The other is perhaps more closely tied to a view of time that is paradoxically spatial, where I can even travel back and am not necessarily tied to the idea of the irreversibility of time, and where I can then (Roland Barthes would say as in a photo) locate the punctum/kairos, or rather the most significant moment of the composition from an emotional point of view (and with this word I intend the integration of all our perceptual capacity). In Camera lucida, Barthes10 mentions the fact that it’s possible to have an image where the principal theme of the photograph may be identified as the stadium, but often this does not coincide with a detail of the photo that attracts more attention, the latter being called punctum. What I like to think is that the punctum or kairos – the most ‘beautiful’ moment – is an event that emerges naturally and is not searched for. Like, for example, composers who knowingly use the golden ratio or the Fibonacci series to write their pieces; in my opinion it is more interesting to work in accordance with one’s own disposition, and only later discover that these two natural golden rules have been utilised. For example, listening to Icône fanée (2007) – I like to think that, subjectively, the punctum might be the clarinet entry, in Cielo perso/anima tersa (Venice Biennale 2009, Arditti Quartet) it could be in bar 153 when the violins once again take up the high phrase of the theme after a long passage of suspension. Or else in Con lume arsa (1992) there is the initial impact of the rubber rod played on the low part of the piano tailpiece, like the mixed piano clusters towards the end of the piece, very dry, together with the whistle tones. For me, this distinctive opposition is a moment of kairos. It’s a puctum/kairos. The topic deserves further investigation. (Translated by Michael Elphinstone) 10
ROLAND BARTHES, Camera lucida, translated by Richard Howard, Hill and Wang, New York 1981 (ed. it. ID., La camera chiara. Nota sulla fotografia, Einaudi, Torino 1980). [Ed.]
PERSONAL NOTES ON SOME ASPECTS OF MUSICAL TRADITION Paul Moravec
Today I begin with personal observations about a composer's use of the vernacular in his music. My own work involves potentially the whole of my life experience and every kind of music I have ever loved. I suppose these ‘musics’ inform my work as much unconsciously as consciously: they are all parts of my musical being. My earliest personal vernacular influences include the songs I learned in school, the hymns I sang in church, and the many talented Pop singer-songwriters I grew up with in the '60's. Even when consciously acknowledged, such influences are often unrecognizable. Though my music doesn't sound like the Beatles, for instance, I admire the elegant clarity and directness of expression in their songs, and I do consciously try to bring such qualities to my own work. To a considerable extent, vernacular conventions comprise what there is of our musical lingua franca. To make sense to a community of listeners (which includes myself) I find it practical to use conventions, albeit in unconventional ways. I feel this need especially given the legacy of the Modernist Tower of Babel, the myriad private compositional codes signifying mostly nothing to society. Speaking of the Beatles, one could say that their enduring significance is partly summarized in the song title “Come Together” which suggests the idea of conventions. Deriving from the Latin convenire, the word convention literally suggests “coming together” (con: together + venire: come). We use conventions to help our fellow listeners come together over art-works which make audible the joy and the tragedy of our common humanity.
In my career, I have been privileged to compose certain works with a communal function. I find such experiences gratifying as, among other things, they make me feel like a useful musical citizen. One of these works is The Blizzard Voices, an oratorio commissioned by Opera Omaha and based on survivors' accounts of the Great Plains Blizzard of 1888. To help make this a communal experience, I used such vernacular conventions as chorales, children's songs and lullabies. I have sometimes used well-known vernacular elements in the service of my occasional programmatic works. For instance, my string quartet Vince and Jan: 1944, about a photograph of my future parents early in their relationship, derives from the three-note motive on the words “all day through” from the popular WWII standard, “I'll Be Seeing You.” I admire the quotation commonly attributed to Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it is good.” I find this sentiment especially pertinent to composers in this Post-Modern, polystylistic era, especially in America, with the hybrid, melting-pot nature of our culture. Perhaps the most successful hybrid American phenomenon was George Gershwin, who seems to have absorbed and combined everything from Klezmer to Jazz to Classical. (His early death, by the way, is one of the great losses to American culture.) In Porgy and Bess we hear the voice of a composer for whom highbrow and lowbrow approaches are equally valid and useful. As a boy chorister in the Anglican-Episcopal tradition, I came to think of music in spiritual terms. Indeed, I imagine a concert as a kind of secular ritual in which deep-seated archetypes are realized in perceptible form by musicians for the enrichment of the community. The understanding of vernacular conventions can be an important and powerful factor in this process. Pavia, July, 2010
COMPOSING TODAY – INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSERS OF THE 11 HIGHSCORE FESTIVAL 2010 Ingrid Pustijanac
The 2010 edition of the highSCORE Festival saw the participation of twelve composers, nine of whom were from the United States (Stephen Bachicha, Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer, Jenny Beck, Mark Andrew Buller, Mackenzie Copp, Micah Levy, Brian Mark, Jeremy Vaughan, Greg Weisbrod), two from Canada (Samuel Bayefsky and Ukraine-born Eugene Astapov), and one from Finland (René Ertomaa). Throughout the Festival (a period of almost two weeks), the participants had a chance to present their own pieces, assist in the preparation and performance of their works which were in keeping with the theme of the Festival – the guitar quintet et al – and confront each other and the various teachers, including Pultizer Prize winner Paul Moravec, the winner of the 2003 Masterprize Christopher Theofanidis, and Italian composers such as Mario Garuti, Giovanni Albini and Ugo Nastrucci. The fascination of a historic city like Pavia and the proximity of other Italian towns of artistic interest was for many an element that enriched the formative experience in the strictest sense (E. Astapov), an experience characterised by a positive interpretation and constructive awareness of the difference. Indeed, the various answers to the question “how would you describe the experience of participating at a composition masterclass in Italy?” all highlighted this element: «My experience at Pavia was entirely positive. Many of the students at the festival had different 11
The present text has been realized by taking as its starting point statements expressed by the composers when answering a series of questions, some of them addressed to everyone, others more specific and regarding the work of each single composer. More specific information on every composer and analytical details have been moreover derived from notes taken during the introductory meetings and during the analysis of the individual works that took place every morning. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the composers for having provided me with the material necessary for the realization of this collective interview.
aesthetics from me or my usual peers. This difference was vital because it made me think about music in new ways, in ways I hadn't previously. Of course, the food didn't hurt either.» (G. Weisbrod). Similarly, Jenny Beck also stated that «It was a pleasure to interact with such a thoughtful and diverse group of composers / musicians.», in tune with Micah Levy who said «the experience was fabulous. We were able to get many opinions on our music, from other students and several teachers.» Samuel Bayefsky also underlined another aspect, that of opening up to different positions and styles «The fact that you’re in a new place, among new faces is very encouraging. You’re free to be yourself in the master classes. There is no pressure from the lecturers or other students.», an element that also positively encouraged Jeremy Vaughan «It's always exciting to be around people who share a similar way of thinking and bounce around ideas and thoughts on many different subjects and facets of composition. I feel that composers often look at music a bit differently than do other musicians- so, having a chance to listen to each others music and see how other composers approach composition in their own way and work out the different problems when working is always very stimulating.» The cultural context and musical tradition within which a musician’s training takes place, no matter how remarkable the speed with which information today travels on the planetary plane, are still shown to be two strongly determining factors for the definition of an individual musical style and of a specific way of conceiving music. With varying degrees of closeness and distance during the ten days of the Festival, the difference between the two musical cultures - American and European - emerged several times. We all expected this from the outset; it was interesting to see how such measuring of one’s horizons underwent different transformations during the Festival; adjustments, second thoughts and self-examination for a better understanding of the difference, as Stephen Bachicha has stressed: «The diversity was absolutely wonderful! In my time spent both in Italy and in the US, I’ve noticed that the Italian (and general European) aesthetic for new 28
music is much different than that of the US, so it was great to hear and understand more about that difference.» The historic confrontation between composition intended as the search for something new that characterised the European Avant-garde - and that is still present in certain current output (the music of Mario Garuti is representative of this, according to G. Weisbrod «Mario was more a traditionally avant-garde–oxymoron intended– European composer than the other three. But the difference in outlook between Mario and the others was helpful because it allowed us students to contextualize our own styles.») – and more traditionally-crafted composition that seeks to agree with the public and maintain its communicative function, and which distinguishes the American tradition, are two extremes of a plurality of approaches through which today, at the beginning of the 21st century, a composer can define his own musical language. Jenny Beck in fact observes how «Diversity is always fruitful for musical thinking. We are composing in a time where anything is possible; there is no dominating style or way of thinking about music. The best thing we can do as composers and musicians is to expose ourselves to as many different perspectives as possible. It helps us to rethink our own work, which is always growing and evolving.» In the freely defining our own horizons, our knowledge of the other person can then be instrumental in the expansion of our own possibilities, as J. Vaughan observes: «The discussion on recent Italian composers was quite enlightening. It is a school of music that I'm not too familiar with, so being introduced to their music was refreshing in a way. It was new and different. It was a chance to see a new aesthetic and listen to new ways of approaching composition- like adding new tools to my compositional tool box. Obviously one of the most important things that a composer should do is listen, listen, listen, and then listen some more.» In this sense, even the differences can be reduced to questions of compositional technique, while on a poetic level and above all as regards the resulting sound, the works of different composers appear similar: «I was surprised to find not as much difference as I would have expected between Giovanni and American guest composers;
Giovanni, Paul, and Christopher share many ideas about the relationship of New Music to its audience.» (G. Weisbrod). Certain experiences may be deliberately geared towards a kind of synthesis of the elements belonging to different cultures; this is the case of the young Canadian composer E. Astapov: «The approach to composing in the United States and in Europe is indeed very different. In the US it is more traditionalistic, meaning that music is based more on harmony and rhythm, whereas in Europe music is more counterpoint-based. It is very interesting for me to learn about two of these different approaches. As a composer of European decent, I try to incorporate both of the teachings.» One of the central aspects of the masterclass was the time set aside for the presentation of each composer’s activity and works, and of questions deemed central to their poetics. In fact, every morning two participants had time at their disposal to introduce their own music to a small audience made up of other participants and the composition teachers. The variety of this audience (different experience, age, musical culture) on occasion stimulated interesting discussion. Even if most of the participating composers stated that they did not like to talk about their own music, and even less about their compositional technique, this moment of comparison was rated as stimulating from many points of view. Particularly interesting was presence of young interlocutors, and not just the teaching staff - unlike regular composition courses whose opinions and observations brought the work that was presented and the relative questions into focus in a different way (see Sam Bayefsky: «It is very stimulating. It challenges you to know your music inside and out (even if you wrote it a while back). Also, it is not often that peers critique your work. Normally a much older person, or teacher is the one who comments but having younger and more intuitive feedback is refreshing.») One aspect, however, emerged more strongly than the others, and concerns the elements of his own activity that a composer who is receiving training chooses to present. Many participants chose to ignore technical details and formal aspects to focus more on the stimuli 30
from which the idea of the piece was derived and, above all, to put themselves in the position of the listener, imagining what the piece communicated or how it was perceived. The discussion therefore moved almost entirely to the level of meaning, and to the emotional content of which the work is a manifestation. The following statements better clarify the views that emerged: «I find that talking about my own music makes me quite nervous. It's difficult to explain every single measure and discuss every single decision that was made while writing the piece. When talking about your own music you know the piece inside and out, so there is a lot that could be said. Obviously it is impractical to go into such detail, so it really makes you think about what the larger (and easy to explain) picture is of your piece. It's also interesting to get other people's perspective on your piece […]. They often see things that you might not since you approach the piece with so much understanding of it – the composer knows what's going to happen, so there is no surprise; the composer also lives in that sound world since it is his own. This answer kind of got off track, but I would have to say that even though I find it nerve-wracking to have to talk about my own music, it can be stimulating in that it makes you think of the piece as if you were the listener; it is also stimulating to see what other people's reaction to the piece are.» (J. A. Vaughan) «I don’t like speaking about my music in general. It’s too difficult to articulate in words how I really feel about my music or about the compositional process. I always end up feeling that I say the wrong thing, that is, I say something that does not accurately reflect how I feel or think, or that leaves out something important, or is too specific. But I never really know what the right thing is. On the other hand, I do like sharing my music with people, because it is very rewarding when people connect with my music in some way.» (J. Beck) «It is difficult to speak–or write–about music. What makes music so captivating is its inherent abstraction, the very fact that it is hard to speak about. However, I really enjoy talking about music
