Sunday 25 September at 8:00 p.m.
Teatro alle Tese
Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988) Ohoi – I principi creativi for 16 strings (1966, 7’)
Kent Olofsson (1962) Collagène for contralto guitar, glissentar and orchestra (2006/2011, 15’) world premiere
Pasquale Corrado (1979) Inciso for orchestra (2011, 10’) world premiere
Aldo Clementi (1925-2011) Concerto per pianoforte, 24 strumenti e carillons (1975)
Vittorio Zago (1967) Segel for symphonic orchestra (2007/2011, 17’) world premiere
guitar Stefan Östersjö
conductor Andrea Pestalozza
Now a constant presence at the Music Festival, the Mitteleuropa Orchestra is conducted by Andrea Pestalozza, one of the most active contemporary music performers. The concert in Venice offers pages of new music – by Kent Olofsson from Swedenand Vittorio Zagoand Pasquale Corrado from Italy – alternating with pages by two authors who are radically different but equally representative of the music of the short century, Aldo Clementi and Giacinto Scelsi.
In Collagène, Olofsson rethinks and expands one of his more recent compositions, introducing a new rather unusual set of instruments, as is often the case with this artist whose roots sink into progressive rock music (in 1978 he founded his band Opus Est), which he cultivated in parallel with his studies in composition, balanced between acoustics and electronics.
The first version was written in 2006, as part two of a triptych for guitar and orchestra entitled Corde. Not only were the opening and closing parts of the piece extended, in the new version, written specifically for the Biennale, the orchestra itself is expanded, adding new winds and brass and introducing a clarinet, an oboe and a trombone. Three other string instruments have been added to the solo part: a glissentar, which is a fretless guitar with 11 strings, a sort of hybrid between the Arab oud and the electric guitar; a contralto guitar with 11 strings, that technically reproduces the sounds of the Baroque archlute, and a 5-string banjo. Critic Tony Lundman has written: “The titles and themes of his compositions traverse the wide expanses of Oriental music and the music of Antiquity. The relative technical complexity is often parried with a surprising immediacy born of his confident ear for acoustic texture and for the purely human experience of tonal transmutation. This "psychoacoustic" sensitivity lends his music, without compromise, the ability to get intimately close to the listener.” Collagène is dedicated to Ligeti, who passed away while Olofsson was working on the orchestral score, and is inspired by the symphonic music of the great Hungarian composer.
The Concerto per pianoforte, 24 strumenti e carillons expresses the originality of Aldo Clementi’s writing; a fundamental figure in international music, the Music Biennale pays due tribute to this Sicilian composer, who was often a guest, and just recently passed away. Since the Sixties, Clementi followed the informal direction, moving towards music made of continuous sound blocks that eliminate contrast and the development in time, in favour of a sort of immobility. Hence the score of the Concerto rotates around “33 beats that the author instructs to repeat at least 14 times adopting different stratifications and combinations of the sound material for the strings, the winds, the piano and the carillons. The author himself suggests a plan for the stratification, but leaves the conductor free to choose otherwise warning however that “identical combinations should never be close to one another’. And this outline makes it clear that the variation of the mixtures is not intended as the ‘development’ of a discourse” (from the programme notes).
The encounter of a near-sighted boy with his imagination, which can transform reality and look at it with renewed awe, is the opportunity for this sort of rêverie which thirtytwo-year-old composer Pasquale Corrado starts off on a musical figure, created by the notes C and B, to irradiate all the possible variations, and recreate new situations that are different each time. “The narrative structure of Inciso – writes the composer – is divided into different movements and rhythmic sequences, describing the extraordinary complexity of innocence, which, faced with the undetermined nature of the world, becomes the only element, and the strongest, on which to de/construct reality. Then, as the notes overlap, the synchronic aspect prevails over the diachronic, the harmonic aspect over the melodic. A cruel and ambiguous spectator thus appears in the distance: Illusion, the mask of the unconscious, the constructive and destructive force of logic that can transform man into a vulnerable being. But even Illusion, when faced with the enchantment of a child playing, can do no more than watch and wait patiently”.
A highly original musician and thinker, poet and painter, Giacinto Scelsi has been a cult figure for years, but today his music has prevailed over the mystery and controversy, and captured growing attention as the number of its performances has grown and reached a much wider public, ever since Scorsese used two of his most famous pieces for his latest film, Shutter Island. The piece on the programme, Ohoi – I principi creativi, is an example of the pioneering adventure that this author embarked on in 1961 with Quattro pezzi su una nota sola, an adventure that would lead Scelsi to be defined as the creator of sounds “that come from the future”, as discussed by Quirino Principe in his introductory essay to Il sogno 101, Scelsi’s autobiography, reprinted last year after years of oblivion.
The “act of recapitulation” underlies Segel (Sails), the piece presented by Vittorio Zago in a re-written version for the Music Biennale, a gesture which involves “borrowing from many diverse and scattered sources”, shards, fragments of his own and other scores, which Zago assembles and transfigures into a new and original form. Thus, in the final part, “in a dense re-appearance of shreds (the most centrifugal section of the score, yet the most controlled), a final texture bursts in, provided by the initial verticality of the fifth movement of Berio’s Sinfonia (a movement that ‘recapitulates’ the four earlier movements) and from a compendium of the earlier ones. The epiphanies of this chord lead to the entire two first beats of the movement itself; as if to initiate, at the end of the piece, a motion of recapitulation that belongs to a different creation. It proves to be no more than a short-circuit of recapitulations, that deflates in Segel’s opening chords; sails that deflate and are incapable of navigating across a tempestuous sea, full of danger (the many crazed splinters); no longer capable of even wondering … who… …has… …tamed… …what…” (V.Zago). Composed in 2006, following the Brandenburger Symphony Prize that Zago won that same year, Segel will be presented in a new version written specifically for the Venice Music Biennale.
