57th International Festival of Contemporary Music
Altra voce, altro spazio (Another voice, another space)
Director Ivan Fedele
Venice, 4 > 13 October 2013
with the support of the Regione Veneto
ALTRA VOCE, ALTRO SPAZIO (ANOTHER VOICE, ANOTHER SPACE)
33 concerts with 3 appointments per day, 81 composers - of which more than half are in their thirties, born in the '70s and '80s - and 40 new works, including 30 world premieres. This is the 57th International Festival of Contemporary Music, in figures. The festival will be held in Venice from 4 to 13 October, organized by la Biennale, chaired by Paolo Baratta, with a programme brought forth by Director Ivan Fedele, in his second term.
Another voice, another space is the title of the 57th edition of the Festival which opens onto the whole contemporary scene, weaving space and voice - two key elements of the musical thinking from the second half of the 1900s until our days - in countless variations. The internal life of sound, its articulation in space, the voice vivisectioned like an acoustic instrument, the electronics that constitute the essential instrument of this research are the elements that will be combined in the Festival's concerts. Luciano Berio – to whom homage will be paid, at ten years from his passing - and Karlheinz Stockhausen will open the way for the new generations well-represented in the programme – Eric Masters, Daniele Ghisi, Vittorio Montalti, Evis Sammoutis, Kristian Ireland, Chris Swithinbank, Raffaele Grimaldi, Franco Venturini, Ryo Dainobu. These musicians will be accompanied in many of the concerts by prominent computer studios, from the Ircam to Tempo Reale (founded by Berio himself), fruit of the evolution of the first studies of phonology, source of all experiments and even today a meeting point for many composers. Research conducted in these centres has helped to open new ways and to widen dramatically the musical material available today, among the instruments and techniques, genres, and acoustic and artificial sound sources.
As a counterpoint to the new generations of composers, the Festival will host new performers, because the influence exerted by these musicians has now taken on decisive weight. Already in the decades between the 60's and 80's, instruments were brought into the limelight which before sat at the edge of the orchestra – the double bass, the basset horn, the bassoon – or exotic instruments such as the bayan; new techniques were experimented, old ones were revolutionized: and all these developments influenced the composers themselves. The soloist is like a modern researcher who contributes to musical thinking, said Berio, and his Sequences, the VI and VIII of which are on the programme, are emblematic of this idea. The 57th Festival will be the stage of new international talent, with the 34-year-old cornetist and clarinetist Michele Marelli, the thirty-one-year-old violinist Marco Fusi, the double bass player Daniele Roccato, alongside the insuperable Francesco D'Orazio on the violin and Christophe Desjardins for the viola. Similarly, in addition to the prominent ensembles Accroche Note, Court Circuit, the Kairos Quartet and the Arbós trio, the focus is now shifting on recent formations: L'imaginaire, L’instant donné, the Maurice Quartet and the mdi ensemble.
With this edition, moreover, the Festival is becoming a reference point for a dense network of co-producing and collaborative partnerships that will lead to some appointments outside Venice: from Radio France, with which la Biennale has initiated an exchange of commissions for young composers, to the Teatro Comunale in Bologna with the Orchestra and Choir, to the Teatro del Maggio Musicale, the Teatro Studio of Scandicci, the Orchestra della Toscana and Tempo Reale, the Polish Institute in Rome and the Italian Institute of Culture in Madrid, the Ircam and Court-Circuit, in addition to the historical partner of la Biennale - Music, Teatro La Fenice with its Orchestra, and the established collaborations with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and the Conservatory of Venice.
Biennale College is the new initiative that involves all sectors of the Biennale. To the activities designed to promote awareness among the public (Exhibitions, Festivals), la Biennale of Venice has added a strategic line aimed at training young artists: Biennale College. Born as an evolution of the workshop activities of the Theatre and Dance sectors, Biennale College is characterized by its emphasis on the productive aspect. As to the Music sector, an international call to new creations by young talents has been announced. The call involves short chamber operas to be realized in teams - a composer, a lyricist, a director - accompanied by teachers and under the coordination of the Director Ivan Fedele.
