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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Music EN (new)


Mitteleuropa Orchestra

Monday 27 September at 6:00 p.m.
Teatro alle Tese - Arsenale
conductor Andrea Pestalozza

Francesca Verunelli
(1979) En Mouvement (Espace Double) for orchestra (2009, 8’) Italian premiere
Silvia Colasanti (1975) Cede pietati, dolor (Le anime di Medea) for orchestra (2007, 12’)
Emanuele Casale (1974) Buongiorno stanza audace (2010, 10’) commission from La Biennale di Venezia, world premiere
Francesco Antonioni (1971) Gli occhi che si fermano for orchestra (2009, 8’)
Niccolò Castiglioni (1932-1996) Inverno in-ver eleven musical poems for small orchestra, (1973 – rev. 1978, 22’)
The Mitteleuropa Orchestra widens the horizons of collaborations that the Biennale di Venezia has engaged in the area: last year it joined the historic partners of the Festival of Contemporary Music, the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and the Orchestra dell’Arena di Verona. Recently constituted, the Mitteleuropa Orchestra has an intense schedule whose purpose is to highlight the artistic and musical legacy of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and the adjacent regions – such as Carinthia, Slovenia, Veneto – working with institutions in the region and abroad. The podium of this orchestra has hosted conductors such as D. Renzetti, G.G. Rath, G. Pehlivanian, M. Hamel, E. Rojatti, G. Schmoehe, B. Kocsár, R. Gessi, Y. Sugiyama, Lü Jia, P. Rophè, A. Lonquich and P. Guth.
With conductor Andrea Pestalozza, founder of one of the most active ensembles in contemporary music, United Berlin, the Venetian concert offers pages of new music made in Italy, composed by authors between the ages of 30 and 40: Francesca Verunelli, the composer of En Mouvement, Silvia Colasanti, with Cede pietati, dolor (le anime di Medea), Emanuele Casale, to whom La Biennale has commissioned the work Buongiorno stanza audace and Francesco Antonioni, who wrote Gli occhi che si fermano.
In this array of pieces, one work stands out: written by Niccolò Castiglioni, Inverno in-ver is one of the most representative pieces of the musical evolution of this retiring composer, who coherently pursues a post-Webernian poetic. It consists in eleven musical poems, translated into small free forms, in which his “poetics of purity and luminosity” (Roberta Milanaccio) shine brightly. “what he expresses of winter – writes Castiglioni – is above all the sense of melancholy. In the music there is a sort of abandonment to sentiment, a sort of expressive striving that here and there contains stylemes that would be trite in and of themselves, were it not that here they are almost justified as a melancholy context for a nostalgically old-fashioned style of the single winter “pictures”. The essence of these ‘poems’ is probably the following: abandoning the sense of melancholy”.
Thirty-year old Francesca Verunelli in En Mouvement (Espace Double) alludes to the “double significance of movement and space that characterize writing: the movement is that of the body that moves through a space to gather a concrete experience of it and, at the same time, it is interior energy (pulsation) that stretches the points of the explored space. And therefore – in the case of a sound space – this means that height/interior energy/pulsation are indissoluble elements, but also that the ‘history’ of sound objects is caused by the movement of perception and the memory that remains of it; exactly as if we entered a room we have never seen blindfolded and took conscience of it simply with the story our touch gives of it”.
Inspired by the tragic story of Medea, Silvia Colasanti dwells on the profound interior conflict that shakes the heart of a woman in love and betrayed: “anger puts love to flight and love anger” wrote Seneca. “Before great tempests, reason shipwrecks – writes Colasanti; it turns over into passion, into furor, into lucid delirium, which makes one vacillate between desire and the fear of understanding the causes and solutions for one’s own personal conflicts. The orchestra reproduces the dramaturgy of reason that tears itself apart, the battle between opposite tensions that before resolving into furor, are blocked in a momentary inhibition of the will: when Medea oscillates between her function as a wife and her function as a mother. The protagonist is led, on the one hand, to take horrible revenge on the disloyal husband by taking it out on what is most dear to her: her children. On the other hand, as a mother, she wants to save her own children. In this drama between reason and destructive passion, Medea finally puts an end to the unresolved questions of her spirit by letting hate prevail over pietas”.
Composed upon commission from the Festival, Buongiorno stanza audace, by thirty-six year old Sicilian composer Emanuele Casale, “unfurls, largely, along very slow movements and halos of sound”. In this work, continues the author, as in others I have composed in the past, I try to put aside certain ‘fears’ that have always accompanied part of my musical education: the fear of consonance, of repetition, of ‘explicit’ sound figures from an aesthetic point of view… I follow the resonance, the sense of distance, the delicate flow of slow tangles”.
Not yet forty, but frequently performed in Italy and abroad, Francesco Antonioni is the author of a kind of music that seeks a synthesis between various contemporary artistic trends within forms derived from the classical tradition. The idea for the piece he presents at the Biennale, Gli occhi che si fermano, came after he read the novel Il tuo volto domain by Javier Marìas, of which the title is a quotation, and a consideration on the ambiguity that every statement about the future carries within it. Antonioni suggests that the novel could complete the title with this question: “How can today I not know your face tomorrow?” Antonioni believes that the ambiguities of the text are transferred to the formal plane and determine the tension of the piece, for example: “The formal play at the origin of the piece consists in giving increased focus to a sound image, until it breaks apart, to see, like in a blow-up of a digital photo, the white spaces that separate the tiny dots that constitute the image, and then return to an overall vision… The first ambiguity, therefore, consists in overlaying, in the orchestra, sounds that are kept long and sounds that are repeated. Thanks to the diversity of volume and levels of sonority, the two sonic entities should appear as a divided yet indivisible dyad at the same time, two sound perspectives of the same object that dialectically refer to one another: the long sounds grow shorter with the interpolation of silences that distance the repercussions of the sound from one another, until they become very short; the short sounds come closer and closer to one another until they almost efface the silence that separates one from the other, tending, in the infinite to become long sounds…” (F.Antonioni).
