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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Music EN (new)


Aura in Visibile.2

24 September > 1 October
Entrance to Cà Giustinian
Installation for the piano and exciters of vibration
by Luigi Ceccarelli
from the project Bianco Nero Piano Forte
“What does a piano do without a pianist?” – wonders Luigi Ceccarelli. “Does it wait, meditate, evoke, or just stand there? Does it miss man? Perhaps the absence of man is no more than the nostalgia he has of himself. Of sound, pitch, tone… The piano, thus raised to the level of protagonist, rather than being watched by us, observes us. Implacable, black, polished, tense. And even concretely laid down on its side, naked, to make its strings sing, stimulated by light electromechanical vibrations”.
Inspired by the project Bianco Nero Piano Forte, created with writer Mara Cantoni and photographers Roberto Masotti and Silvia Lelli, the new installation by Luigi Ceccareli, Aura in Visibile.2, puts a grand piano – rigorously without a pianist – at the centre of the space of reflection: stimulated by mechanical exciters designed by the composer and controlled by the computer, they reveal a new voice
Ceccarelli in fact considers the piano to be a perfect machine, but built to respond to the needs of nineteenth and early twentieth century compositions, when it was important to develop the mysterious harmonic and melodic relationships. By placing it at the centre of a space, alone, on its side and with the cover of the keyboard closed, Ceccarelli invalidates its traditional function, by “turning it off” – as he declares – but only to reinvent it. He continues: “The most perfect mechanical machine built for music is a group of strings stretched on a frame and ready to vibrate at the slightest touch of the hammers. A fusion of wood and metal that the harmonic table transforms into sound. The keyboard is the sophisticated mechanical interface that conveys the subtlest nuances in pressure from the fingers to the strings. The scientific theory apparently leaves no room for escape: the more complex a machine is, the more perfect in fulfilling its task, the harder it is to adapt to change. And so it inevitably grows old.
But that is not the case. The limit is not in the machine, it is in the mind of the user. At most it is not in the piano itself, but in the concept of keyboard, a rigid regulator of pitch that limits the sound to rigid melodies and tempered harmonies. An aseptic barrier that prevents physical contact between gesture and sound. Pianists have always played a box without knowing anything about its contents. In our time, music has freed the piano of its constraints: musicians have discovered that physical contact with the strings opens a whole new world of possible sounds, fascinating and very different from the earlier ones. To reinvent itself the piano has had to repudiate the keyboard that had been its fortune in the Classical and Romantic eras”.
The piano placed in this position in the Portego of Cà Giustinian, the headquarters of the Biennale, becomes a sound space in which the music will be generated live, but not in a traditional way, rather in a sequence of sinusoidal vibrations that pass from the computer to the mechanical vibrators, and from there to the strings of the piano.
Luigi Ceccarelli (Rimini – Italy, 1953) studied electronic music and composition at the Conservatory in Pesaro with Walter Branchi, Guido Baggiani and Giuliano Zosi, dedicating himself to musical composition with electroacoustic technologies. At the end of the Seventies he moved to Rome where he met Achille Perilli and Lucia Latour with whom he explored the relationship between music, visual arts and dance. Since then his work runs parallel in the fields of electro-acoustic music and musical theatre, understood in its most disparate forms; he also writes for film and television.
His international acknowledgments include: in 2005 the OPUS prize from the Conseil Québécois de la Musique (Canada), the Euphonie d'Or in 2004 at the IMEB Competition in Bourges; in 2002 the UBU Award (prize awarded by the Italian performing arts critics, awarded for the first time ever to a musician); the Special Jury Prize at the MESS Festival of Sarajevo and the prize at the BITEF Festival in Belgrade for the performance of the Requiem; in 1999 the Hear Prize of the Hungarian Radio-television in 1997 and 1998 the Honorary Mention at the Ars Elettronica competition in Linz (Austria).
He has created various works for the radio, including the radio-film La Guerra dei dischi based on a text by Stefano Benni, I viaggi in tasca to the words of Valerio Magrelli, and La commedia della vanità by Elias Canetti directed by Giorgio Pressburger, all produced by Rai Radio3.
Many of his works are for music theatre, including: L'isola di Alcina, a concerto for horn and romagnola voice, created in 2000 with the direction of Marco Martinelli and produced by the Ravenna Festival and by the Biennale di Venezia, and the Requiem, produced in 2001 with texts and direction by Fanny & Alexander, also for the Ravenna Festival.
In the field of dance, he has maintained, between 1978 and 1994, a historic collaboration with choreographer Lucia Latour, followed by collaborations with choreographers Francesco Scavetta and Robin Orlin.
His music has been performed in the most important international concert seasons, including: Redcat-Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Festival Inventionen (Berlin), Festival Europalia (Antwerp), Festival Rien à Voir (Montreàl), Teatro Coliseo (Buenos Aires), Festival LIM (Madrid), Conservatoire National De Lyon, Festival RomaEuropa, Festival Ars Musica (Brussels), Merkin Hall (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Royal Theatre (Copenhagen), Festival Musica (Strasbourg), Settembre Musica (Turin), Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Ultima Festival (Oslo), Milano Musica (Milan), Teatro la Fenice (Venice), and more.
Since 1979 he has held the electronic music chair at the Conservatory in Perugia. He is one of the founders of the workshop Edison Studio in Rome for the production of computer music with which he has produced several collective works, including the music for the silent films Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei (1913), Das Kabinet des Doktor Caligari (1919) and Inferno (1911), from the Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri, recently released in DVD by the Cineteca di Bologna.