The international call (deadline on 30 May) can be found at www.labiennale.org/en/music/. The first phase of work with the chosen teams will take place during the festival.
MUSIC THAT FLIES
Helicopter String Quartet, the spectacular Stockhausen composition that really gives wings to music, by isolating each of the brave performers of the Arditti Quartet in the respective cabins of four different helicopters to make them play at 1,500 metres above sea level amid the twirling of propellers, opens the 57th Festival Friday 4 October in the Great Hall of Palazzo del Cinema (Lido of Venice, at 3:00 p.m.). A visionary musician of excess (the Quartet even appeared to him in a dream), Stockhausen is a master of electro-acoustic research and sound projection. With Helicopter Quartet he has crafted a work almost miraculous in its technical complexity so that, despite the German Music Edition Prize for "works of the 20th century" (2001), the Quartet has only had three runs after the first one at the Holland Festival in 1995 with the Arditti themselves, who received the commission to perform the work. With directorial wisdom and a unique capacity to "theatricalize" music, Stockhausen has the concert start in the Hall, with the presentation of the four musicians, and ends it with their return to Earth, just in time to catch the applause of the public who has listened to the song and the “aero” performance on the screen.
The Arditti will be protagonists of a second concert (October 5, Ca' Giustinian, 3:00 p.m.), which includes the performance of the Quartet no. 5 of Elliott Carter, whose entire Quartet production they have recorded. Written specifically for them, the Quartet "stages" the same process of the piece's execution, up to a discussion by the musicians of each movement executed. Next to the monumental figure of Carter, the Arditti will perform the Italian premiere of songs by Rebecca Saunders, among the most accomplished composers, and of the thirty-three-year-old Cypriot Evis Sammutis, as well as a world premiere that the Biennale has commissioned to Andrea Portera.
THE LIONS OF MUSIC
The opening fireworks of the Helicopter Quartet are followed, at the Teatro alle Tese (8:00 p.m.), in the same opening evening of October 4, by the homage to Sofia Gubaidulina, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 57th International Festival of Contemporary Music. She has been a composer in times when women figures were almost non-existent in music, and in times when the historical events of the Soviet Union - where she was born - heavily affected the cultural life of the country. Gubaidulina has been able to keep faith in her intuitions, forging new paths, and has conceived her art as so great a magisterium, that she transfigured her musical material into symbol, mainly using Christian symbology.
Along with Sofia Gubaidulina, the Fondazione Spinola-Banna per l'Arte will be awarded the Silver Lion. Founded in 2004 and committed to promoting research in contemporary art and music, the Foundation is sponsoring, specifically, Progetto Musica, with "the goal of encouraging new musical works, highlighting the talents of young composers and giving visibility to the best experiences in the context of contemporaneity" (from their mission statement).
The dual award ceremony will be followed by a concert by the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice conducted by John Axelrod and by the contribution of the Percussions de Strasbourg, the historical percussion ensemble, the driving force behind the "renaissance" of these instruments in classical music. On the programme there is also one of the latest works by Sofia Gubaidulina: Glorious Percussion. The work confirms the composer's predilection for this family of instruments, which plays, in her symbolic vision, as if bound "to the Earth's horizon". In the song the percussions, especially the many gongs, are distributed on both sides of the orchestra, while vibraphone and marimba are placed at either side of the conductor. Glorious Percussion is offered in combination with Witold Lutoslawski's third Symphony, another masterful figure coming from the same Eastern European cultural background.
The concert under the sign of a double-bass, by the virtuoso Daniele Roccato (6 October, Ca' Giustinian, at 12.00 p.m.) is dedicated to Gubaidulina, who contributed so greatly to reassessing long-forgotten instruments from classical music and inserting new ones from folk tradition. The concert involves four compositions, which have just recently been recorded on CD: Pantomime and Sonata, designed from the beginning for double bass and piano; the Preludes, originally conceived for cello, and In croce, originally for cello and organ; both these transcriptions have been done by Gubaidulina.
