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RepertorioZero Electric String Quartet


Tuesday 27 September at 6:00 p.m.
Sala delle Colonne at Ca' Giustinian
REPERTORIOZERO ELECTRIC STRING QUARTET
 
Jean-François Laporte (1968) Soul Screams for electric string quartet (2011, 15’) world premiere
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) Violoncello from Orchester-Finalisten for cello and electronic music (1995/96, 3’23”)
Carlo Ciceri (1980) Cruda for electric string trio (2011, 7’) world premiere
Karlheinz Stockhausen Viola from Orchester-Finalisten for viola and electronic music (1996, 4’33”)
Andrea Agostini (1975) O-zone for electric cello solo (2003/11, 8’) world premiere
Karlheinz Stockhausen Violine from Orchester-Finalisten for violin and electronic music (1995/96, 3’20”)
Steve Reich (1936) Different Trains for electric string quartet and recorded tape (1988, 27’)
 
electric violin Franziska Shoetensack, Jacopo Bigi
electric viola Paolo Fumagalli
electric cello Giorgio Casati
sound direction Fabrizio Rosso
 
The recently-formed ensemble of musicians RepertorioZero is the winner of the Silver Lion 2011, instituted by the Biennale di Venezia last year and reserved for the younger generations. The ensemble from Milan must be given credit, reads the motivation, “for its innovative experimentation – in the way of working with music today - that seeks to reach beyond the experience of the traditional avant-gardes, taking on a repertory that has yet to acquire structure, and with the need to find solutions to the many variables that exist in contemporary music”. In the choice of the instruments, in the approach to sound and amplification, RepertorioZero borrows from musical experience that is not just in written form. At the centre of the experimentation by the components of RepertorioZero, based in Milan, lies the evolution of musical language based on the use of new lutherie, with a particular focus on electric lutherie, understood as the extension of traditional acoustic instruments towards a synthesis with technological devices, both analogical and digital, outside of any academic form.
 
In Venice the RepertorioZero ensemble will appear with an electric string quartet and sound director Fabrizio Rosso, a permanent collaborator, with a program that illustrates the development and potential of electronics applied to stringed instruments, alternating new performances with pieces that are established parts of the contemporary repertory. The world premiere performances include: the electric quartet written by Canadian composer Jean François Laporte (a piece commissioned by RepertorioZero and by the Conseil des arts du Canada); Cruda, an electronic string trio that young Italian composer Carlo Ciceri wrote expressly for RepertorioZero; O-zone for solo electric cello, written by Andrea Agostini in 2003 and retouched in 2011. There will be two historic landmark composers as well: Karlheinz Stockhausen, by whom three solo excerpts from Orchester-Finalisten will be performed, and Steve Reich, who will close the concert with Different Trains.
 
An atypical musician, Canadian Jean François Laporte is a craftsman who explores every single sound in its natural state, in addition to different objects and materials, thereby extending his area of investigation. In this experimentation, Laporte relies on instruments that he has conceived and built himself, actual “sound machines” for which he has written dedicated pieces, but which he also integrates sometimes with traditional musical instruments without creating any hierarchy. In 2002 his piece Tribal for an orchestra of invented instruments was proclaimed “creation of the year” for the Prix Opus (Quebec), and his Prana won first prize in the mixed music category at the 23rd International Electro-acoustic Music Competition dedicated to Luigi Russolo. Now at the Biennale for the first time, Laporte will present a new composition for electric string quartet, Soul Screams.
 
Separating the compositions of thirty-year old composers Carlo Ciceri and Andrea Agostini are three of the solos from Orchester-Finalisten by Stockhausen, the second scene of Mittwoch aus Licht, in turn part of the monumental cycle Licht. Composed between 1995 and 1996, the first performance of Orchester-Finalisten took place in June 1996 at the Carré Theatre of Amsterdam with the Asko Ensemble at the Holland Festival, which commissioned the work. The production portrays an audition for a position in an orchestra, with the participation of 11 instrumentalists for 11 solos, accompanied by concrete and electronic music projected spatially in an octophonic composition. Originally the competition took place with the instrumentalists “floating in the air” and a special image associated with each instrument and its solo. The cello is associated with an airport on the sea, the violin with an ornithological reserve, the viola with wild ducks in flight over a railroad station… Some, like Robin Maconie, have supplied suggestive readings of these pieces, interpreting the term “finalisten” in an anthropological and philosophical sense: he therefore sees in the cycle of solos an intent to imitate nature, and more precisely the world of insects.
 