because it forces me to verbalize how I feel as a listener or a composer.» (G. Weisbrod) «Speaking about music is not stimulating for me. I know that speaking about music is a skill, a habit that a composer must acquire to be taken seriously, but I don’t enjoy it any way. Music is a very personal matter for me. In notes, I talk about things I would not want people to know, so every time when I talk about it, I have to come up with a different story. Especially annoying is talking about the technical details of my music. The composition process is something that I don’t like to share, because very often it may not make sense what I say, but it makes perfect sense to me and makes perfect sense to the listener. So, I only talk about my music out of necessity.» (E. Astapov) «This is a bit tricky question. I'm not very keen on the idea of putting music in ‘X-ray’ but I understand the importance of such approach in this kind of situation. The most fascinating thing was to discuss about the emotional experience the others had received when listening to my music. In general I'm not very interested in scientific approach to music.» (R. Ertomaa) «It is a very scary situation to speak about your own music because you are being judged. You are being judged on your music, the way you write, how clear your score is, the performance, the recording, all as well as how you talk. Along with this, you are trying not to feel over ‘cocky’ about your work while trying to remain humble as an artist. All that being said, it is completely necessary to be able to talk about your own music in this kind of situation because it will prepare you for the future, when one will inevitably have to do this more often.» (S. Bachicha) When addressing the musical discourse in terms of meaning, the need to resort to extra-musical references comes up in many replies. Almost without exception, this aspect dominated the way in which the composers actually presented their music to the small group of ‘expert’ listeners. The presence of extra-musical elements, poetic texts, images, emotions, stories and tales, find a natural 32
collocation in the works of these composers inasmuch as the ideas for their compositions arise from these various elements. Their form is in some way defined by the story that is being told, however concrete or abstract it may be. For some, like Stephen Bachicha, this is a sign of a change in the aesthetic orientation of today’s music: «Music in our day seems as though it automatically has become programmatic, and if not that, conjures the idea of a program or extra-musical ideas. Absolute music ideas and idioms have fallen out of fashion; the idea of calling a piece, sonata, or trio, or divertimento has been replaced by what pieces were inspired by or what emotional or extra context we want evoked. Often, we find that having a descriptive title or an evoking title will help connect the audience to the piece, and will help bridge the gap between audience and ‘new’ music.» And yet for others, all this is far from that aesthetic of ‘programme music’. It is rather a continuous mirroring of various experiential aspects of art and life: «I think music is a wonderful way to communicate emotion, mood, etc. I think it communicates in a way similar to how fire communicates warmth. Music can also help to communicate extramusical ideas, but not very exactly. That’s why we need a program – hence the term program music. Without a program to guide our interpretation of what we hear we could have a multitude of interpretations of a programmatic piece. This is Liszt’s notion and I concur with it.» (M Levy). But a variety of interpretations can also be an added value for the reception of a work, according to J. Beck: «Music and life/art complement each other in ways that are very specific to me, but listeners should be free to relate to music in their own way and not rely on what the composer had in mind.»; and this is an important aspect that involves the rapport between the composer and his audience: «This is something I’m still trying to figure out. I am certain, however, that I want to write music that means something. It is not enough for me to explore musical concepts and create interesting sounds. I want to enrich people’s lives with ideas that extend beyond sound. I have not yet figured out how to do this.» (M.Copp)
This edition of the highSCORE Festival was dedicated to the ‘genre’ of the guitar quintet (string quartet plus guitar). Most of the participating composers had already written works for string quartet or guitar quintet, casting back to different models taken from the rich tradition that this musical genre inherits from the past. Eight compositions featuring the string quartet and written by the participating composers were performed. Of these, three were for string quartet (Jenny Beck, To Keep It, Mark Andrei Buller, Aria from the Second Quartet, Samuel Bayefsky, Samsa), two for guitar quintet (Mackenzie Copp, The Retaliation of the Defenestrated, Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer, Saint Quarrelsome per electric guitar and string quartet), two for flute quintet (Micah Levy, Twelve meets three, Jeremy Vaughan, Theme, Variations, and Chorale) and a work for countertenor and guitar quintet (René Ertomaa, Haiku 1: Tippuu painava). Comparison with the traditional genre was seen as a strong stimulus when searching for personal solutions to this instrumental ensemble, which continues to represent an almost inexhaustible field of possible sounds and expressions: «Only a handful of times have I written instrumental music for a ‘traditional’ group. When I wrote my String Quartet several years ago, I was completely overwhelmed by it. It was scary for me since there has been so much great literature written for the String Quartet already (Haydn, Beethoven, Bartók, Shostakovich). I really wondered what I could say that would be as great as what they had already done with the genre. After worrying like that for a little while, I eventually realized that instead of being belittled by their great work, I would use them to learn how to write most effectively for the ensemble (for example, how they dealt with voicing, techniques, etc).» (J. Vaughan) «This was very difficult for me for many years because I felt like it was difficult to avoid sounding like other composers who wrote a lot for string quartet. But string instruments are very versatile, and when I really thought about the range of expression and sound that they are capable of, musical ideas for string quartet followed.» (J. Beck)
«Writing for string quartet is tricky because of the depth and quality of the existing literature. No matter what sort of piece a composer is writing, it is important to reference the clichés of the genre, to write a piece that can be a part of the tradition at same time that it defies the tradition.» (G. Weisbrod) The presence of a ‘guest’ (as Matteo Giuggioli has defined the guitar in the second part of this volume) meant, for several composers, a further expansion of the timbric possibilities of the ensemble via the use of an electric instrument. This combination of acoustic instruments (string quartet) and an electric instrument raises the issue of new timbric, dynamic and perhaps even spatial balances (spatial in the sense that source from which the sound of the guitar reaches the audience is deployed against that of the quartet if the latter is not amplified. Interesting reports regarding the presence of the sound in the venue are therefore created). This cohabitation between an acoustic and an electric plane is a stimulus for many composers. Elizabeth K. Bayer, for example, in her Saint Quarrelsome for electric guitar and string quartet, explores quartertone writing in a texture that is dominated by repetition and continuity, not least by the sustained sound of the electric guitar. If her interest is focused mostly on the sonorities and fusion offered by this specific instrumental combination that easily permits microtonal writing, or if more complex dimensions of form and balance between the entirety of elements was her principal concern during the composition of this work was one of the questions that Bayer answered: «I do admit that it is easier to imagine and implement quartertones when they are idiomatic to an ensemble. I was listening to a lot of Ligeti at the time, especially his 2nd string quartet, the 3rd section, come un meccanismo di precisione. Everything is so delicate and beautiful yet a little unsettling – all at the same time. I just couldn't believe the sounds that he created – and that he dared write something so complex so very quiet! The repetition in this work came directly from the Ligeti. I had to explore this on my own. The electric guitar came later. The piece had been missing something, and the guitar completed the 35
ensemble. The string quartet already sounded so electric – I thought the juxtaposition of acoustic vs. electric would be fun. So no, originally there were not very many complex dimensions between the two. I first wrote for string quartet, and then I wrote for the quintet. That is when the piece really came to life.» Each of the works performed during the Festival can be collocated in its composer’s output in a different way. For Samuel Bayefsky, for example, writing for a traditional genre is a familiar act. «‘Traditional’ is in no way inhibiting. It is nice to write for such an ensemble precisely because it is ‘traditional’. For this reason, it is familiar to us. Writing for a new ensemble requires the formation of a new sound and to make it work for the performers and the audience is difficult. For me personally, when working with the ‘traditional’ instrumentation of the string quartet, I looked upon examples of Beethoven and Bartók to see how the instruments could relate to each other in different ways but what I ended up with was nothing of the sort. The work is ‘traditional’ only in the sense of the ensemble but the possibilities of new sounds are endless – as demonstrated by the array of different styles presented at the festival.» Samsa is the name of Bayefsky’s string quartet that is dedicated to Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis. I asked the composer if he wrote this ‘work of art’ as a tribute to Kafka (and in turn to Gregor), or as an “honest depiction of his insides”. The composer has written in his presentation that «the ugliness and unnatural sound of the whole tone scale exemplifies the ugliness of the inner artist as Gregor so unknowingly expresses». Bayefsky gives many extra-musical reasons for specific musical choices involving intervals, harmony, agogics and so on. In his work for solo flute, Phthisis (of the lungs), which was also performed during the Festival, there is the coexistence of musical ideas with external elements that determine its formal structure. In explaining the importance of extra-musical elements in the conception of his music, Bayefsky says: «It is never essential to have external elements that affect the way a 36
piece is to be written. However, it is nice to have inspiration. There are plenty of ways to be inspired without resorting to external elements, but having one directly influence the music makes the composition process simple. It speeds thing up by giving the music direction, style, and purpose. Although one might argue that the presence of the external element (in my case Gregor Samsa) limits the freedom of the piece, Samsa would not be half the piece it is now without the inspiration of an external source.» Bayefsky’s music is characterized by the great energy that his works emanate, and even if the listener is not aware of the original idea, he can appreciate dimensions like contrasts, velocity, dissonance, repetition – some of elements that are present in his music. This is how the composer explains the presence of these elements in his music: «Contrast, velocity, dissonance, and repetition are elements that can arguably be found in all music. I use these of course for the same reason everybody else does: repetition allows the listener to remember the music and it provides continuity; contrast is a simple way of grabbing the listener’s attention; velocity is not so much essential as is the change of velocity (which has the same effect as contrast); and dissonance, lastly, is something I like to use not so much in the way of Charles Ives, where it floats about freely, but more in the percussive sense to suggest that it is the rhythm and not the melody that is important.» In terms of compositional technique, Greg Weisbrod also reveals a style that is already well defined. The works he introduced during the composition colloquiums are Duality for cello, and Granulations for orchestra. The first piece explores the possibilities of polyphony and dialog by employing different elements of a solo instrument, therefore the main characteristics are necessarily discontinuity and a two-level musical structure. On the other hand, the work for orchestra is a piece based on continuity in different forms – harmonic, timbric, rhythmic, etc. The structure of the different layers – (harmonic pedal – rhythmic structure – melodic motifs) evolves gradually within the different relationships of all 37
the elements. Does his language develop from abstract musical elements, without external influences? When asked what his models are and how he plans his music, Weisbrod answers: «It's true; I do tend to plan my music in fairly abstract terms. I think this is a product of my deep interest in harmony and my belief that music can, and sometimes ought, to exist without melody. But the truth is that we experience music in equally abstract terms; no one can pinpoint, using words alone, the exact emotion he feels when he listens to a great piece of instrumental music. In fact, to so describe music is often simplistic. Imagine trying to explain in great detail the way Beethoven's 7th Symphony affects you; any such explanation would be inadequate. My music is not an intellectual sleight-of-hand, but I do often write music with a specific technical idea in mind, as well as more poetic ideas.» For Eugene Astapov, the search for expression and for an individual language is carried out on a completely different level. In his music, one of the fundamental aspects is the idea of religiosity and earnestness transformed through compositional technique into musical discourse. We asked him the following questions: what musical elements are central for building this kind of musical experience for you as composer and, by contrast, in what way do you think listeners perceive it? Can the atmosphere of severity in some way be translated into a static harmonic and timbric language similar to that of some French spectralist composers or, closer to you, maybe, the Canadian composer Claude Vivier? Have you got a specific ‘system’ concerning the harmonic dimension that supports the expressive melodic dimension and specific time-structures that are present in your works? «In my music, there are so many different elements that are combined to contribute to the transformation of ideas into musical discourse. First element that comes to mind is instrumentation. All instruments of the orchestra have such distinctive sounds and I tend to associate these sounds with certain symbols or ideas. My sound world tends to be expressed mostly in the instruments of lower or darker registers. Also I find combinations of instruments 38
that tend to give such quality to sound, a mysterious quality. For example, in Afterdream Ruins, a piece of highly religious content the first melody is given to the low register of the oboe, which to me translates as a depiction of dark powers. Also, an important element in my music is numerology and symbolism. For symbolism, I find different relationships of harmony, rhythm, combination of instruments, or all things put together to represent one thing, that keeps coming up. For example, in my most recent piece, Confessio, for two violoncelli one of such symbols is ricochet in one cello double in unison with the second open and closed string of the second cello. This symbol reappears many times throughout the piece as a representation of maybe a wound or pain. Another example in the same piece is a chord, just a simple chord built of 2 minor seconds separated by a fourth, but it means a lot in the music and every time it comes back it brings a feeling of uncertainty or uneasiness. Speaking of influences, I don’t think that the French spectralist composers or even Claude Vivier have produced a lot of impact on my sound world. The music that I find interest in and music that plays inside me is perhaps the music that comes from the late Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli is always on my table if I need some musical stimulation. As for ‘system’, it is a very complicated matter. Every new piece calls for a different ‘system’. I believe that there is no unified system I can use to create every single piece of music. Of course there are some universal ideas, and one of them I mentioned before, is numerology. This is not to say that I use a certain system of numbers like Gubaidulina uses Fibonacci series. I use my own series, numbers that I believe have certain power or connection with external matters such as religion in particular. Thus such numbers as 3, 6, 7 or 12 become important in the composition process. In Afterdream Ruins the choice of 12 players is not random. Numbers can also be implemented in rhythm or the number of repetitions of the aforementioned symbols. There are 6