After the inaugural concert dedicated to the Golden Lion, Les Percussions de Strasbourg are back on stage (6 October, Teatro alle Tese, 8:00 p.m.) with their endless collection of instruments, today numbering around 400. After all, it is for them that Iannis Xenakis had designed the famous "sixxen", a bladed tool that emits 109 different sounds. And it was also for them that he composed one of his most dramatic pieces, Persephassa, with a crucial spatial distribution that sees 6 percussionists "encircle" the audience while playing the most amazing instruments: sirens, pebbles or stones and a full arsenal of drums, woodblocks, simantras, cymbals and gongs. The ensemble from Strasbourg flanks a classic like Persephassa, with a triptych of Italian authors: Franco Donatoni with Darkness, Francesco Filidei with I funerali dell’anarchico Serantini and Alessandro Solbiati with Thai song.
On the occasion of the Silver Lion, the concert for a capella choir will be presented, performed by the Fondazione Spinola-Banna with Neue Vocalsolisten (10 October, Ca' Giustinian, 8:00 p.m.). The program suggestively crosses the most famous madrigalist, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, rediscovered since the beginning of the 1900s (Stravinsky and then Schnittke, Peter Maxwell Davies and Peter Eötvös are among the authors who were inspired by his music and figure), with Salvatore Sciarrino and his equally famous madrigals, based on Japanese lyrics and divided into two cycles of six. Next to this dialogue at a distance are the new creations – commissioned by the Fondazione Spinola-Banna - of two musicians in their forties, Filippo Filidei, of Sciarrinian descent, and the Japanese Noriko Baba.
The website www.nuthing.eu is a symptom of the vitality of music today, the desire to invent new ways to enjoy, to communicate and run it. In the digital age the/nu/thing collective is born and comes together around a blog to share scores, exchange ideas and projects, to discover and promote new authors. From a restricted circle of friends, all composers, although with different musical backgrounds but with the shared trait of working and doing research abroad - Andrea Agostini, Daniele Ghisi, Raffaele Grimaldi, Eric Maestri, Marco Momi and Andrea Sarto – we get to a public discussion involving other sectors and other people (the blog receives on average 2,000 visits per day). There is a desire for both revindication and utopia in their approach: "the revindication of a social role of making music today and a utopia, to break the vicious circle between production, enjoyment and debate, bringing back to life a listening community and a community of thought."
The Director Ivan Fedele has given them carte blanche to program a concert (October 6, Ca' Giustinian, 3:00 p.m.) which they have composed, together, as a kind of collective playlist, where electronics, voice and video are an integral part, if not the engine of the work. "The choice of works”, they say, “is based on two guidelines. The first, in the context of instrumental and vocal music: to present strong works, by the young, important names that we want to promote; the second: to touch on the subject of popular music, or rather of that transversal composition that is common to classical music and popular music. The playlist thus becomes an experience of true channel surfing, the erasure of distances: you can follow a path that goes from Usavich's Clearing I, passing with lightness and drama through the folklore evoked by Casale, the amusing, bare-essence pieces of Swithinbank and Steen-Andersen, the sublimated voice in excerpts from Cifariello Ciardi, the fusion of video and quartet in Murat, the more strictly classical crafstmanship of De León, the heartfelt cry of Ireland".
The concert curiously brings onstage, between one song and another, the animated shorts of Usavich, shown worldwide by MTV, which tell the story of a unique pair of rabbits imprisoned in the Soviet Union, and where each action is accompanied by music, by the pulsations of beat jazz that serve as the soundtrack at the end of each episode with the Bach choral piece Jesu bleibet meine Freude. The invited group of composers - Kristian Ireland, Emanuele Casale, Valerio Murat, Chris Swithinbank. Simon Steen-Andersen, Aurelio Edler-Copes, Mario Diaz de León - are all in their thirties and come from every part of the globe. Fabio Cifariello Ciardi will be opening and closing the concert, with two additional tracks that use Blair's and Obama's speeches to "unmask the opaque nature of political rhetoric through timely instrumental transcriptions of the rhythms and inflections of voices that have made and are making history" (F. C. Ciardi). Performing the playlist of the /nu/thing collective is Igor Caiazza, an excellent percussionist who works on the dual fronts of classical music (conducted by Barenboim, Abbado, Chung, Muti) and jazz music, the soprano Laura Catrani, who has performed to great acclaim on several occasions for la Biennale's Music sector and the Quartetto Maurice, founded in 2002.