Composed in 2003 and rewritten this year for the Music Biennale, O-zone is an opportunity for Andrea Agostini to reflect on what obsessions he would have developed and on the characteristics that he would progressively abandon. Obsessions like the “iteration and re-iteration of the elements, the contrast between extremely rapid movements and sudden arrests, a work on cyclicity and fragmentation and the dramaturgical recomposition of form”. And forgotten aspects such as “gestures laden with post-romantic reminiscences”, with an extroverted taste for the theatre”. (A.Agostini)
 
A famous piece, almost as famous as Music for 18 Musicians, but with a profound symbolic significance: as a Jew that destiny fated to be born in America, Reich evokes in Different Trains his journeys as a child between Los Angeles and New York, comparing them to the far more horrifying journeys forced upon other children of the same period in Europe. Divided into three movements – America: Before the War, Europe: During the War, After the War – the piece, written in 1988, marks Reich’s return to the use of tape recordings in which sounds, voices and noises interact with the writing that, on the contrary, rotates around them. “To make this sound manifesto Reich therefore assembled a variety of sources, in the blatant contrast between normalcy and tragedy: the voice of his governess who reminisces about those journeys on the train; the account of a bus driver who frequently drove that route; fragments of testimony of three Holocaust survivors; sounds of period trains. From the frequency and pitch of each single phrase he then created sequences reproduced and developed by the strings according to diversified metric modules. In this context, the interaction between the strings and the electronic track produces a real sound unity with a driving progression and an impact that is often chilling”
(Enzo Boddi).
 
Carlo Ciceri (La Spezia – Italy, 1980). After earning his diploma in piano, he obtained his Master in ensemble conducting (under G. Bernasconi) and in composition (with N.Vassena and G. Verrando) at the Conservatory in Lugano. He graduated in Musicology at the University of Pavia and studied with J. Baboni Schilingi and F. Voisin at the Conservatory of Montbéliard.
His music has won awards in many competitions (Zeitklang, Jurgenson Composition Competition, Camillo Togni, Incontri Internazionali Franco Donatoni, Gianni Bergamo Composition Award); he also won two residencies at MIA-Annecy and at the Fondation Royaumont. His works have been programmed and commissioned by various festivals (Festival Archipel, Tage für Neue Musik, Oggimusica, Rondò, Novecento e presente) and have been performed by many ensembles (recherche, Divertimento, Vortex, MDI, Linea, Ex Novo) and orchestras (Zurcher Kammerorchester, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana).
His production first concentrated on instrumental music and in particular on the creation of a homogeneous body of works from which two cycles were generated: VASTA, for solo viola and ensemble, and IA, for solo string instrument. His attention then turned on the one hand to amplified and/or electrified instruments, on the other to the theatre in its most open manifestations. This period produced Der gelbe Klang, music for amplified ensemble with stage action by Kandinsky, and La Discesa for voices and amplified ensemble. He teaches assisted Composition at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and at the Scuola Civica di Musica in Milan. Since 2011 he has been a member of the artistic committee of RepertorioZero.
 
Andrea Agostini (Bologna – Italy, 1975) studied piano, composition and electronic music in Bologna; he later trained with Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Jarrell, Ivan Fedele and others, and attended the two-year programme in composition and computer music at the IRCAM in Paris.
He has composed works of instrumental, electro-acoustic and mixed music. He has been the winner or finalist in many international competitions (Musica Viva, Prix Noroit, 3rd Seoul Competition for Composers, Nuova Consonanza..) and has received commissions from various ensembles and institutions, including the French Ministry of Culture and the Film Library at the Louvre Museum. His works have been regularly performed in important festivals in Europe and North America (MiTo, Sincronie, REC, IMEB, MIA, Agora, Spark…).
His curiosity for all contemporary musical languages led him to work in various fields, such as rock and improvised music, and to study non-western musical traditions. He has composed music for the radio, film and the theatre. At the same time, he is active in the field of computer music and has developed, with composer Daniele Ghisi, a library of computer tools for computer-aided composition. In addition, he collaborates with many artists in experimental projects involving new technologies and is currently a “research composer” at IRCAM.