bass drum strokes at the end of Afterdream Ruins for example, there are also 3 formal sections, etc.» (E. Astapov) In the heterogeneous review of compositional styles and languages, two composers presented pieces dedicated to the voice, Elizabeth K. Bayer e René Ertomaa. In Songs from the Suburbs, work for voice, violin and piano, Bayer has unified different musical and cultural dimensions such as the European song tradition (Kurt Weil for example), the African song tradition (she has spoken about a singer from Kenya), and the American tradition of songs from the suburbs, which is present in the literary text. When asked if the coexistence of different elements is one of her main interests in writing music, Bayer answered: «I would say it absolutely is. I am not comfortable bringing only one element or point of influence to my music. One of the ways I like to challenge myself is by finding ways that so many different elements can join together and create this homogeneous thing. My musical diet is constantly changing and so is my visual diet (I really like pop art) and I like finding connections between them. For example, in one piece, I used an ensemble and musical form similar to Berio's in his Points on a Curve... and used that to expand on Reich-like minimalist ideas along with the thick, juicy chords of Thelonius Monk. I planned everything out very carefully and it worked.» René Ertomaa’s position towards vocal music is mediated by his experience as a countertenor. He has already composed several works for voice and instruments, and is now composing an opera. In Haiku 1: Tippuu painava for countertenor voice, guitar and string quartet, the unusual setting is completely dominated by the melodic material of the voice part, which evolves through a dramaturgical structure by means of frequent unison passages; the voice also employs some vocal techniques reminiscent of those used in early music. Ertomaa states that «Of course as a singer it's natural for me to write for voice but I guess it's also because I just lack the certain kind of humanity which is to be found only in a human voice. This can also be and perhaps it is more an abstract 40
thing not just "somebody singing nicely." Perhaps the human voice is able to express something which is difficult to explain/express in any other way and it touches the deepest side in us. At least so far I haven't had any precise ideas only for sonorities. I think they are part of the bigger picture. […] Tippuu painava is a part of a larger Haiku series which I hope I'll continue some day…» For some composers, traditional forms and traditional compositional techniques represent ways of expressing their musical ideas. So, for example, both of the pieces that Jeremy Vaughan presented during the Festival, Caricatures: Variations on an original theme for Wind Quintet and Piano and the Theme, Variations, and Chorale for flute and string quartet (which was performed) explore the same formal principle, that of variations. Vaughan explains how this form offers the possibility of developing musical ideas that are based on traditional elements like recognizable melody and rhythmic structure: «These two pieces were the first two (and so far the only two) that I have used the Theme and Variation structure for. Prior to writing these two pieces, I was writing in a more minimalistic way (and I think that influence can still be heard in these two pieces), so writing variations prompted me to think of how to develop material (primarily melodic material). In these pieces I don’t keep the theme proper in each of the variations (as in, say Copland’s Appalachian Spring where the theme is always easily heard), but instead it’s a kind of developmental or metamorphic set of variations. The structure of the theme is not retained from variation to variation, but rather the piece explores characteristic features of the thematic material (even down to material as simple as a single interval – in Caricatures, the interval of a 9th plays a big part). Each of the variations has its own distinct character and style (the title of the piece, Caricatures, is intended to represent this idea of various characters). To give the variations a sense of flow and unity, each variation takes a element of the previous variation and develops it in its own way; this is usually rhythmic or stylistic since both the thematic material and harmonies are predetermined. Both pieces 41
do rely on Neo-Riemannian theory to hold the piece together, though I don't think the listener will hear that construction. One would have to look at the score to get that (and even still it would be difficult to see, I think).» Even for Brian Mark a traditional structure such as that of ternary form (ABA for instance) is still a valid model. The Persistence of Time for symphony orchestra, Sirens for string trio and the Second String Quartet are some of Mark’s recent works, in which he has explored different harmonic and rhythmic universes expressed in a traditional form (simple ternary, or rondo, or multi-movement). According to his program notes, there is often a specific extramusical starting point, for instance Salvador Dali for the first mentioned work, Paris and San Francisco acoustic environments (soundscapes) for the other two pieces. Mark explains how his ideas are transformed in music, and how a generic formal structure as ABA expresses the musical contents: «Often I mostly find my works in ABA form from a broad sense. I like the notion of an arch form, somewhat of a trilogy concept, where the music begins on a journey (exposition), explores its dangers, secrets, and opportunities (developmental section), and returns to its origins (recapitulation). Not all of my works are strictly ABA, but I often try to have a few ideas prominent throughout the piece in order to keep the body of work focused and linked. With respects to outside influences and sources, the sonata-allegro concept is stronger in this case since a literary or poetic idea works best with this form, due to the fact that stories and tales as a whole always returns back to its beginning starting point.» Mackenzie Copp seems to deal with music with a approach that is completely different. She is not only a young composer, but also a percussionist, and this is reflected in her works. Some of them are for very specific instrumental settings, such A Measured Grief for tuba and gongs, Mallet trio for xylophone, vibraphone and marimba, and The Road that has no End for baritone voice, horn and piano. When asked why she experimented with such ‘unusual’ scorings, Copp answered: «I wrote A Measured Grief for a 42
program that we have at UMKC called Co(mp)llaborations. I was paired with a tuba player and was supposed to write music that would be performed in a small art gallery. We were allowed to add any instruments that we could fit in the space and provide performers for. My professor at the time, Zhou Long, suggested gongs since I could play them. I liked the colour combination a lot.» Equally unusual is the musical universe of Stephen Bachicha, whose piece for solo flute with the rather engaging title of Red Stilettos was performed during the Festival. There is a strong theatrical energy in Red Stilettos, and it seems that the fusion between music and non-musical means of expression is what Bachicha is interested in. He explains how these elements develop together to a coherent musical form: «I am most interested in making any piece I write, fun. When I say fun, I am referring to the enjoyment a performer has playing the piece, as well as putting the time in to practice and of course for the audience members having to listen to my piece. Humans and music have had the relationship together that began with fun, passing the time, passing information to one another in an enjoyable way. I constantly strive to keep this tradition alive in my music. If I feel that the people playing my music and people hearing it will not have an enjoyable time, then I’ve done an injustice to my performers, and myself. With that being said, I also strive for my music to ‘carry weight’. That means, that it is not a fluffy pop song that can be background music for someone to hear in their car and forget about as soon as they leave the car. Everything is crafted to be a legitimate piece of art music, but with a genuine sense of humor involved at almost every level along the way.» Mark Buller presented two works for string instruments at the Festival, Canticle for solo violoncello, and String Quartet No.2. But his output also includes many pieces for wind instruments, and especially vocal and choral music. We asked Buller how his approach changes according to the different settings he chooses? Does he prefer stringed instruments or choral settings to create the 43
sonorities or formal structures that he is interested in? «It’s very important for composers to write for a variety of instrumental and vocal forces, especially early in their careers. It’s amazing to hear the differences in one’s own works; for instance, practical constraints of each combination disallow certain liberties. My works for solo instruments (Trope for solo flute, the double bass sonata) are much thornier and perhaps less accessible than the works written for choir or voice. I’ve been commissioned by a number of musicians, each at a different skill level, so these constraints have been integral in my growth as a composer. I enjoy writing for all sorts of instruments and ensembles, but my two favourites are the string quartet and choir. I’ve sung in a number of excellent choirs, so perhaps this has influenced that predilection; there’s nothing quite like the blend of sonorities, even dissonant ones! My first string quartet is titled Intersect and is in three movements. It’s the only work I’ve written to utilize graphic notation, albeit in a non-traditional way; it blends traditional notation as well. The instruments’ lines curve around the page and intersect with each other. The string quartet I presented at the festival is my second. I'm fairly conservative in my approach to writing for string quartet; the warm timbres disallow, I feel, thornier sonorities. I try to create a warm sound by the interplay of sounds, much like many of the Spectralist composers.» During the presentation of his Monster for two pianos, composer and conductor Micah Levy spoke about fragments that he collected over the years that finally found their place in this work. He wrote: «The Monster represents my style, such as it is, as much as anything else I've written. It is a programmatic composition. The subject of the piece is a loose representation of "Frankenstein".» But in spite of a plurality of musical motifs, the form of the piece is mostly continuous and the transformations occur gradually. Perhaps we could speak of process as being one of the main compositional techniques in Levy’s music, but it seems that there are more important aspects for controlling form, like that of collage: 44
«Process is an abstraction – a word that covers everything that we do. There are many processes, so I can’t say that it is a compositional technique. What kind of process? However, […] the transformations occur gradually. That was, of course, intentional.» Finally we have Jenny Beck, composer from New Brunswick, winner of the 2010 highSCORE Festival with her Piece for String Quartet. In the program notes for Piece for String Quartet, a kind of companion piece to her string quartet To Keep It, Beck points out how the description of the female figure in “Good Country Folk,” a short story by Flannery O’Connor, enraptured her and in some way inspired the writing of a second piece for string quartet. What was the process that led from poetic suggestions such as blindness, nirvana, and separation from the world to music and to specific compositional choices regarding form, agogics and harmonic material? Beck answers: «I think what I really wanted to get across in these pieces is a sort of intensity that this character evokes for me. Musical elements such as driving, stumbling rhythms, dissonance, and the abrupt ending were ways for me to build up a kind of fierce energy.» Several of Beck’s works are based on or inspired by a literary source (like the recent The Suffering of Medea), frequently of classical Italian origin, as Dante’s Divine Commedy or Infinito by Giacomo Leopardi, respectively used in Pentimento (2007) for bass-baritone voice and double bass, and in Dall’infinito (2007) for cello, piano and alto voice. We wondered if there might be some specific reason for this: «When I'm not writing music, I like to read. It is relaxing, yet requires thought and stirs my creativity. When some element of literature – a character, a scene, a description, anything – captures my interest, it can stick in my head. Then as I'm composing, I realize that because I'm thinking about what I've read, the music is connected to it somehow. Basing music on literature is really just the result of a natural associative process, not something I do intentionally.» In Beck’s Piece for unaccompanied cello, also performed during the Festival, the structure grows from the opposition between the repetitive and energetic introduction and the successive melodic, 45
reflective ‘lento’ section. The perception of time and form are dominated by this contrast, and by the emptiness of the pauses that separate musical gestures until the moment where differences become unity. These characteristics are some of those that pervade the music of Jenny Beck, and she explains them as follows: «I always try to build the form of the piece from the material itself. I don't think of the two sections as being different materials; rather, the slow section just gives glimpses of the material – like looking at a distant landscape through fog. The repetitive material is like being up close to the landscape in the day and being overwhelmed by its immensity. The two are really unified all along.» (Translated by Michael Elphinstone)
THE GUITAR QUINTET ET AL
A DISCREET GUEST, THE GUITAR QUINTET FROM BOCCHERINI TO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Matteo Giuggioli
It is sufficient to scroll through the list of titles of any reasonably detailed catalogue of ensemble music featuring the guitar to appreciate the paucity of quintets for guitar and strings up until the middle of the 20th century.12 Ideally, one might think that the affirmations that took place contemporaneously in the first part of the nineteenth century, of the string quartet as the favourite and most blazoned ensemble in the sphere of chamber music and of the guitar as a solo instrument, led to a profitable and repeated union, at least in that limited time-frame. Instead, even though the most substantial nucleus of guitar quintets appears between the end of the eighteenth century and the first decades of the following century, on the whole the genre has received scant attention. In the productive panorama of chamber music between 1800 and 1900, which frames a historic moment of extraordinary growth for instrumental music when chamber music, as well as consolidating itself as a form of entertainment, finally began to increase its own value on an aesthetic plane, the quintet for guitar and strings essentially shares the position of other types of quintet, even though it was less employed than most of the others. If the quartet can be seen as the representation of a conversation in music, with the quintet we find ourselves before an expanded conversation, open to a ‘guest’ who might be from time to time another stringed instrument, more often a second viola, less frequently a second violoncello or a double-bass, or otherwise an 12
I will limit myself to pointing out the best-known Italian contributions: MARIO DELL'ARA, La chitarra antica, classica e romantica (Manuale di storia della chitarra, volume I), Bèrben, Ancona 1988; ANGELO GILARDINO, La chitarra moderna e contemporanea (Manuale di storia della chitarra, volume II), Bèrben, Ancona 1988; GIUSEPPE RADOLE, Liuto, chitarra e viuhela. Storia e letteratura, nuova edizione a cura 1 di Franco Pavan e Stefano Russomanno, Suvini-Zerboni, Milano 1997 (1979 ).