From a rib of/nu/thing – Eric Masters and Daniele Ghisi - Visions, too, was born (5 October, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, 5:15 pm), a project that offers a complex idea in concert as a show that incorporates lights, sounds and images. On stage one beholds an orchestra of 20 speakers, 20 sound sources and as many fantastic objects designed by Olivier Perriquet, plus the acoustic instrumentation of the collective L'imaginaire, founded just four years ago in Strasbourg. Playing on the overlapping of levels and shifts between the visible and the invisible, Visions will bring onstage, translated into music, the distance that technology puts between us and reality, on account of which even sound can be separated from its source. Eric Masters and Daniele Ghisi wonder: "what if what we saw producing the sound was fake, what if it seemed to be the source but wasn't? Visions is a visual and sound track that through electronics, with its imaginary machines, sets in motion the mystery of listening, the game of representing the sound, that, from the invisible, becomes visible".
BERIO AND BEYOND
Epiphanies, Rendering, Ofaním, Sequenze, Altra voce: the Festival presents an excursus into Berio's musical thought, through those cornerstones of his research into voice and space.
The first appointment is with the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (October 5, Teatro alle Tese, 8:00 pm), which will offer a repeat performance of the concert at its own venue (8 October). Conducted by Roberto Abbado, the concert takes advantage of the soprano voice of Valentina Coladonato for Epiphanies, an arrangement employing various different combinatorial possibilities of seven instrumental pieces with as many vocal texts – the true epiphanies of the piece - chosen by Eco from among authors dear to Berio (Proust, Joyce, Machado, Simon, Brecht, Sanguineti). And if for Berio creating is transforming, the second track program offers a clear example of this: Rendering, in its various meanings of rendering honour, restoring to life, translating; the work can be considered to have been created with Franz Schubert, since it was spawned by his fragments for a Symphony. Enlightening, too, is the dynamic relationship that Berio interweaves with the classical world and history, the way an artisan performs a job of "restoration"; Berio considers his analogous task of restoration "in the modern sense used in painting", in which one strives "to rekindle the old colours but not conceal the damage of time and the inevitable gaps created in the composition (as is the case with Giotto's work in Assisi)".
Between the two works, Berio has placed an absolute novelty commissioned by the Biennale to Claudio Ambrosini, already the Golden Lion recipient at the Venice Festival in 2007. The work is Fonofania, which in the composer's mind alludes to the magical appearance of sound, a piece for choir scenically arranged behind the audience, almost wrapping around it, with the frontal orchestra on stage.
The Orchestra della Toscana supported by Tempo Reale and the Maîtrise de Radio France (11 October, Teatro alle Tese, 8:00 pm) proposes Ofaním, considered a masterpiece of Berio's latest period. It is a piece with a strong dramatic impact, which short-circuits the visionary and apocalyptic lyrics of the prophet Ezekiel with the carnality of the Song of Songs, but is also one of the most significant pieces of his repertoire using live electronics. "Ofaním's electronics has indeed been one of the most representative works of Tempo Reale, a work that ranges from the study of space to that of the performing environment, from the amplification of the instruments and voices to their transformation, up to the projection of the sounds between the speakers. The coherent reproduction of Ofaním’s electronic sound in a concert space makes each performance a challenge of ever greater breadth and complexity"(Tempo Reale). Equally important is Tempo Reale's intervention of the second work in the programme with the ORT, Altra voce, whose score has been completed by the same studio, by Francesco Giomi, Damiano Meacci, Kilian Schwoon. Born as an extension of an episode of Cronaca del luogo, where the choir, orchestra and speakers were placed behind the stage, forming a sort of "wall", "in Altra voce this idea of a wall has resulted in a configuration with two diverging diagonal rows of speaker that, adapting to the performance space, are placed as far apart as possible. Electronics play an important structural role and are characterized by three types of processing: live sampling, spatialization and the use of the harmonizer" (Tempo Reale).
The Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto (October 7, Teatro alle Tese, 8:00 pm) conducted by Andrea Pestalozza is entrusted a concert that follows the evolution of thinking about space and voice with a triad of Italian authors, Alessandro Solbiati, Gabriele Manca and Matteo Franceschini. It is one of the many glimpses through the curtain opened by the Festival onto the current Italian and international music scene, in which to discover highlights, fragments, implications and dynamics triggered by the lessons offered by Berio and Stockhausen. Accompanied by sensational solo performers like Mayumi Orai on the cimbalom, Alfonso Alberti on the piano, Michele Marelli on the basset horn, the concert puts together pieces that investigate the relationship between soloist and orchestra. Thus, Franceschini's La grammatica del soffio gives Michele Marelli's basset horn a pivotal role, acting as the generating force of the music. The piece by Alessandro Solbiati develops a dialogue between the cimbalom and other instruments, collected after a decade of studies in a cycle, which is a kind of unified suite, Nora, larger than the original of which it formed a part, involving the cimbalom, here amplified, with an entire chamber orchestra. Dialoghi con la terra by Gabriele Manca echoes and receives its imprint, instead, from the daring piece by Maiakovskij, who wrote the Dialogues with the Sun, ambitious dialogues with the elements that end up "singing in the gray junk of the world".
The landscape of today's world offered by the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto expands with newest products for L'instant donné (11 October, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, at 5:15 pm), an ensemble founded only ten years ago in Paris, and the protagonist of the cycle Alla breve. It is a format designed by Radio France which commissions new ten-minute creations for pieces ranging from the soloist to the large orchestra, but with a special detail: each track must be divided into five two-minute parts. It's a way to give a lightning-fast yet everyday taste of each new piece, which can be heard in its entirety, only on the sixth day. All breve, thus, both in the technical sense, whereby the term indicates the change in time measures, and in its more common meaning. In Venice, the 9 instrumentalists of L’instant donné, mastering a repertoire ranging from the late 1800s to the present day and with their active work with Gervasoni, Schoellhorn, Pesson and Pattar, will perform world premiere pieces by Eric Maestri, Raphaèle Biston, Pasquale Corrado, the Japanese Ryo Dainobu and the Lebanese Zad Moultaka, chosen by Director Ivan Fedele from the short list of names of the cycle Alla breve.
Again in collaboration with Radio France and in this case also with the ensemble Court Circuit comes another concert consisting entirely of world premieres, the result of commissions by the French Ministry of Cultureand Radio France itself (13 October, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, at 5:15 pm). Among the best known international ensembles, Court Circuit, founded in 1991 by Philippe Hurel, Pierre-André Valade, in residence for the chamber works at Peter Brook's theater, Bouffes du Nord, and the protagonist of many interdisciplinary projects, the French group performs works by the thirty-five year-old Argentine Fernando Fizbein, the forty-two year-old Frédéric Verriéres, and by a historical figure of American experimental music, Roger Reynolds, founder with Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma of the ONCE group and festival, among the pioneers of the multichannel spatialization of sound since its beginning with the Voicespace series.
They are many concerts of the Festival where voice and song are manipulated in different ways, but some make of this instrument - unique in its kind - the main protagonist, offering acrobatic vocal performances. This is the case of David Moss, one of the world's most original vocalists and percussionists, here accompanied by the wizards of Tempo Reale, Francesco Canavese and Francesco Giomi (9 October, Ca' Giustinian, 3:00 pm). Moss's extreme vocalisations have conquered the major theatres and festivals, like Salzburg, where he offered a memorable portrayal of Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus directed by Hans Neuenfels (2001), equally memorable was his solo performance in Cronaca del luogo by Luciano Berio (1999). Attentive to avant-garde music, such as rock and funk, his collaborations reflect this eclecticism: Moss works alongside Heiner Goebbels, Ensemble Modern Arto Lindsay, Fred Frith and John Zorn, among others.
More voices in Venice is the allusive title of the performance rethought for the Biennale, where Moss's voice interacts with an unbounded electro-acoustic universe, from its references to consumer music to the deepest explorations into sound, in a state-of-the-art technological framework that employs, thanks to Tempo Reale, new techniques of live processing of sounds and unusual processes of handling the relationship between structure and improvisation, as well as the invention of texts and musical sections.
