la Biennale di Venezia
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Music


Extempore

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Sunday 26 September 6:00 p.m.
Teatro alle Tese – Arsenale
variable geometries
 
Like the labyrinth-opera Don Giovanni a Venezia and the triptych of experimental video-operas, Extempore also seeks to disrupt our perceptive habits and our way of enjoying music. In this case, the purpose is to stimulate listening by lines that intersect and demonstrate points of contact even in practices that are radically different. Extempore in fact describes, over the course of one evening and three concerts that succeed one another under the vaults of the sixteenth-century Tese by Sansovino, three different modes of composition: from radical improvisation, of which Evan Parker is a champion, accompanied by manipulators of laptops whose background is also in cultured music, to the interpretation, which like every interpretation is also “rewriting”, represented by the pianism of Ciro Longobardi, to the aleatoric music derived from John Cage, who revolutionized the western concept of writing, with 5 different composers involved in freely rewriting a piece that is exemplary in this sense, the Serenata per un satellite by Bruno Maderna.
 
PARKER / GUY / LOVENS + PRATI + FURT
saxophone, tenor and contralto Evan Parker
double bass Barry Guy
drums Paul Lovens
electronics Walter Prati 
electronics FURT (Richard Barrett / Paul Obermayer)
 
When talking about improvisation in jazz and in particular in free jazz, it is a subject whose boundaries are ill-defined and in continuous movement, just like the continuous movement of its protagonists, the bands, and even their record labels. This is a world ruled by the vitality of interaction, by the instantaneous communication between different musicians, by a creative anxiety that drives the search for new horizons. English saxophonist Evan Parker (1944) is one of the protagonists of that period of effervescence that was the Sixties in Great Britain: he brought the revolutionary force of free jazz and free improvisation to Europe, thanks to him the boundaries widened and making music became radical experimentation with sound, no compromises. Still one of the most innovative and impervious musicians around, always searching for new techniques, (Parker is famous for circular breathing, borrowed from popular practices, which produces an effect of never-ending sounds, but also for the multiplication of sounds with harmonics and high pitch), in recent years Parker has become fascinated with the capability of electronics to process, create, combine, and manipulate sounds in real time. Of the thousand and one groups with which Parker collaborates or which he created (Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Music Improvisation Company, Globe Unity Orchestra, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Brotherhood of Breaths, Louis Moholo/Evan Parker Quintet, Electro-Acustic Ensemble), his relationship with bassist Barry Guy (1947) and drummer Paul Lovens (1949) is one of the longest lasting. The trio of improvisers is joined by the electronic sound elaboration of Walter Prati, a composer and performer who works on the interaction between acoustic musical instruments and electronics, and by the duo Furt, a.k.a. Richard Barrett (1959) and Paul Obermayer (1964), both interested in the relationship between improvisation and composition, Barrett in particular, who studied composition with Peter Wiegold and chose to overcome the limitations created by instruments and work with the computer.
“This group of musicians – writes Evan Parker – makes it possible to extend the relationships we built during our work on Set for Lynn Margulis, commissioned by Musiktage Donaueschingen in 2003 and recorded for Psi records. The combination between live instrumental sounds and the real-time live electronic processing has always been at the centre of my approach to improvisation since the Music Improvisation Company and the duo with Paul Lytton. In this group I brought together musicians who are very familiar with each other’s work. My musical experiences with Barry Guy and percussionist Paul Lovens have been a milestone in my musical life. My more recent relationships with Walter Prati, Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer have lasted for several years now. Working together in different formations, including my ElectroAcustic Ensemble and Richard Barrett’s fORCH, creates an immediate understanding between us which is the basis for the best improvised music. The stage is ready for an explosive evening” (Evan Parker).
 
CIRO LONGOBARDI piano
Salvatore Sciarrino (1947)
Notturno n. 1 (1998, 4’)
Notturno n. 3 (id., 5’)
Notturno n. 4 (id., 5’)
Gabrio Taglietti (1955) Tre Fantasie (2009-10, 14’) world premiere
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Gaspard de la Nuit (1908, 22’)
 
A pianist who specialized with Alexander Lonquich and Bernhard Wambach, winner of the Kranischsteiner Muskipreis at the 37th edition of the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt, Ciro Longobardi takes the responsibility, in this marathon called Extempore, of illustrating the interpretative approach to composition, knowing full well that every interpretation can mean rewriting, especially in contemporary music, with scores that often call upon the performer directly to make choices and make his own contribution. To do so, Longobardi puts together a program that ranges from the Notturni by Sciarrino to the compositions of Gabrio Taglietti, who presents the world premiere performance of his Tre fantasie, and to the brilliant sensuality of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit.
 