instrument belonging to a different class, ranging from the pianoforte, to the flute, to the clarinet, to the oboe, to the French horn, until we arrive at the guitar. Compared to genres like the quartet, the string trio or the piano trio, which have become stable market channels and therefore privileged sources of dialogue between composers and a continually growing public of music lovers, the guitar quintet, like other types of quintet, maintains a bond of necessity, demanding an occasion that encourages its composition. For the guitar quintet, the bond is perhaps more tenacious than that of many of the analogous genres, some of which (for example the piano quintet, or string quintet with two violas), at least in the period of their greatest affirmation, and at times within the limits of certain geographical areas, managed to break it and become viable commercial genres. Right up until the end of the nineteenth century, the guitar quintet did not have this fortune, not even in its most flourishing period, at the beginning of the century. In order for a guitar quintet to be conceived, it is necessary to have a guitarist who sparks off the creative process, be it an amateur musician who commissions the piece so as to be able to perform with a string quartet at his own musical events, or be it a composerperformer or a renowned virtuoso (the two categories may overlap) who wants to perform the work in public. The system of commissioning was always in vogue, even in the second half of the twentieth century. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, a commission could launch and stimulate the propagation of the piece on the market, in the event that it was published. The nature of the market was to become systematic in the course of the twentieth century, when the guitar spread widely both in performance and in the imagination of Western classical music. The most important experiments in the history of the guitar quintet over the period of time I have considered in my outline, which extends from the end of the eighteenth century to the midtwentieth century, are four in number: the Quintets G 445-451 and G 453 by Luigi Boccherini, the Quintet in C major by Gaetano Donizetti, the Quintet Op. 65 by Mauro Giuliani, and the Quintet 50
Op. 143 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. These are works which, to all effects, are part of the current guitar repertory, with the exception of the Donizetti quintet, which was most probably written by the composer during the years he spent in Naples and has only recently come back into circulation.13 Why, one might immediately ask, is there such a limited number of compositions? It is not difficult to understand that the choices of composers were influenced by the intrinsic quality of the guitar, above all its sonority, as peculiar on a dynamic level as on a timbric one. A second, rapid glance at the catalogue of ensemble music featuring the guitar confirms the impression that this aspect has been determinant in the fundamentals of composition. As early as the opening decades of the nineteenth century, the first period in which chamber music with guitar began to flourish, the addition of the instrument to the string quartet appears to have been a minority choice in a number of extremely heterogeneous solutions with regard to instrumental combinations. If the delicate sound of the guitar leads more towards smaller ensembles, favouring the duo (above all in combination with the flute, the violin, or a second guitar), and the trio (with flute and violin or with violin and viola), the specificity of timbre also supports the addition of the guitar to groups, even large ones, with multicoloured sounds. The first tendency is reflected, for example, not only by the enormous quantity of compositions with two or three instrumental parts, but also by compositions in four parts such as the guitar quartets of Niccolò Paganini in which a lighter variant of the five-part ensemble, with a single violin, is preferred; the second trend, on the other hand, is well-represented by works such as the famous Sextet 13
See GAETANO DONIZETTI, Quintet in C major, for guitar, two violins, viola and violoncello, revision and fingering for guitar by Raffaele Carpino, Armelin, Padua 2007. Considering the size of my essay, which is intended to give a quick glimpse and not a detailed historiographical and analytical account of the guitar quintet, I merely mention Donizetti’s work without subjecting it to close examination. This piece needs to be subjected to a thorough philological inquiry as well as a more precise contextualization within the framework of the composer’s activity. The illustrious name of Donizetti makes one hesitate before approaching the piece without having first subjected it to a scrupulous study, the scope of which would go beyond the limits of the present text.
Op. 9 by Filippo Gragnani, for two guitars, violin, violoncello, flute and clarinet. Even though it is limited to a handful of works, the history of the guitar quintet up to 1950 nevertheless presents noteworthy features of interest, not only musical but also historiographical: every composition hearkens back to a different moment in both the history of the guitar and the less fickle history of the string quartet, offering an important testimony, in the gaps of musical life that open up behind the stages of its development and dissemination, to the relationship that in three different historical periods existed between composer, performer, publisher and audience, the principal social actors in the modern world of music. The first manifestation of the genre, the guitar quintets by Boccherini represent a cornerstone of the chamber repertory for the guitar. They were composed by the musician from Lucca in the closing years of the eighteenth century on commission from the Marquis of Benavent, a highly regarded amateur guitarist. Current knowledge about this group of Boccherini compositions, which are nowadays particularly popular in both the concert hall and the recording studio, has been disturbed by two questions. The first, definitively resolved in a recent study,14 regards the identity of the purchaser of the quintets. For a long time the Marquis of Benavent was confused with the Count-Duke of Benavente. The mix-up between these titles of nobility was facilitated by the greater fame of the latter, due to Maria Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel, the Countess-Duchess of Benavente, wife of the Duke of Osuna, who was a very influential character in the cultural landscape of Madrid in the second half of the eighteenth century and also Boccherini’s patroness for a short period of time. Reconstruction of the less flashy albeit more adventurous biographical profile of the Marquis of Benavent has proved useful in enriching our understanding of a key moment in the history of the guitar in Spain 14
JOSEP MARIA MANGADO ARTIGAS, Il marchese di Benavent (1768-1849): Ricerca biografica sul chitarrista che commissionò a Luigi Boccherini i Quintetti con chitarra, Part One «Il Fronimo», XXX/118, April 2002, pp. 13-20; Part Two «Il Fronimo», XXX/119, pp. 34-46.
when the conditions for the definitive European affirmation of the instrument, which was to take place shortly afterwards, first emerged.15 The Marquis, who grew up in Barcelona, was part of a large group of aristocrat guitarists then present in the Catalan capital. He moved to Madrid in 1795 and married two years later, thereafter maintaining a high standard of living. Amongst his other privileges, he treated himself to the commissioning of guitar quintets from the well-known Boccherini, to enrich the musical soirees that took place at his palace. His lavish life and his political stance alongside the French would ultimately cost him dearly; he quickly fell into poverty and after the reign of Joseph I was forced into exile in France. Poor and abandoned by relatives, he died at the age of 81 in Bordeaux, where he had been making a living for the last 35 years of his life by teaching the guitar. The commissioning of the quintets was honoured by Boccherini by 1799. This is indirectly confirmed by the correspondence between the composer and his main publisher at the time, Ignaz Pleyel. The individuation of the exact number of guitar quintets composed by Boccherini is the second major problem associated with the collection. Also in this case a recent study has contributed towards clarifying, but not offering a definitive solution to the question.16 By means of numerous documented references, the most plausible hypothesis is that the group comprises ten compositions. Six of these (G 445 - 450) are to be found in the manuscript currently housed at the Library of Congress in Washington. The manuscript is the work of the French guitarist and composer François de Fossa, who prepared it in 1811 when he was an official in the Napoleonic army; it is faithful to the copy that another soldier, Jean-Antoine Philippe Charmont, had drawn up directly from the papers of the Marquis of Benavent. The de Fossa manuscript subsequently made its way into the enormous collection 15
In this regard, see JAVIER SUÁREZ-PAJARES, The Rise of The Modern Guitar in Spain, in Music in Spain during the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Malcolm Boyd and Juan José Carreras, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1998, pp. 222-240. MANTANYA OPHEE, Boccherini's Guitar Quintets: New Evidence, Editions Orphéé, Boston 1981. See also MARCO MANGANI, Luigi Boccherini, L'Epos, Palermo 2005, pp. 163-167.
of Boccherini’s music put together by Louis Picquot, the composer’s first biographer. Another two works (G 451 and 453), together with a slightly divergent version of the Washington manuscript (guitar part only) of the Fandango quintet (G 448) have come down to us through the edition issued by German publisher Heinrich Albert in the 1920s. The manuscripts on which these editions are based also came from Picquot’s collection, and they followed, in terms of their drafting, a path that is probably analogous to that of the Washington manuscript. The study also shows that La Ritirata di Madrid, placed by Albert at the end of Quintet G 453, is a self-contained composition (the ninth of the total computation), and excludes the possibility that Boccherini transcribed all of his piano quintets, a total of twelve works included in Opp. 56 and 57, for guitar quintet. In the catalogue of the composer’s works, the convergence of the two genres is limited to the three quintets present both in the Washington manuscript and in Op. 57, to quintets Op. 56 nos. 1 and 3 that correspond to quintets G 451 and 453, and to Op. 56 n.2; while the guitar version (the tenth composition) of this work has not come down to us, its existence is mentioned in the correspondence between de Fossa and Picquot. Without questioning the validity of the study that has allowed us to accrue these acquisitions, it is better to consider the last point with considerable caution given the authority of the sources, amongst them one of the composer’s own letters, that seem to lend credence to the hypothesis of a transcription of the complete piano quintets. No less interesting than the historical and philological vicissitudes of the collection are the stylistic aspects that distinguish it. Faced with the difficult task of inventing an effective way of having the guitar play with the string quartet, Boccherini, the expert composer of chamber music, was not deterred; on the contrary, he devised something completely new so as to balance the instrumental ensemble without unconditionally relying on tested solutions like concertante writing, and without looking for effect at all costs by emphasizing the folkloristic idiomaticity of the guitar. Boccherini does not denounce these elements, but rather merges 54
them, using them in places in a musical discourse where the iridescent evolution of the resonating texture is dominant. The guitar is not ‘added’ to the strings or confined to dialecticallycharacterised solo episodes as distinct from the ’tutti’ of the quartet. It welds with the other instrumental parts in an entirety capable of giving rise to a continuously changing flow on a textural and timbric level. Moreover, the elements of folklore, as always in the music of Boccherini, are not conventional, but give inspiration to the invention of colours and of musical episodes that are always original. The most emblematic case is that of the Fandango in Quintet G 448. The movement comes from a quintet with two cellos (G 341) that Boccherini had written many years earlier «imitating the fandango that Padre Basilio plays on the guitar», as he himself wrote on the frontispiece. One might think that the possibility of having a real guitar at his disposal would have led the composer to radically rethink the textural structure of the work, giving the guest instrument the formulas derived from it. Instead, Boccherini does not alter the ‘guitarism’ of the stringed instruments, and lets he the guitar join them, balancing them and conversing with them in the game of imitation. To get an idea of how the sound organism of the guitar quintet is fickle, unpredictable in its outcomes and rich in expressive nuances, let us consider a fragment of the first movement of Quintet G 447 (Ex. 1): the solo guitar passage becomes immersed in the ensemble in bar 32, while in bar 37, after the general pause, there is a sudden turn towards an episode in which the rasgueado of the guitar, the overall syncopated flow and the brilliant violin figuration recall a popular Spanish dance.
Example 1. Luigi Boccherini, Guitar Quintet in B flat major n. 3, G 447 I Allegro moderato, bars 31-38 (transcription)
Not too chronologically distant from the quintets of Boccherini, the Quintet in A major Op. 65 by Giuliani fits into a completely 56
different context. We are in musical Vienna during the early decades of the nineteenth century; a city dominated by the figure of Beethoven and animated by an inexhaustible enthusiasm for musical entertainment. Giuliani is a guitar virtuoso from Italy, who spends the best years of his career (from 1807 to 1829) in Vienna, gaining a solid reputation as a concert artist and composer for his instrument.17 As with his other concert pieces, Op. 65 is conceived primarily for his own performances. The instrumental writing leaves no room for doubt. After a slow introduction for the strings, which prepares for the two movements which constitute the work while at the same time creating anticipation for the entry of the virtuoso, the guitar takes possession of the main theme of the composition while the quartet is relegated to the accompaniment. Free from all claims of ‘commitment’, the two movements have a brilliant character, both as regards form (a theme with variations is followed by a Polonese in rondo form) and the sparkling appearance of the soloist’s part. Giuliani puts himself to the test, launching a challenge to those who will want to try their hand at performing the work once it has been published, with four bravura variations on the theme from the arietta «Nel cor più non mi sento» from La molinara by Giovanni Paisiello, and with episodes that are no less impervious in the rondo. The theme taken from La molinara, one of the favourites in Vienna at the time, had already been elaborated upon by Giuliani in a series of six variations for solo guitar, Op.4. The few years that had passed since the composition of Boccherini’s quintets are decisive for the history of the guitar, as is visible not only from the musical style but also from the notation for the guitar, by now completely polyphonic (Ex. 2).
The most complete study of Giuliani’s life remains THOMAS F. HECK, Mauro Giuliani. Virtuoso Guitarist and Composer, Editions Orphée, Columbus 1995. For additional information, particularly regarding the composer’s Viennese years, see MARCO RIBONI, Mauro Giuliani: un aggiornamento biografico, «Il Fronimo», XX/81, October 1992, pp. 41-60.
Example 2. Mauro Giuliani, Guitar Quintet in A major Op. 65 II Polonese, bars 1-5 (transcription)
More than a century was to pass before a new quintet for guitar and strings saw the light of day. In 1950 the Quintet Op. 143 by Castelnuovo-Tedesco appeared, having been conceived and written, according to the composer himself, in less than a month (between 7 February and 5 March).18 The work is dedicated to Andrés Segovia, who gave its first performance with the Paganini Quartet in Los Angeles on 26 April 1951. The quintet was then performed in Siena in 1953, once again by Segovia but with members of the Quintetto Chigiano (in 1950 Segovia had begun holding a summer course at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, inaugurating inter alia his collaboration with the quintet of the prestigious institution19). Segovia’s association with the ensemble from Siena soon thereafter 18
MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, liner notes for the CD Andrés Segovia e gli Archi del Quintetto Chigiano, The Segovia Collection, Vol. 8, MCA MCD10056. LEONARDO PINZAUTI, L'Accademia Musicale Chigiana da Boito a Boulez, Electa, Milano 1982, pp. 73-74.
gave rise to the recording20 that brought Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet widespread international fame.