Apart from David Moss and the champions of a cappella singing from Stuttgart, the Vocalsolisten, it is on the notes of a more recent and strong chorus, Le cris de Paris, inclined to propose "mixed" programs with works that belong to different eras, places and genres, that the study into the instrument of voice is deepened. Founded in 1999 and with a repertoire from the 1500s, the Venetian program has three Italian authors with many Italian premieres: Luca Francesconi and his Let me bleed, which divides the choir into three groups, Marco Stroppa, with Perché non riusciamo a vederla? and the youngest Mauro Lanza (1975), with Ludus de Morte Regis for choir and electronics.
If often in contemporary music it is left up to the performer's imagination to "complete" a song, this year the Festival brings to the forefront the great soloists.
Considered by Gaslini the "Prince" of basset horn players, Michele Marelli becomes passionate about the instrument after graduating with highest honours in the clarinet and especially after meeting with Stockhausen. "Very gifted", according to Stockhausen, Marelli became an assistant in the clarinet class at the Stockhausen Kurse at Kürten where he won six times the award for the best performance, directly from the hands of Stockhausen, who wanted him as a member of his Ensemble, with whom he recorded two albums (including as a soloist) and performs many pieces in their world premiere under the baton of the German maestro. For the first time at the Venice Biennale (7 October, Ca' Giustinian, 12.00 noon), Michele Marelli pays tribute to the guiding light of his career with Evas Spiegel, Susani, Traum-Formel, pieces focusing on electronics and sound spatialization with the Festival the world premiere of the rewriting of In Nomine – all'ongherese by Kurtág, a retelling of the polyphonic tradition characteristic of many contemporary authors. And also: The Seven Brightnesses of Peter Maxwell Davies, the latest Duft by Kaija Saariaho and another world premiere, De profundis by Oscar Bianchi.
The concert, entirely entrusted to the viola soloist Christophe Desjardins (8 October, Ca' Giustinian, 3:00 pm), already a member of the InterContemporain ensemble, proposes Berio's Sequenza VI for viola, which Desjardins himself also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, and Partita I for viola and electronics by Philippe Manoury, stimulated to write on the relationship between electronic lutherie and acoustic instruments by Desjardins himself. Considered Berio’s artistic biography, and an example of the re-creative approach which the composer established tradition, the Sequenze are, with Sinfonia, among his most popular works. Composed in '68, Sequence VI is, as the critic Lorenzo Arruga has written, “a story of conquest and of redemption. The viola is the protagonist, or rather, the violist is, who decides to perform with his instrument, a bit meek and submissive in the history of music, the great undertakings that are usually granted to more powerful and accredited violinists".
Instead, Francesco D'Orazio will perform Sequenza VIII for violin (13 October, Conservatory, 3:00 pm), where Berio reverses the unconventional approach reserved for viola and retrieves the whole tradition of this instrument, making resonate the homage to Chaconne of Bach's Suite in D minor. A point of reference in contemporary music and the dedicatee of several pieces, though he excels in other repertoires, most notably Baroque, D'Orazio had a long association with Berio, with whom he performed many pieces, including the Sequenza VIII, and has recorded the composer’s entire violin production. In addition to Berio's piece, the concert is enriched with Pierre Boulez's Anthèmes II, an electro-acoustic version of Anthèmes I, ... de la Terre by Kaija Saariaho, taken from the music for the ballet by Carolyn Carlson, Maa, and two world premieres, Agape by Fausto Sebastiani and Voci incroci by Gianvincenzo Cresta.