Kent Olofsson (Karlskrona – Sweden, 1962). He studied composition at the Music Academy of Malmö 1984-1991 with Rolf Martinsson, Hans Gefors, Bo Rydberg, Bent Sørensen, Trevor Wishart, Anders Hillborg, Anders Nordentoft. He also studied conducting, musical theory and acoustic engineering. His production includes over 125 works including symphonic, chamber and electro-acoustic music, musical theatre, music for Baroque instruments, as well as alternative rock, for choreographies and installations. Over the past few years he has collaborated regularly with the Swedish theatre company Teatr Weimar, which whom he has developed a series of works of “sound theatre”. One of the most successful of them is Hamlet II: Exit Ghost for actors, live electronics and video. Teatr Weimar organizes a series of experimental projects between music and theatre with the contemporary music group Ensemble Ars Nova SONAT. Olofsson’s music has been performed by famous ensembles and orchestras - Ensemble Recherche, Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Coro della Radio Svizzera, Klangforum Wien – and has been directed by Lothar Zagrosek, Gustavo Dudamel, Mario Venzago, Franck Ollu.
A guitarist himself – he began his career in a progressive rock group, Opus Est, between the late Seventies and early Eighties, before beginning his studies in composition at Malmö - the guitar has taken on a central role in many of his works. One example is Il Liuto d'Orfeo for guitar and tape, which won first prize at the 1999 International Competition for Electro-acoustic Music in Bourges, France. Written for guitarist Stefan Östersjö, for whom he also composed Corde for guitar and orchestra: the first part, Fascia, won third prize at the Musica Viva/MBW Composition Competition in Munich in 2004, and the entire concerto won the Christ Johnson Grand Prize for Composition in Stockholm in 2009. In 2010, Aether for choir and orchestra was performed in Madrid as one of the finalists in the XVII Premio Reina Sofìa de Composición musical.
Pasquale Corrado (Melfi – Italy, 1979). Between 2003 and 2008 he earned his diploma in piano, choral music and choral conducting, composition (under the direction of Alessandro Solbiati), conducting (under the direction of Daniele Agiman). He also earned a diploma of merit with honourable mention at the International Course for Higher Studies in Music for Film. He continued his studies in composition with Ivan Fedele at the Accademia Santa Cecilia and attended the two-year course in composition at the Conservatory in Milan with Alessandro Solbiati. Since September 2010, he has been attending the Cursus 1 at the IRCAM in Paris. He has also followed master classes with Luís De Pablo, Stefano Gervasoni, Luca Francesconi, Hanspeter Kyburz, Tristan Murail, Beat Furrer, Fredèric Durieux, Helmut Lachenmann, Azio Corghi.
As a composer, his works have been performed in festivals and concert seasons such as: the Biennale di Venezia 2008; Festival Koinè; Rondò Divertimento Ensemble; Unione Musicale in Turin; MiTo; Festival Acanthes, Metz; Fondazione Spinola-Banna per l’Arte (Quintetto Bibiena); Viagens pelo som e pela imagem – 2010 (Lisbon); Orchestra d’Ereprijis Festival; Festival Musica Nuova (Orchestra Sinfonica Umberto Giordano). He was selected to participate in the Young Composers Meeting Forum 2009, chaired by Louis Andriessen. Winner in 2007 of the competition for orchestral composition at the Conservatory in Milan, he orchestrated the melodies drawn from the Opera del mendicante by John Gay directed by Filippo Crivelli. He composed the music for the film Emil und die Detektiv by Gherard Lamprecht.
He has conducted and arranged the music for several RAI television programs, collaborating with many national and international pop singers. In 2007 he won the Rotary Club prize for conducting. Since January 2010 his work has been published by Suvini-Zerboni Milan.
Vittorio Zago (Vigevano – Italy, 1967). He graduated with a diploma in piano in 1989, he studied composition with F. Pigato and B. Bettinelli and earned his diploma at the Conservatory in Milan under the guidance of Azio Corghi. He later trained at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Mauricio Kagel. In 1994 he won first prize at the 16th Castello di Belveglio Composition Competition (Chiù for contralto and two sopranos) and first prize in the special edition of the Goffredo Petrassi Composition Competition in Parma (Taibhsì for harp, viola and flute). With Paolo Ferrari, with whom he has collaborated in composing several pieces, he won the Premio Città di Pavia (In-abstracto complexu: (l’)attività della musica) in 1999, and in 2005 the Premio Alice Bel Colle (In-divenire ulteriore).
His music has been performed at musical institutions and by prestigious orchestras - Società del Quartetto di Milano, Teatro Regio di Parma, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Comunale di Modena, Orchestra Milano Classica, Orchestra Cantelli, Bachzaal of Amsterdam, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Festival Pianissimo 2000 in Sofia, Time of Music Festival at Viitasaari, Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, Tokyo Opera – and has been recorded by Swiss recording company Audio Production. In 2004 he published Le giornate di un compositore (Ed. “O barra O”) in which the author concentrates on the relationship between the essence of musical discourse and the existence it derives from.
He teaches composition at the G.Puccini Conservatory of Music in La Spezia. He has a law degree from the Università Cattolica in Milan. His music has been published by Ricordi (Milan), Rugginenti (Milan) and Bèrben (Ancona).