Example 3. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Guitar Quintet Op. 143 I Allegro, vivo e schietto, bars 7-14 (transcription)
The Guitar Quintet is part of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s conspicuous production for guitar, fostered by his decisive meeting with Segovia in the 1930s. In terms of its style, the piece does not diverge from the line that prevails in the composer’s other instrumental works, which is inspired by a neoclassical ideal that has little or nothing to do with the ‘objectivity’ of Stravinskij’s Pulcinella or Oedipus Rex but rather searches for a personal approach to expressing shared feelings. Castelnuovo-Tedesco sums up the characteristics of the Quintet as follows:
Today available on the CD referred to in note 18.
The first of the four movements, Allegro, vivo e schietto, is in the regular sonata-allegro form. The second movement, Andante mesto, is of a lyrical character, with Spanish undertones (the second theme is marked “Souvenir d'Espagne”). The third movement, Allegro con spirito, alla Marcia, is a Scherzo with two Trios. The last movement, Allegro con fuoco, is in Rondo form, very brilliant and contrapuntal: again the second theme is in a Spanish mood: what could be more appropriate for Andrés Segovia?21
Even more than in the adoption of formal principles derived from the past, the neoclassical orientation of Castelnuovo-Tedesco is characterised by the clarity of melodic lines and their simple concatenation. Procedures of motivic elaboration are for the most part avoided; if anything, the composer prefers the resources of unpretentious, imitative counterpoint and a vigorous ensemble. (Ex. 3) After nearly two centuries at the forefront in chamber music ensembles and solo concerts (centuries during which it has been the protagonist of fundamental transformations, both organological and in terms of performance technique, carried out so as to strengthen its role as a concert instrument), the guitar is now the recipient of a solo part that requires it to face the string quartet on equal terms. In Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet, the ‘discreet’ guest (as I have wished to describe the guitar from the title of my essay onwards, in virtue of its soft sound, intimate but rich in nuances, that needs a thoughtfully planned configuration whenever the instrument is placed alongside an instrumental group of a different type like a string quartet) takes part in the musical ‘conversation’ with a totally unprecedented momentum. The role of the instrument is gauged not only according to the concrete ability of the performer, but also on the basis of Segovia’s charisma. The artistic personality of the Andalusian musician, which has been decisive for the success of the guitar on the international concert stage from the second decade of the twentieth century onwards (and exceptional enough to make a myth of Segovia even during his career), had the necessary authoritativeness to take on such responsibility. The music of 21
See note 18.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco was particularly in keeping with the tastes of the eminent performer, and therefore functional to the assertion of the Segovian myth. Just as he did for most of the pieces dedicated to him by his favourite composers, Segovia acted upon it almost always as co-author and not only as editor. For the Quintet Op. 143, as for many of the other compositions by Castelnuovo-Tedesco dedicated to Segovia, the neoclassicism of the writing is echoed by a â€˜newâ€™ classicism determined by the position of the work in the history of guitar music. For future generations of guitarists, the cornerstones of the Segovian repertory, amongst which the Quintet is to be absolutely included, will soon become classics. (Translated by Michael Elphinstone)
TWENTIETH-CENTURY GUITAR MUSIC Carlo Fierens
Amongst the proposals of the 2010 edition of Pavia’s highSCORE Festival, that of placing the guitar at the centre of the young participating composers’ thoughts on composition took on particular importance. At the beginning of the 21st century, the word ‘guitar’ no longer suggests merely an instrument with certain organological characteristics and consolidated performing techniques, but rather a continually growing family of instruments, styles, and musical worlds in constant evolution. Perhaps no other musical instrument can boast the fortune enjoyed by the guitar last century, even atoning for its relatively recent development and the absence of classical literature forming the framework of a concert repertory. In order to analyse the history of this fortune, it is necessary to outline a brief profile of the instrument, or rather of the instruments that answer to the name of guitar. Within Western art music, this task is easily accomplished: though a simplification, it is possible to assert that the attainment of a prominent role on the international concert scene is the result of the colossal work of a single musician and of his seventy-year career. More than once, Andrés Segovia, when remembering what his aims were (after decades these were to become consolidated goals), underlined how important it was for him to separate the guitar from its reputation as the voice of the folk music of half of Europe. This is certainly an impressive legacy, but also a real handicap since the Spanish virtuoso was trying to gain credibility for his instrument in the most prestigious concert halls of the world. With necessary simplifications, it is reasonable to affirm that Segovia reinvented the instrument, first of all from an organological point of view: he imposed the modern Spanish guitar as a lasting standard, and he collaborated on the development of the nylon string, a real tenet in the evolution of the classical guitar. But Segovia’s most enduring legacy is the previously-mentioned revolution in the status of the 63
guitar, and even in this case his activity moved in several directions: 1. the rediscovery of long-forgotten works for the viuhela, the lute and the early guitar 2. the transcription of monuments from the classical repertory of other instruments (the chaccone from the J.S. Bachâ€™s second partita for solo violin certainly deserves mention) 3. incentivating and encouraging contemporary composers in order to create a solid and vast corpus of original pieces for the guitar 4. favouring the introduction of the guitar in conservatory programmes, on the same level of importance as other instruments. It will be necessary to go back over some of these points to see the aims and the limits of Segoviaâ€™s mission in more detail; more than twenty years after his death, it is now possible to place everything in historical perspective. We must remember, however, that last century, just as the guitar was making its definitive entrance into the sphere of great classical music, another revolution centred around the same instrument was defining a turning point in the history of music. Within the space of a few years, the introduction of the possibility of amplifying the guitar had made it the main instrument of many musical genres: from jazz (not only as harmonic and rhythmic support but also as a solo instrument), to the newly-born rock, where the sound of the electric guitar has become a real hallmark of the genre. The parallel development of the instrument on two fronts that are so different and to a certain extent conflicting has determined the multiform and varied nature of the family of instruments that today take the name of guitar.22 In order to completely observe the position that the guitar has assumed in the modern musical panorama, it is necessary to go beyond the profile outlined above. On both fronts on which the guitar has acted as a protagonist in the 20th century, crises have
Let it be understood that this phenomenon is nothing but a radicalisation of differences that have always existed between guitars of different musical traditions.
arisen that have favoured a more moveable, constantly evolving situation. As far as the classical guitar is concerned, the retirement of Segovia, father of the modern school, has left an emptiness that no musical personality has been able (or has known how) to fill. If it is true that in the last decades of his life the Maestro of Linares did all he could in the area of didactics, establishing and encouraging young performers’ careers, his artistic greatness, together with the exceptional longevity of his concert career, resulted in a lack of real heirs, leaving a band of followers and successors who continued to shine in reflected light. At the same time, with the passing of an exceptional interpreter, the limits of Segovia’s repertory have also dramatically come to light: the composers chosen by Segovia (Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ponce, Moreno-Torroba) represented a dying musical taste, and they have not left a lasting mark on the international panorama. If Segovia’s interpretative strength was able to overshadow these limits, they later arose again dramatically. Once again simplifying, one can observe how this reality has produced at least three results that may still be found in the life of the guitar as an instrument in Western art music. 1. With a slight delay, due also to Segovia’s aversion, the guitar became a voice of avant-garde music. A number of guitarists, as many of them students of Segovia (above all Eliot Fisk), as those coming from schools that do not follow Segovia (Julian Bream, Narciso Yepes) started to collaborate with leading composers in the creation of important solo works that have become part of contemporary musical development. Among the first results of this new stance, the collaboration of Bream with Benjamin Britten and Hans Werner Henze, which has resulted in some very important pages of the modern repertoire, should be singled out. 2. Parallel to the entry of the guitar into the world of new music, a regression that cancelled some of the goals achieved by Segovia was witnessed: when the charismatic figure disappeared, the following generation did not seem to be able to defend the new prestige of the instrument, which appeared in high level concert 65
programming more and more rarely. The result was the birth of a plethora of guitar festivals that now enjoy good health, attracting performers and aficionados. The fact that the guitar has always had a public of music lovers and amateurs allows these festivals to perpetuate themselves with success, but they pay for this self assurance with a certain auto-referentiality, and with consequences that are more serious from the musical point of view; these shall be discussed presently. 3. As a last resort to maintain the audience numbers of the fortunate Segovian era, many guitarists have decided to meet the expectations of a wider public, offering successful pieces of music arranged for the guitar, or fusing style with musical genres of mass consumption. This was the origin of crossover, which has seen the creation of countless arrangements of Beatlesâ€™ songs or the addition of folk and popular music to the repertory. The third point, briefly described as the submission of the classical guitar to market-place logic, provides the opportunity for further considerations. From the description of the phenomenon, it would seem that classical guitar looks upon the fortune of the electrified guitar in pop music with a certain envy, and tries to contest its public and success. It is worth noting that this trend takes place at the exact moment in history (end of the 20th century) in which elements of crisis are verifiable for the electric guitar: for the first time in decades, musical genres of mass consumption in which the guitar has no role (for example hip hop or electronic music) established themselves in the music industry, and the very sound of the electric guitar almost expressed a vintage, even conservative (or at least nostalgic) world. Furthermore, it is impossible not to speak about how the very idea of such clearly separated and independent musical genres has been in crisis for a long time. If one cannot honestly consider crossover to be abhorring in and of itself, then it should be confronted in a serious and credible way. And precisely seriousness and understanding risk disappearing as guitarists seem to distance themselves from the forefront of music in order to withdraw to the comfortable 66
‘reserves’ dedicated to them. The presence of a musical production dedicated to a public that is made up almost exclusively of guitarists is also revealed through the continually-increasing importance of guitarist-composers in the creation of the instrument’s modern repertory. Obviously, the very nature of the guitar has ensured that this phenomenon has always been present: in the classical and romantic periods, it can be said that only guitarists composed for the instrument. At the time of the Segovian mission’s greatest success, however, it seemed to have been decidedly scaled down (to tell the truth, it must be remembered that Segovia himself composed a few brief pages). It is evident that when addressing a public made up of guitarists, those compositions intended for the instrument, which exalt the timbric qualities and the performer’s skill, can enjoy immediate success, especially if the instrumental freshness is coupled with melodic catchiness or rhythmic appeal. Among the guitarists who have successfully enriched the modern repertory, in spite of their diversity, Nikita Koshkin, Leo Brouwer and Roland Dyens deserve mention. However dramatic the situation might appear, the fact that certain innovations give hope for brighter prospects should not be ignored. In recent decades, collaboration between performers and composers has seen a radical change in relation to the Segovian work method (which consisted of giving precautionary explanations to the composer and then revising and often modifying heavily the first versions of works in order to make them more idiomatic): now it involves an exchange in which the guitarist’s task is not that of influencing creative choices, but of giving the composer the most complete “grammar of the guitar” possible. Only in this way can one explain the fact that some of the most instrumentally innovative (and successful) pieces have been written by composers who braved writing for guitar for the first time: consider the Sonata by Alberto Ginastera (1976) or Sequenza XI by Luciano Berio (1989). In both cases, it is the penetrating study of the instrument’s capabilities, beyond any conventional writing, that guarantees a great result, not only instrumentally but also musically. Such study was catalyzed by exceptional interpreters (Carlos Barbosa-Lima in 67
the first case, Eliot Fisk in the second) in a process based as much on precautionary training as on final revision. In the first decades of the last century, writing for the guitar experienced a great leap forward, guaranteed by the technical solidity of AndrĂ¨s Segovia who incited composers into making the most of all the harmonic, polyphonic and timbric potential of the instrument. Segovian technique was the ideal medium for guitar writing that reflected either a neoclassical aesthetic (CastelnuovoTedesco, Tasmann) or an aesthetic related to various national schools (Turina, Ponce, Villa-Lobos). In spite of its being so developed, it cannot be said that guitar writing in this historical period differs radically from that of the nineteenth-century. One must wait until the guitar becomes interesting to the avant-garde to observe a new way of treating the instrument. Consistent with the paths of new music, performance methods are developed on the basis of musical needs, renewable from time to time, and every habit brought about by tradition is again queried. On the other hand, works composed following traditional instrumental technique do not disappear, in cases where the stimuli followed by the composer are different. Without diffusely going into examples of modern guitar writing,23 it suffices to remember how the contemporary guitar offers a further explorative possibility: this is precisely the fruitful exchange with the popular and folkloric tradition that in different cases informs (an example, this, of fortunate crossover) compositions for guitar. The two works mentioned previously as being cornerstones in the research into performance techniques feed abundantly on Argentine folkloric tradition (this is the case of the Sonata by Ginastera) and on the performance modalities of the guitar in the flamenco (in the Sequenza by Berio). If the possibilities offered by new technology (tape and live electronics for example) are added to this by now vast panorama, one can realize the historic waste that has occurred 23
For an overview on the possibilities of the guitar in contemporary music, see JOHN SCHNEIDER, The Contemporary Guitar, University of California Press, Berkeley 1985.