Finally, the name of a rising star in the world of classical music is that of another violinist, who recently performed Cage's Freeman Etudes for Stradivarius to critical and public acclaim: Marco Fusi. Like Michele Marelli, Marco Fusi is participating for the first time at la Biennale di Venezia, though as a performer of the viola d'amore, a very rare instrument in contemporary music, and for this occasion amplified electronically (12 October, Conservatory, at 12.00 noon). "It's a tool that has never been affirmed", Fusi claims, "and so it has preserved its experimental character, endowed with resonance effects thanks to its seven strings, called 'sympathetic' as they vibrate out of sympathy when the main ones are plucked. The constructive characteristics of the instrument, which has no defined tuning, thus opens an unknown space, of greater freedom for composers, like when one enters a room without perimeters and has to lay out the boundaries of the walls”. The Venetian programme addresses the generation of thirty-somethings, almost all present with world premieres: Lorenzo Romano, Andrea Mancianti, who also takes care of the electronics, Clara Iannotta, Federico Gardella, Alessio Rossato and Lorenzo Pagliei.
Among the ensembles enlivening the Festival, the Kairos String Quartet plays a pivotal role. The Quartet, founded in Berlin in '96, has built its artistic biography exclusively on contemporary music and will bring to Venice (October 7, Ca' Giustinian, 5:15 pm) the best Quartet production of a midway generation: there will be Marino Baratello and David Robert Rusconi, both Venetians, Giampaolo Coral, a leading figure in Triestine culture and a promoter of young talent, as well as those well-known names of the current scene, like Georg Friedrich Haas and Michele dall’Ongaro.
The mdi ensemble, which with the Instant Donné of Paris, the Imaginaire in Strasbourg and the Maurice Quartet, enhances the presence at the Festival of most recently created ensembles, all formed in the past decade, will offer (10 October, Ca' Giustinian, 3:00 pm) a concert with authoritative names such as Jonathan Harvey with Lotuses and Run Before Lightning, Hans Werner Henze with the Quattro Fantasie octet, and Elliott Carter with Triple Duo, which "enacts" the dialogue between flute and clarinet, violin and cello, piano and percussion.
A trio with an illustrious past, the Spanish Arbós, founded in 1996, and with a vast repertoire that from the classical and romantic arrives to the present day, is the protagonist of the concert of October 6, at Teatro Piccolo Arsenale (5:15 pm) with the new version for piano, violin, cello and electronics of Tierkreis, the twelve most popular melodies of Stockhausen, inspired by the signs of the Zodiac and a source of countless versions. In fact, to Stockhausen's melodies are added those of the ensembles, including rock bands. The first performance took place in Royan in March 1975 by the Percussions de Strasbourg, and today in Cologne, in homage to the composer, the restored carillon with 48 bells in Town Hall, every day at 12.00 performs all the melodies with a computer programmed for that purpose. Also bearing Stockhausen's name is the world premiere of... senza ritorno, senza rammarico... by the composer, sound artist and live electronics specialist Bryan Wolf, personal assistant of the German master as the creator of the sound from 1998 until his death. Also in its world premiere is Dàimones, the work commissioned by la Biennale to the thirty-five year-old Franco Venturini,.
Another trio is formed around Jacub Tchorzewski, the little more than thirty-year-old international talent of the piano, with Anna Armatys on the cello and the 24-year-old Geneva Petrucci on flute. They will accompany the public of la Biennale - Music (12 October, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, 3:00) in an excursus through Polish music. Starting from the master Witold Lutoslawski on the centenary of his birth andfrom Henryk Górecki, among the few contemporary musicians to reach across different audiences worldwide with his Symphony No. 3, passing through Krzysztof Meyer, a student of Lutoslawski, to arrive at more recent generations, with Pawel Mykietyn, also known as the author of soundtracks for Wajda and Skolimowski, and the thirty-five year-old Marcin Stanczyk, in a world premiere with a new creation commissioned by the Polish Institute in Rome.
An unusual Quartet is Makrokosmos (12 October, Conservatory, 5:15 pm), featuring two pianos played percussively combined with pitched percussions. It takes its name from George Crumb, but the four soloists decided to play together in this original formation since 2004 after having performed Béla Bartok's Sonata for 2 pianos and percussion. Composed of the two well-known Turkish pianists Ufuk Dördüncü and Bahar Dördüncü, pupils of the duo Pekinel, and of François Volpé and Sébastien Cordier on drums, the Quartet proposes music by established authors like Magnus Lindberg and Michael Jarrell, respectively with Related Rocks and Assonance VIIb, which renew the tradition created by Bartók, and of the already successful 28-year-old Christian Mason, in an Italian premiere with a song dedicated to Stockhausen, Equinoxes of the Infinite.