“Notturno” is a recurring title in Sciarrino's production since his early years – he wrote 3 notturni brillanti in 1973 – and indicate a choice of poetics, of composition, as Sciarrino himself states “that is just barely perceptible, very close to silence and far too inclined to open up to the void of the mind”. Of the four Notturni composed in 1998, Longobardi chooses three.
“The first Notturno reveals a surprising technical invention: variable resonance. Pulsating bunches describe light curves. One hand only plays, while the other slips silently along the keyboard, but provokes a wake of vibration, constantly modifying the halo in which the music wanes. The form could recall that of a study, built on a single element. (…)
I have always been fascinated by those sounds that nobody produces, the ghostly creaking in the night. The Notturno n.3, composed and performed before the others, is dedicated to Nicolas Hodges, a performer for whom I feel boundless gratitude. This is an articulated landscape of time, where various moments of the same trajectory intersect. We still hear elements pulsate together, overlaid over their own fall.
The Notturno n.4 was dedicated to my friend Elio Marchiori for his birthday. The sequence of wavy elements, similar to living creatures whose existence is just a flash, that in a flash don the sound and then remove it.” (S.Sciarrino).
 
To compose for Tagliettiis the same as “an immersion into the depths of the acoustic subconscious”: when fragments float up out of memory, the reproduction of personal apparently insignificant memories – such as the song of a cricket or a door that slams shut in a certain childhood context – activates his musical thought. Composition therefore consists in “bringing back to light the shards of our personal memory, filtering out the debris that have made them unrecognizable or transformed them into something new. To offer them finally to the ritual of listening, to that game of mutual identification that allows us to recognize ourselves as brothers in the soundtrack of our dreams, to discover new dissonances, to stage the theatre of our acoustic fantasies. Where everything is then organized along a temporal path, in a sort of narration that shapes the period of listening according to principles of continuity and discontinuity, transformations and oppositions, accelerations and decelerations, digressions, trail signs and small labyrinths”.
Tre fantasie, subdivided into three tempos Il ritorno di Peer Gynt, Racconto d’inverno and Dal diario di una marionetta, suggests “an attitude for listening, whether by analogy or by contrast or diversion, borrowing in part from personal mythology, in part from the ‘places’ in our collective memory, asking to pay attention to a gesture, to a form, to a colour: a sudden memory bursting in, the white of the snow that turns into a blizzard, the wooden mechanical gestures of a haphazard fanfare” (G.Taglietti).
 
One of the most difficult pieces ever written for the piano, Gaspard de la nuit by Ravel was inspired by three poems – Ondine, Le Gibet, Scarbo - by Aloysius Bertrand, a writer beloved by Baudelaire and by the Surrealists. Actually, even the exotic title (Gaspard in Persian means “guard, treasurer”) under which Ravel gathers these three pieces is borrowed from the homonymous prose poem by Bertrand, the title it is actually known by and which would only be published posthumously.
Gaspard de la nuit is a virtuoso piece even for the most talented pianists, such and so many are the technical difficulties invented by Ravel. Ondine reproduces the “wavy” effect of the sounds on the keyboard, while Le Gibet repeats one chord 153 times, and Scarbo builds growing mayhem before closing softly.
 
Gabrio Taglietti (Cremona – Italy, 1955) – He began his studies in composition at the Conservatory of Parma with Franco Margola, pursuing them at the Conservatory in Milan with Davide Anzaghi and earning his degree in 1981 under Giacomo Manzoni. In 1978, he won his first important acknowledgment with the Le Rondini string quartet, the only Italian work that was selected for the 5th International Seminar for Composers in Boswil (Switzerland). Since then, his works have been performed in the most important festivals in Italy and abroad: including Venice (Opera Prima 1981), Montepulciano (Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte, 1983), Paris (Radio France, 1985), Rome (Nuova Consonanza, 1986), Zagabria (Biennale, 1990), Florence (Tempo Reale, 1998), and Holland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Japan. Some of his compositions have won awards and honourable mentions in various competitions, including the “Franco Evangelisti” (1987), “Guido d'Arezzo” (1989), “Mario Zafred” (1990), “Valentino Caracciolo” (1991). In 1995 Aria for violin and magnetic tape, was performed at the Ridotto of the Teatro alla Scala in a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Liberation. A graduate in piano under Maria Grazia Bertocchi, he has an intense concert schedule with several different chamber groups, in particular with the Gruppo Musica Insieme of Cremona. He is responsible for the rhythmic Italian version of H.W.Henze’s opera Das verratene Meer, performed at the Teatro alla Scala in 1991. Since 1997 he has taught composition at the Conservatory in Mantua. His most important compositions are published by Ricordi.