(for the guitar and more for other instruments) in the space of less than fifty years. It is particularly interesting to look at the world of the guitar in the United States, since it is precisely in America that the distinction between the various genres has been blurred most extensively (and profitably). Along the path that led from Jazz influences in art music, through a stage in which classical music voraciously sought out fresh resources from other musical worlds (such as Copland), to arrive at minimalist music, a long story of more or less explicit pillaging, swapping and flirting can be found. This is even more the case when considering the guitar, whose artmusic tradition is certainly much weaker than its vivacious presence in folk and popular music. Three pieces by three different, highly representative, composers bear witness to the richness and variety of the American scene during the last century. Changes by Eliot Carter (1983) is a piece that reveals no influence from folk or popular music. Rather, it seeks out a harmonic language in a series of pitches and intervals, together with ‘games of contrast’, both rhythmic and dynamic. Indeed, these are ‘changes’ that occur in some few musical building-blocks, which are exploited in every way the instrument has to offer. This type of reflection represents a most personal declination of similar themes, taken up both in preceding and contemporary years by European composers. The same themes fascinated George Rochberg throughout his first creative phase. His American Bouquet (1991), however, moves away from the dodecaphonic works of his earlier days. It is a collection of American songs from the 1920s and 1930s (plus two original compositions by Rochberg) that are completely recomposed, in order to make space for the composer’s new harmonic language. Chromatic and diatonic structures go hand in hand, and tonality is constantly integrated and enriched by its opposite. Steve Reich’s Electric counterpoint (1987) is part of his ‘counterpoints’ series, and sees the (electric) guitar ‘amplified’ by being recorded on tape with 11 guitar tracks and two basses superimposed. These three great works of the American 69
contemporary repertoire for guitar represent not only three of the United States’ most significant composers, but also three ways of composing, three ‘schools which lived side by side during the latter decades of the 20th century. Coming to the latest years, we notice how it has become ever more difficult to group young composers together into ‘currents’ and ‘schools’. The experiences mentioned above (electronic music, minimalism, new tonality) have all become constituent parts of a tradition which contemporary composers today can treat in an autonomous manner, trying to give personal answers to present-day compositional questions. The new generation of composers call upon the heritage of tradition in order to construct a totally new relationship with the past, all with carefree liberty – one of the typical characteristics of North American culture. The compositional results of this attitude therefore manifest extreme disparities. If one wanted to pin-point a common trait in all of the most recent compositions for guitar in the American panorama (including those compositions presented in the 2010 edition of the highSCORE Festival in which the guitar is protagonist), it might be found in the common interest in the instruments peculiar timbre. Composers who find themselves dealing with the guitar for the first time are often more fascinated by its delicacy of tone and harmonic euphony than by the variety of sound emissions of which it is capable, or the quest for new sonorities. In the case of Flow, Brian Mark’s piece for two guitars, a reprise of minimalist musical elements is evident which, as we shall see, emerges explicitly from the surface structure of the piece. The lure of minimalism reflects an idea of the guitar that the composer himself clarifies: «Although a technically demanding and versatile instrument, I wanted to give Flow the simplicity and sheer beauty that the guitar is well known for»24. It should be born in mind that the piece was conceived also (and originally) for guitar solo25, in a 24 25
BRIAN MARK, Introduction to Flow. It is in this version that the piece received its premier performance with James Moore on the guitar.
version that the composer still recognises as legitimate. It is significant that the entire piece uses only traditional technique for sound emission, renouncing not only to the vast palette of sounds elaborated during the 20th century, but also to more classical techniques like harmonics, smorzato, and instrumental legato. It is clear that the intention is to make the sound as uniform as possible, so that it is completely adherent to the type of sound suggested by the title. Also the dynamics of the piece, excluding two incursions of ff and pp, are restricted to the range from mp to mf, with extremely delicate slides between one dynamic level and another. The formal structure of Flow can be divided into three sections, the third of which is a more concise rendering of the first. The central section is distinctive for its faster tempo and by its texture and sonority. As mentioned above, minimal music is suggested by the presence of recurring structures and of brief melodic motives that repeat incessantly as they gradually slip into new ideas. Also the tendency to play with metric ambiguities and with slight modifications in rhythmic accents which announce changes in texture or new harmonic regions is reminiscent of minimalism. Nevertheless, Brian Mark himself states that the reference to minimalist music, though present, is incidental. It is determined in the first place by the influence of folk music, that he and minimalism have in common, and above all by the way attention is focused on the purity of the tone and the simplicity of touch that are typical of the guitar. The initial, rocking motif in 7/8 in the first guitar is passed to the second guitar from bar 5 onwards, now in 3/4, acting as the accompaniment of a brief melodic phrase that pivots around the tone of F#. The following alternation of 4/4 and 9/8 seems to renew and dilate the initial subdivision of 7/8 (2+2+3). This time, both of the voices expose a three-note scalar motifin seconds. A new change in meter signals also the beginning of a new sonority, in which the accompaniment moves in parallel fifths. Here, the new elements both in meter and pitch keep pace with an increase in the density of the writing, which leads the second guitar, from bar 25 onwards, to an oscillating ostinato on two intervals of a fifth: C-G 71
and Eb – Bb. Meanwhile, the main voice sings a melodic motif in octaves. The whole texture moves chromatically upwards by one semitone in bar 33, with an increase in tension which is released in a new section of parallel movement in the opening 7/8. In the final idea of the first section, the semi-quaver appears. Though at first used in 3/4 bars, in reality the semi-quavers may always be interpreted as being arranged into groups of 6/16. This brief coda to the first section is also in ternary form: the first guitar initially forms a simple, high melodic figure out of the highest notes of the arpeggio accompaniment. It then imitates the second guitar’s semiquavers in canon at the unison for four bars, and finally restates the high melodic figure of the first part of the coda, now doubled at the octave below, while the second guitar proceeds with an accompaniment on a C# major chord. The first section closes on this very chord, with a ritardando on a tremolo. The second part, which bears the denomination of ‘Pic-like Feel’, is based on the alternation of ascending figures and ostinatos that outline a diminished triad (C#, E, G). Here, the element of metric ambiguity is even more explicit if one observes for example bars 72 and 73, where the 3/4 division does not prevent one from hearing a 6/8.
Example 1. Brian Mark, Flow, bars 72-73 (© Brian Mark)
This group of bars in 3/4 leads to a reprise of the initial motive – ‘Pic-like Feel’ – after a descending fragment of chromatic scale that the second guitar hints at over the first guitar’s ostinato. This time, 72
however, the two guitars present the parallel motion of the ascending motif in 5/8 together, not in alternation as in the opening creating an exquisite timbre.
Example 2. Brian Mark, Flow, bars 60-61 and 81-82 (© Brian Mark)
The re-transition to the ‘tempo primo’ happens via a diminuendo on a sonority that may be described as a semi-diminished chord (A#, C#, E, G#), which leads back to the opening motif in 7/8, to which an E+/- chord is superimposed. Soon afterwards the almostliteral reprise of the first bars of the piece is disturbed by a new chromatic slide which lowers the model by a semitone. This new region leads to the concluding section of the composition, through a new descending figure in bar 116. In bars 33-34 it was the upward slide of a semitone in the accompaniment which signaled the rise in tension. Here it is the second guitar’s accompanying figure, which alternates fifths and fourths in movement that, on the whole, descends, which brings the music to its final stasis. The 73
initial figure returns to close the piece, this time in 3/4 and therefore elided. It is played in parallel fourths by the two guitars, and is vertically summarized in the final chord. Flow is a piece made up of softened contrasts and transparent sonorities. Juxtaposed and alternated harmonic regions are delineated, without following tonal syntax and with limited use of highly exposed dissonance. It almost seems that the composer places his trust in the guitars sweet sound to mask and mitigate his harmonic asperities, and indeed the construction of the composition is guided by this characteristic of the instrument. Though Eugene Astapov also refers to simplicity when describing his suite entitled Lenten Music, it is a different kind of simplicity, which can be interpreted more as austerity and severity. The title itself recalls the time of Lent, before Easter, in the Orthodox calendar. There is therefore first and foremost an ethical, rather than aesthetic, intention to limit the technical resources of the instrument as well as the musical resources. The composition consists of four brief movements with Russian titles: I. Phráza (phrase); II. Ouzór (pattern); III. Achórd (chord); IV. Melódia (melody). The way in which writing for guitar is approached in this piece is therefore influenced by meditative simplicity. However, the composer does not renounce to certain performance techniques that are typical of the instrument, such as natural and artificial harmonics and glissandos. Close attention paid to the natural capabilities of the guitar is revealed not only by the general economy of means, but also by the frequent and strategic occurrence of notes to be played on the open strings. According to the composer’s introductory note to the piece, it is the very ‘limitations’ that the guitar imposes which determine certain aspects of the compositional process. It should be noted that seeing the guitar as an instrument which imposes limitations on the composer is in accordance with this work’s almost ‘penitent’ nature. It also reveals a certain diffidence on the composer’s part, which is a reflection of the difficulties the guitar still imposes. From this point of view it is interesting to note that this is not 74
Astapov’s first work for guitar. In 2009 he composed Nocturna, a piece which, from the instrumental point of view, is definitely more ambitious and challenging than the suite, Lenten Music, even though it already reveals certain types of writing that recur in the suite. On the whole, the dynamic range never reaches f, and the texture never becomes particularly dense, as horizontal writing is always given preference over vertical writing. The choice to never utilize the totality of chromatic resources in any of the single movements is another form of renouncement. This severity reaches its peak in the final movement, where only five separate pitches are put into play. The first movement, Phráza, which uses only seven pitches covering the fifth C3 – G3, opens on a cell of three notes (a falling tone followed by a rising semi-tone), which returns a number of times over the seven bars in dilated, permutated and transposed versions. The sixth string’s open E appears as a pedal tone practically from the beginning to the end, except for the central bars where the melodic and dynamic climax is reached together with the highest degree of rhythmic movement. Ouzór is an arpeggio made up of semi-quaver quintuplets built around a mobile and undefined vertical profile. The Pattern to which the title refers is in reality weaked by the erosion of the arpeggio figure caused by the insertion of rests where notes would otherwise be, and by the halving of the original durations. Curiously, though the chord outlined in semi-quavers is so ambiguous and metamorphic that it defies clear tonal identification, when we hear the base note of the chord played in semi-demi-quavers it becomes recognizable as an E major chord with 7th and 9th. In the third movement of the suite, Achórd, a single chord is progressively unveiled through the gradual addition of pitches. The fact that the complete chord (made up of hexachordal material) is never heard in its vertical entirety confers on it a certain ambiguity, which allows the sonorities to be interpreted tonally in a series of different ways over the 36 bars of the piece. Though, in fact, the initial ostinato on the falling third FD suggests without any doubt the tonality of D minor, the Bb which is immediately placed below it shifts the tonal feel towards Bb major. Successively, G3, A2 and E2 are added (on the open strings of