Francesca Verunelli (Pietrasanta – Italy, 1979) – She studied composition with Rosario Mirigliano and piano at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini of Florence, earning two diplomas with the highest grades. In 2004 and 2005 she attended summer school at the Accademia Chigiana, where her music was performed and received the Emma Conestabile scholarship. In 2005 she was admitted to Azio Corghi’s specialization course at the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, where she earned her diploma in June 2007. In November of the same year the Freon Ensemble performed her work Luminal at the Auditorium in Rome. She participated in the 2007 edition of the Centre Acanthes de Metz; her work En Mouvement (Espace Double) was performed at the Arsenal by the Orchestre National de la Lorraine conducted by Jacquest Mercier. The same year she was selected for a record publication of the competition organized by CEMAT for electro-acoustic works. In 2008 she was selected to participated in the international Forum of the Aleph Ensemble, and created RSVP. The same year she followed the Cursus in composition and computer music at IRCAM which ended with the creation of Interno rosso con figure for accordion and electronics and she received a commission for a composition for an orchestra of cellos written for the Nomos Ensemble, which performed it in March 2010. In 2009 she was chosen to attend the second year of the Cursus at IRCAM, where she wrote a work for the Ensemble Intercontemporain which will be performed in October 2010 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. She has received commissions from the KDM Ensemble and Accroche Note.
Silvia Colasanti (Rome – Italy, 1975) – She earned her diploma in piano with Di Bella and in composition with Chiti at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome, where she studied the History and Aesthetics of Music with Annibaldi. She attended master classes with Vacchi, Rihm and Dusapin (selected by Acanthes). In 2003 and 2004 she participated (winning the Diploma of Merit) in the Courses in Composition at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana held by Corghi, with whom she is specializing at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. She has won prizes in many national and international competitions, including “Zeitklang – International Composition competition Musikfabrik NÖ” (Vienna), “Lopes Graça” (Lisbon). Winner of the selection for “Tactus - Young Composers’ Forum 2006” – Brussels – Belgium. Radio Rai selected Silvia Colasanti to represent Italy at the International Rostrum of Composers. The Arditti Quartet, Massimo Quarta, Arturo Tamayo, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Daniel Kawka, Lior Shambadal are just some of the musicians for whom Silvia Colasanti has written her pieces. Her musical theatre works Orfeo. Flebile queritur lyra interpreted by Maddalena Crippa and L’angelo del Liponard. Un delirio amoroso interpreted by Sandro Lombari, and presented in Rome and Florence, will be performed in Italy and in Germany next season. Her works are published by Ricordi.
Emanuele Casale (Catania – Italy, 1974) – He studied double bass with Sebastiano Nicotra, composition with Eliodoro Sollima, electronic music with Alessandro Cipriani, earning his diploma at the Istituto Vincenzo Bellini in Catania. He attended specialization classes with Aldo Clementi, Salvatore Sciarrino, Giorgio Nottoli and Barry Truax. He has won many international composition competitions, including: first prize at the Irino Prize in Tokyo, at the Reading Panel in Paris (IRCAM–Ensemble Intercontemporain), at the Concours International de Musique Electroacustique in Bourges, (France), at the Grame del Centre National de Creation Musicale in Lyon, at the Tribuna Irem of the International Music Council of UNESCO (Copenhagen-Paris), the Premio Cemat in Rome and the selection for the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He has received commissions from the Teatro La Fenice in Venice (in 2003 when the theatre reopened after it was restored), the Frankfurt Opera House, the Ensemble Intercontemporain and La Biennale di Venezia. Many famous soloists, chamber and symphonic groups have played his music in concert programs in Europe, the United States, South America and the Far East. His works are published by Ricordi and Nuova Stradivarius.
Francesco Antonioni (Italy, 1971) – He has been taught by Raffaele Gervasio, Francesco Valdambrini, Edgar Alandia for composition and Pierluigi Camicia for piano. After earning his diplomas at the conservatory in both subjects, he continued his musical studies with Azio Corghi at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Winner of a scholarship (Queen Elisabeth the Queen Mother), he studied with Julian Anderson at the Royal College of Music in London. His works include: Chat-Opera, staged at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan and at the Piccolo Regio in Turin, presented by RAI at the Prix Italia 2003; Morphing for string quartet, commissioned by the Biennale di Venezia in 2001; Variazioni su una pop-song per flauto ed harmonizer, a composition that won the Francesco Pennisi Prize in 2001; Codice Ovvio, “a visual cantata” based on writings, drawings and projects by Bruno Munari, commissioned and performed by the Ensemble Modern at the Schauspielhaus in Frankfurt; Giga for large orchestra, commissioned by the Goethe Institut, by the Ernst von Siemens Stiftung and by the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and Demand me Nothing, a meditation on the figure of Yago, for orchestra. In January 2009, in Birmingham, he presented the world premiere of Ballata (dell’abbandono e della fortuna) for eight string soloists. He teaches composition at the Conservatory in Vibo Valentia. He is published by Ricordi.