the guitar) which substitute or integrate the other notes in the chord, so as to not only confuse and dilute the perception of tonality, but also to introduce a sense of ‘extraneousness’ between the ostinato notes (where F alternates with E from bar 14 onwards) and the lower notes. The greatest economy of means is reached in Melódia, which uses only six individual pitches out of the chromatic scale’s 12 (but the D# is heard only once). As the title suggests, the piece is exquisitely monodic in nature. Its main characteristic is the contraposition between step-wise movement and greater intervallic leaps. The pivotal point in the melodic motion seems to be B3, which is alternated with A#3 in the first bars, from which higher notes are reached through leaps of a sixth or of a seventh. In bars 56 the B is alternated not with the note a semitone below it, but rather with C#, a major second above it. The return of the opening pattern in bar 7 signals the close of its brief formal development, which concludes with a rising figure in harmonics. This brief analysis of Lenten Music should have clarified just what Eugene Astapov and Brian Mark have in common, and what separates these composers in their two works. In particular, it must be underlined how similar aesthetic principles (simple writing style, instrumental ease, and limited basic thematic material) have created distinct musical results thanks to highly different extramusical premises. It is the attempt to involve life experiences, cultural influences and ethical contents that differentiates the profiles of the two compositions. Musical tradition, or compositional processes become, therefore, functions of an interior necessity whose premises lie elsewhere. As a consequence, the relationship with the instrument is modeled according to these needs and they are in agreement with the general principles upon which the profiles of the works are based. The guitar responds to the need for simplicity, clarity of timbre and natural expressiveness which, though for different reasons, are expressed both in Flow and Lenten Music. (Translated by Ivan Fowler)
EARLY INSTRUMENTS IN CONTEMPORARY ART MUSIC Ugo Nastrucci The first traces we have of performance practices, which appeared to have been definitively consigned to history, being revived date back to the final decades of the 19th century. As early as the year 1893, Arnold Dolmetsch (1848-1940) began reconstructing copies of original instruments (lutes, clavichords, recorders, harpsichords, viole da gamba). In 1915 he wrote The Interpretation of the Music of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries, the cornerstone of a process which led to the modern interpretation of renaissance and baroque music on historical instruments. In approximately the same period first Sébastien Érard (1752-1831) and then Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) became interested in the structure and reconstruction of early harpsichords. In the field of composition a similar phenomenon also occurred. In the music of Gabriel Fauré traces can be found of procedures such as chords which progress by parallel motion or the use of the ancient church modes. These procedures were considered unusual, or completely ‘forbidden’, by classical tonal theory, but came to be characteristic traits of the following generation of French composers, like Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. This movement was linked to the progressive decay of tonality. These tendencies should be interpreted as part of a quest for new sounds and compositional techniques, rather than as a sort of ‘temporal exoticism’, to be lumped together with the ‘geographic exoticism’, present in the same period (the trend of using oriental scales and modes, for example). In this respect they can be viewed as being similar to modernist and avant-gardist trends, to be found at the beginning of the 20th century in the work of composers from diverse geographical and stylistic origins, from the ‘fauvist’ Igor Stravinskij of Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) and the atonal experiments of Arnold Schönberg’s Second String Quartet, Op. 10
(1908) and Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 (1912) to Bela Bartók and Aleksandr Skrjabin, to name just a few. It therefore seems that at the beginning of the 20th century a twosided phenomenon took shape. On the one hand, within ranks of the so-called Historical Avant-garde, late-Romantic aesthetics were overcome by a ‘progressive’ approach: in other words through the forward-looking search for completely new forms, sounds and compositional techniques. On the other hand, there was a tendency to return to the pre-Romantic past, whose archaic forms and sounds were perceived as ‘objectified’, and thus provided the basis for previously unheard sonorities. This was the so-called Neoclassical current, whose greatest representative in the years between the World Wars was Stravinskij. Naturally there were also examples of osmosis and cross-fertilization between the two main currents of Avant-garde and Neoclassicism. Indeed, today the interpretation, promoted by principally by Theodor W. Adorno, which views the 20th century as having been divided in a Manichean fashion between Avant-garde and Restoration, seems out-of-date. Philosophical contributions, such as that of the philosopher Karl Popper (1902-1994), challenge the scientific/historical principle of progress in a single direction («no society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge» (The Poverty of Historicism, vii)). Thus the way towards a less Manichean overview of the 20th century has opened up, giving recognition to a whole series of developments, such as, tellingly, the tendency to revive the use of instruments that were once considered out-of-use or simply antique. One need only think of musical works such as Ottorino Respighi’s two series of Antiche arie e danze italiane per liuto (first series 1917, second series 1923), which would never have been possible without the musicological detective work on ancient lute tablature carried out by Oscar Chilesotti (1848-1916) in the preceding years. And yet, these works were composed in practically the same period as Schönberg’s first dodecaphonic composition (Suite for Piano, Op. 25, 1921), which significantly recalls the Baroque with its dance forms. It is by no means a coincidence that in those same years occurred the first acts of 78
fusion between early and modern instruments. The dry sound of the harpsichord features in Manuel de Falla’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Six Instruments (1923-1926), which builds upon the experience of Wanda Landowska (1879-1959) with the harpsichord. The instrument in use at that time was quite different to present day harpsichords, which are philologically precise copies of the originals. Early 20th century harpsichords had the structure of a piano, in which the hammers had been replaced with jackmounted plectrums. However, the change in tastes is meaningful. The words of Virginia Woolf’s androgynous protagonist Orlando, who outlived him/herself several times in a lifetime that spans the years from the Renaissance to the 20th century, come to mind: ‘There was something definite and distinct about the age, which reminded her of the XVIII century, except that there was a distraction, a desperation’. The tinny sound of the harpsichord seems to incarnate a new aesthetic idea: dry, defined tones; the reduction of the number of instruments; the reduction of the lengths of pieces; and the use of closed forms that were derived from Baroque, Medieval and Renaissance musical practices. Though they had featured sporadically in concerts in the years between the World Wars, early instruments enjoyed period of true re-birth after in the Post-War years, when they were widely used in ‘historically correct’ performances by musicians who employed rigorously philological performance practices in playing preRomantic compositions. At the same time, early instruments also came into favor with composers of the so-called Neo-avant-garde, who were stimulated by the possible new sonorities such instruments offered. The greatest problem posed by the use of early instruments for contemporary compositions arises from their idiomatic nature. The sounds they produce evoke the historical periods to which they originally belonged. Their tuning systems, construction and playing techniques function in terms of the musical language that was current at the time of their invention. For this reason, the way they are used in contemporary composition varies, depending on the aesthetic approaches adopted by the person writing. 79
Early instruments may be considered to be ‘sound machines’, capable of producing singular sonorities beyond the realms of what ‘normal’ instruments can do. Otherwise, their timbres may be used in an evocative way, to lend an ‘archaic’ feel to one’s works, or indeed to bring to mind modern, ‘non-classical’ styles, such as folk music. The harpsichord has shown to be particularly suited to obtaining hitherto unheard sonorities: one need only recall the extraordinary avant-garde piece Continuum (1968), by György Ligeti. In many ways, the sonority that Ligeti manages to create resembles electronic music from the same period. Both the instrument and the style in which it is played completely lose any ‘historical’ vestiges, becoming something totally new: a ‘sound object’, bereft of any connection with the tradition that created the instrument. Compositions like RARA by Sylvano Bussotti and Gesti, by Luciano Berio, both written in 1966 for the recorder, can by identified as belonging to the same aesthetic genre. Both of these compositions call for an extremely capable performer who is willing to experiment with innovative techniques, such as fluttertongue (dental tremolo) or singing into the instrument. The latter technique was derived from analogous experiments on modern wind instruments, and was not a feature of historical performance technique. In this context should also be mentioned Aldo Clementi’s Replica (1979) for harpsichord and Sei canoni for contralto recorder and harpsichord (1990) and Mauricio Kagel with Musik für Renaissanceinstrumente e Kammermusik für Renaissanceinstrumente for 2-22 instruments (1966). It may be seen that most of these pieces, all of which can be collocated in the post-war neo-avant-garde movement, were composed during the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, the year 1966 seems to have constituted the ‘epicenter’ of this trend. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the first generation of modern virtuoso performers dedicated to playing early instruments in a philologically correct manner on original instruments or on copies of original instruments came to the forefront in the very same period. Examples are the recorder player Frans Brüggen (1934), taught at the Hague Conservatory from the late 1950s onwards, and 80
the harpsichord player Gustav Leonhardt (1928), who taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory in 1954 and at Harvard University in 1969. August Wenzinger (1905-1996) was a distinguished viola da gamba player, as is his student, Jordi Savall (1941). After the benchmark provided by the career of lute player Diana Poulton (1903-1995), Anthony Bailes, Hopkinson Smith (1946), James Tyler (1940-2010), Anthony Rooley (1944) and Paul O’Dette (1954) followed suite. In the field of orchestral or large ensemble music, the Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929) made enormous contributions through his assiduous work in organology, bibliography and performance practice. This generation of musicians brought the ‘new’ sounds of early instruments to the attention of the world with their performances, in a way that must have made an impression on composers. The frequent absence of vibrato in both voice and strings, the cutting tones of the reeds and the light brilliance of the brass instruments were all sounds that, ‘leap-frogging’ late Romantic tastes, appealed to contemporary sensibilities. In this way a link was created with the ‘historical’ movement of composition which had demonstrated very similar tastes in the 1950s. For example, Igor Stravinskij’s Cantum Sacrum (1955), composed for the re-consecration of St Mark’s Basilica, Venice, recalls the sonority of Gabrieli’s ‘Venetian’ brass, right from the very first bars. Musical tastes in the 1960s most probably underwent a process of change, coming to embrace widely different stylistic areas. The exasperation of futurism in the post-Webern Neo-avant-garde, concentrated as it was on the techniques of integral serialism, led to the first signs of post-modern ‘reflux’. On the one hand, neo-tonal techniques came back into vogue, as in the case of American minimalist music and its new-age following. On the other hand, compositional techniques and practices such as improvisation and open form were revived. After an initial phase in which they remained absolutely faithful to the written score, ‘historical’ musicians have introduced these latter techniques more and more into their performances, considering them to be essential in the reconstruction of historical performance practice. One need only 81
think of the ever-growing tendency to not provide written harmonic solutions to basso continuo lines. It is hardly difficult to discern the kinship with contemporary Jazz performance norms, such as the alteration of the written rhythmic values or the use of improvisation in standards, which are similar in practical terms to the extemporized playing of bass ostinatos in early arias such as the Aria di Ruggero, Folia, or Aria di Fiorenza. The meaning of these ‘new early music pieces’ goes beyond simply copying style. One might rather consider the concept of ‘progress’ in the light of the principle of time’s non-linearity, as expounded by philosophers like Karl Popper, or physicists like Albert Einstein. On the contrary, one might also hypothesize that the growing success of the early music movement in those years was connected to the fact that, in the second half of the 1970s, progressive rock began to lose momentum, and many musicians transmigrated from that field into the early music scene. Indeed, the Dutch guitarist Jan Akkerman (1946) had already used the lute in Tabernakkel (1974) with his group Focus, and quite a few musicians who are today devotees of early music were originally rock musicians. One might think that the wave of reflux towards the end of the 1970s bridged the gap between the various musical genres in a kind of Zeitgeist, or spirit of the times. Today, where the ‘globalization’ of tastes has made every imaginable type of fusion possible, every kind of aesthetic position coexists with all others. Improvisers re-invent historical forms on their instruments mid-concert (e.g. the organists William Porter and Edoardo Bellotti). Composers like Roman Turovsky-Savchuk create entire new compositions in ancient styles. Early instruments are used in avant-garde pieces. Jazz compositions are even written on the basis of baroque ‘standards’ (e.g. the harmonium player Gianni Coscia with his CD Frescobaldi per noi, 2007).
APPENDIX Brief overview of the key characteristics of the main early instrument families HARPSICHORD and similar instruments (spinet, virginal): due to their versatility and the wide range of possibilities offered by keyboard playing techniques, these instruments are surely among those that contemporary composers write for the most. One should remember that two types of instrument exist. There are those which do not follow the path of historical reconstruction (Erard and Pleyel in the 19th century, then Neupert, Wittmayer et al in the 20th century). Their sound is limited and metallic, they generally have two manuals with pedal-operated stops from 16’’ to 4’’, and a compass of five octaves, from F0 to F5. In more recent times instrument makers (Hubbard, Dowd) have created philologically exact replicas, with much more ‘open’ and less tinny sounds. The compass and timbre of such instruments may vary considerable, depending on the geographic and historical origins of the instrument copied. French harpsichords (compass F0 - F5) are generally mounted with plectrums that produce a sweeter tone, while Italian ones (compass G0 - D5) have a stronger, harder, more metallic sound. As already mentioned, the technical possibilities are analogous to those of any keyboard instrument, but it must be remembered that the achievable sound volume (dynamics) is linked to the number of keys pressed at any given time, and not to the force applied to the keys. On the whole, the volume is more limited than that of even an upright piano, but there are some combinations of stops which yield interesting timbres (for example, the slightly muffled stop which is generally called liuto, and which almost all modern harpsichords are equipped with; or the combination of 8’’ – 4’’ which produces sounds at a distance of an octave). If the instrument is complete with two manuals, the upper one produces a more feeble, nasal tone, whilst the lower one produces a fuller sonority. LUTES: These instruments are not widely used in contemporary composition, due to their highly evocative sound, which is quite feeble when compared with that of a classic guitar. One should remember that all of the strings, or courses, are doubled either at the same pitch or at the octave, except the first (or the first two in the case of the Baroque lute). If one is not familiar with the instrument it may resemble a clumsily played guitar (for example, if it is ‘pushed’ too much into the uppermost register). It is therefore advisable to make use of the sweetness and beauty of its tone in the lower and middle registers (for the Renaissance lute in G: G1 - C4), where the right-hand technique, which differs greatly from that of the guitar, is able to bring out impressive nuances in timbre and tone. The so-called ‘Renaissance tuning’ in G is the most frequently used: G3 - D3 D3 - A2 A2 - F2 F2 - C2 C2 - G1 G2. To these strings may be added one or two further courses, with octave doubling, in the bass register: F1F2 and D1 D2 or C1 C2. The instrument has 12 frets, allowing the pitch of the open strings to be
raised by up to an octave by the left hand. Due to tuning problems and technical difficulties the uppermost register should be used with caution (the last 3 â€“ 4 frets are in fixed position and are already on the soundboard). Unlike the guitar, the fret board consists of a series of loops of gut that are tied around the neck, and are thus adjustable, allowing for micro-variations of tuning. The THEORBO or ARCHLUTE is a large, low-pitched lute that appeared during the final decades of the 16th century and was in use until the mid-18th century. The tuning is reentrant in A (though the lowest course is G), generally with single strings. There are 8 extra bass strings (bordoni) which are held in place with a neck-extension and whose pitch cannot be altered by the left hand (these basses must therefore be tuned as desired before performance). The most frequent tuning is: A2 - E2 - B2 - G2 - D2 - A1 - G1 - F1 - E1 - D1 - C1 - B0 - A0 - G0. As can be seen, the first courses are tuned an octave below the corresponding courses on the lute. This allows a characteristic effect known as campanelas to be obtained in scales and arpeggios on contemporarily resonant notes, which is well suited to modern compositions. On the whole, its sonority is greater than that of the Renaissance lute, coming closer in timbre to a classic guitar with very lowpitched strings. In its French and German Baroque variants, the lute resembles a small theorbo, and has respectively 11 and 13 octave-doubling courses, with the first two courses single strings. The tuning of the first six courses is a D minor chord (F3 - D3 - A2 - F2 - D2 - A1), while the remaining five or seven octavedoubling courses are, just as on the theorbo, tuned to a descending diatonic scale, and may be adapted to the desired tonality. The Baroque variety of lute, like the theorbo, can give rise to campanelas effects and has a stronger sonority than the Renaissance lute, but weaker than that of the theorbo. Composing for Baroque lutes implies being highly familiar with the instrument. As the D minor chord inherent in its tuning demonstrates, this lute was created to play exclusively tonal music, and therefore is less adaptable to other types of musical language than its Renaissance ancestor, whose guitar-like tuning makes it more suitable. Generally, lute players are used to playing from scores written on a grand-staff without transposition, though some prefer to read directly from early tablature, which provides the exact position of the fingers on the fret-board, and which is therefore very useful for writing effects like campanelas. In any case, every lute player is able to transcribe parts written in normal notation into the tablature style of his or her own preference. OUD: This instrument is the Arab lute, and is the instrument from which the European lute directly descends. It is used throughout the Mediterranean basis and the Middle East (the most important schools are to be found in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon). Its timbre is colorful and â€˜ethnicâ€™, and for this reason is the source of both appeal and limitations in composition, as it immediately evokes a Middle-Eastern mood. The sound is obtained by plucking with a long plectrum (mizrap in Turkish and rishi in Arab) which makes possible a more powerful sound-emission than that of the Western lute, especially when
the technique of tremolo is applied, which all Oud players are familiar with. It is interesting to note that the neck of the instrument is unfretted, like a Western string instrument. This fact may be used in composition to obtain glissandos and microtonal intervals. Indeed, in Arabian musical modes, or maqqamat, quartertones are a frequent occurrence. The most frequent tuning systems are the Arabic (C3 - G2 - D2 - A1 - G1 - D1 or C0) and the Turkish (one tone above the Arabic tuning). The courses are all double-strings at the unison, except for the lowestpitched string (bam) which is a single string and is used only as a bordone. Composer-performers like the New York-based Palestinian Shimon Shaheen have experimented with various forms of fusion between ethnic music of Arabic origins and Jazz or ‘classical’ Western styles. RECORDERS: These instruments are frequently used in contemporary compositions. Just like the harpsichord, recorders may be played with a wide range of non-traditional techniques (flutter-tongue; singing; clicks and snaps and various sounds produced by the mouth and by the fingers on the holes; positions that produce microtonal intervals and multiple tones; and pitch alterations obtained by regulating the force with which air is blown into the instrument, a technique which, vice versa, does not produce appreciable dynamic variation). Recorders are a family: the sopranino in F (compass: F 4 - F6), descant in C (C4 C6), treble in F (F3 - F5), tenor in C (C3 - C5), bass in F (F2 - F4). The most frequently used are the descant and the treble. Frequently scores for these two members of the recorder family are written an octave below the actual pitch. VIOL: Essentially it is a lute played with a bow, in so far as it is tuned with identical interval spaces and the frets are loops of gut tied around the neck. The latter characteristic means that the possibility to produce microtonal intervals in the mid to low registers by moving the fingers on the fret board is greatly reduced, but it is possible (just as in the case of the lute) to produce nontempered intervals by adjusting the position of each fret. The tone is more similar to that of a contrabass, which is effectively a direct descendent of the viol, than to the instruments of the violin family (violin, viola and violoncello). It is sweet, not powerful and a little nasal. The most interesting aspect of this instrument is its ability to produce broader and more resonant chords (jeu d’harmonie) than those of ‘normal’ string instruments, thanks to the frets. Also as a result of the frets, pizzicato technique produces stronger and longer lasting tones. Viols constitute an instrumental family, ranging from the high-pitched treble to the contrabass. The most widely used is the bass (tuning: D3 - A2 - E2 - C2 - G1 - D1 A0). Skillful players are able to play an octave above the pitch of the open string. Normally, frets do not extend beyond the interval of a fifth above the open string, above which the sound tends to become a little strident and intonation is at times precarious. It is therefore wise to extend the instrument into its uppermost range with caution, unless writing for a player of great ability. Various bow strokes exist (we do not have space in this context to describe them all). One should bear in mind that the bow is held underhand, so the normal distribution of the strokes
is inverted by comparison with modern string instruments (pulse, or the point of the bow, is more robust sounding, while tire, or the heel of the bow, is weaker). Harmonics are possible. STRINGS: Violins, violas and violoncellos mounted after the ‘Baroque’ fashion (gut strings and pointed bow) are not very different to their modern equivalents, but a few meaningful differences should be born in mind. The sound is weaker, but in compensation a ‘historically accurate’ player tends to pull the bow less through its entire length, in favor of a circular movement which facilitates the uplifting and re-application of the bow. In general the uppermost ranges of the compass are best avoided in ‘early’ string instruments (ancient music tends to explore this register only rarely), as a result of the gut strings, which may create problems in high tessituras, such as poor intonation and wolf-tones. The tuning is identical to that of the equivalent modern instruments. Harmonics and pizzicato are possible, while the use of avant-garde articulations and techniques is clearly useless, since modern instruments exist that are better suited to such ends. WOODWINDS: The sound of the double-reed is at times less graceful in early instruments than it is in their modern equivalents; the timbre may vary greatly when passing from one register to another. BOMBARDS, strong-sounding instruments that are used exclusively in open air contexts, are particularly affected by this problem. CRUMHORNS, capped-reed instruments, are interesting but rather brutal: their scratchy tone is well suited to special effects or comic effects. The wooden flute has a very sweet sound, and is less ‘cutting’ than modern flutes, but extremely feeble. The CHALUMEAU, ancestor of the modern clarinet, was the only single-reed instrument known to early music. It is rare, but it’s sonority is singularly beautiful. The CORNETT, a wooden trumpet with a sweet, almost human timbre, is worthy of special mention. Today it has been completely forgotten, and yet it is capable of producing magnificent tones, as agile as a recorder and as powerful as a brass instrument (compass: A3 - D6). This instrument requires a high level of specific technical training. BRASS INSTRUMENTS: The structure of early brass instruments is very light, and their sound is clearer and more delicate than that of their modern counterparts. None of these instruments features cylinders nor valves, and so only the natural harmonics of the tube are possible, which are obtained through changing lip tension alone. The horns have a fuller, more veiled and less precise sound than the modern version of the instrument, and their tone is fascinating. The trumpets have a brilliant sonority, and make use above all of the upper register (clarini), due to the fact that the harmonic series permits the playing of scales only in this tessitura. The trombones use slides, and are similar to their modern descendants but have a clearer and more delicate tone.
(Translated by Ivan Fowler)
FESTIVAL 2010 - PROGRAM
14 July, 2010 18,30 Press Conference 19,00 Concert Premier performances of pieces written for E110 Electric Collective Luigi Maiello, The End of Oil Florie Namir, Viaggio in Due Note Matt Bouchard, Spinning Plates Girolamo Deraco, B612 Steven Gutheinz, Pas Menus Silvia Mangiarotti, electric violin; Marta Fornasari, electric cello, Matteo Cidda, live elettronics. 15 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: JEREMY VAUGHAN 11,00-12,30 Lecture 1. MARIO GARUTI: Energy and Music 16 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: JENNY BECK, BRIAN MARK 11,00-12,30 Lecture 2. CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS: Symphony (2009) 19 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: MARK ANDREW BULLER, SAMUEL BAYEFSKY 11,00-12,30 Lecture 3. CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS: Non-Western elements as sources for Western music 20 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: MICAH LEVI, ELIZABETH KENNEDY BAYER 11,00-12,30 Lecture 4. UGO NASTRUCCI: Early Instruments in Contemporary Art Music 20,30 Concert Eugene Astapov, Lenten Music for guitar Rudolf Kelterborn, Fünf Monologue for guitar Ugo Nastrucci, Le forme dell’acqua for guitar
Brian Mark, Flow for two guitars Reginald Smith Brindle, El Polifemo de Oro for guitar Samuel Bayefsky, Phthisis (of the lungs) for flute Brian Mark, La Voix du Dauphin for flute Charles Koechlin, Les Chants de Nectaire for flute Stephen Bachicha, Red Stilettos for flute Stefano Bovino, Daniel Seminara, Flavio Virzì – guitars; Ashley Bingaman – flute 21 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: MACKENZIE COPP, EUGENE ASTAPOV 11,00-12,30 Lecture 5. GIOVANNI ALBINI: Music and mathematics 20,30 Concert Jenny Beck, Piece for Unaccompained Cello Greg Weisbrod, Duality for cello Samuel Bayefsky, Samsa for string quartet Mackenzie Copp, The Retaliation of the Defenestrated for guitar and string quartet René Ertomaa, Haiku 1: Tippuu painava for countertenor, guitar and string quartet Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer, Saint Quarrelsome for electric guitar and string quartet Micah Levy, Twelve meets three for flute and string quartet Jeremy Vaughan, Theme, Variations, and Chorale for flute and string quartet Jacopo Bigi, Georgia Privitera violini, Paolo Fumagalli – viola, Andrea Favalessa, Julius Tedaldi – cellos, René Ertomaa – countertenor, Stefano Bovino, Daniel Seminara, Flavio Vrizì – guitars 22 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: GREG WEISBROD, STEVEN BACHICHA, 11,00-12,30 Lecture 6. PAUL MORAVEC: The Blizzard Voices 20,30 Concert Mark Andrew Buller, Canticle for cello solo Paul Moravec, Atmosfera a villa Aurelia Christopher Theofanidis, Peace love light from Visions and Miracles Giovanni Albini, Solo per grado congiunto
Jenny Beck, To Keep It Mark Andrew Buller, Aria from the Second String Quartet Jacopo Bigi, Georgia Privitera – violins, Paolo Fumagalli – viola, Andrea Favalessa – cello 23 July, 2010 9,00-10,45 Composition colloquium: RENÉ ERTOMAA 11,00-12,30 Lecture 7. PAUL MORAVEC: The vernacular in music 20,30 Concert (solo recital) Tristan Murail, Tellur Giovanni Damiani, Quanto vivi spendi! Tristan Murail, Vampyr! Luciano Berio, Sequenza XI Jacob Ter Vedhudis, Grab It! Flavio Virzì – guitar 24 July, 2010 10,30 Countryside tour with lunch. 18,00 Concert (solo recital) Anton Stamitz, Eight Capricen for flute: III and VIII Marin Marais Les Folies d'Espagne for flute Rudolf Kelterborn, Fünf Monologue for guitar Samuel Bayefsky, Phthisis (of the lungs) for flute Pierre Octave Ferroud, Trois pieces pour flute Brian Mark, La Voix du Dauphin for flute C.P.E. Bach, Sonata il La minore: I. Poco adagio, for flute Charles Koechlin, Les Chants de Nectaire for flute Friedrich Kuhlau, Divertissment No.1 for flute Stephen Bachicha, Red Stilettos for flute Ashley Bingaman – flute
FESTIVAL 2010 - PEOPLE
Executive Producer: Artistic Director: US Coordinator: Production Assistant:
Paolo Fosso Giovanni Albini Stephen Bachicha Maria Grazia Montagnari
Faculty guest of honor: Paul Moravec Composition faculty:
Christopher Theofanidis (chair) Giovanni Albini Mario Garuti Ugo Nastrucci
Maurizio Grandinetti (guitar) Jacopo Bigi (violin) Paolo Fumagalli (viola) Andrea Favalessa (cello)
Musicologist in residence: Ingrid Pustijanac
Eugene Astapov Samuel Bayefsky Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer Jenny Beck (highSCORE Prize 2010 winner) Mark Andrew Buller Mackenzie Copp RenĂŠ Ertomaa Micah Levy Brian Mark Jeremy Vaughan Greg Weisbrod
Ashley Bingaman (flute) Stefano Bovino (guitar) Daniel Seminara (guitar) Julius Tedaldi (cello) Flavio VirzĂ (guitar)
Matteo Cidda (live electronics) Marta Fornasari (electric cello) Silvia Mangiarotti (electric violin)
Published on Mar 10, 2011
The highSCORE Proceedings consist of a collection of comments made by the participants of the Festival, interviews with the protagonists, an...