Also hugely successful is the versatile ensemble of soloists Accroche Note, born around the soprano Françoise Kluber and the clarinettist Armand Angster, which thanks to the flexibility of the performers has been able to handle the most diverse pieces of contemporary music, but also to solidify their skills in jazz improvisation as in other traditions, taking on a vast repertoire that from post-Webernian authors digresses into folk, jazz and improvised music. The program for the Biennale (12 October, Ca' Giustinian, 8:00 pm) flows from the music of multimedia artist, performer and composer Pierre Jodlowski, who works on the intersection between theatre, dance, electronic music and video, to the metallic sounds of Yann Robin, who gained his artistic training at the Ircam, passing through the remote voices of troubadour ancestry of Saariaho who from Lohn set off to construct her first opera, L'Amour de loin, and takes off on the notes of Ultimos movimiento of the Argentine Luis Naon.
The Festival pays dutiful homage to Verdi with the performance of his only quartet thanks to the PluralEnsemble, founded by Argentine-born, Spanish nationalised composer Fabián Panisello. Serving as a counterbalance is one of the best-loved Italian composers, Adriano Guarnieri, author of the text "irta e mai pacificata", who is reserving for Venice and la Biennale the world premiere of Al crepito del sole, and Fabián Panisello, who presents for the first time in Italy the monodrama L’officina della resurrezione, based on an original text by Erri De Luca and passages from the prophet Ezekiel. Both tracks are the result of commissions by the Italian Institute of Culture in Madrid, which is promoting the whole concert.
Verdi once more, this time with instrumental transcriptions of his works: at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice there are preserved a full 600 of them. The musicians of the Conservatories of Venice, Rovigo and Vicenza will draw from this treasure, and in solo, duets, ensemble or choir will animate the courtyards and halls of Palazzo Pisani (8, 9, 10 October, the Conservatory B. Marcello 8:00 pm).
Through its gaze open onto the contemporary, the Festival also offers a wide range of different forms of musical theatre. From the monodrama of Panisello to the singspiel of Salvatore Sciarrino, to the world premiere of the thirty-year-olds Vittorio Montalti, already Silver Lion winner at la Biennale - Music of 2010, and Raffaele Grimaldi. These are works achieved thanks to the contribution of important Italian musical and theatrical realities.
Aspern of Sciarrino, of whose work la Biennale is presenting two performances in collaboration with the Teatro La Fenice (8 and 10 October, Malibran Theatre, 7:00 pm) is a work that has been around the world, but as a suite. Crafted in '78 by the pen of the Palermitan composer, assisted by the director Giorgio Marini for the libretto,the operais inspired by one of the best-known tales of Henry James, The Aspern Papers, subject also of movies and television adaptations.
L’arte e la maniera di affrontare il proprio capo per chiedergli un aumento by Vittorio Montalti and La macchina by Raffaele Grimaldi were commissioned by la Biennale of Venice and are made in co-production with the Teatro Studio of Scandicci and in collaboration with the Teatro La Fenice, Maggio Formazione – Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Undersigning the dual direction is a protagonist of the renewal of the European theatre scene of the 1980s, Giancarlo Cauteruccio, actor, director, set designer, video artist, author of shows which structure the theatrical space through light, sound and images. First with the company Krypton and then serving as the director of the Teatro Studio di Scandicci, Cauteruccio pursues a dramaturgy of light using the most sophisticated electronic technologies. From Beckett and Pinter to Shakespeare, his works have been hosted not only in theatres, but also from Documenta 8 in Kassel to Ars electronica in Linz. For the musical part Mario Ancillotti, among the most prominent flautists, will conduct Nuovo Contrappunto ensemble, born within the school of Fiesole, where the same Ancillotti is its Director and tireless animator.
The subject of the 29-year-old Montalti, on the libretto by Giuliano Compagno, draws directly from text by Georges Perec - The art and manner of dealing with your boss to ask for a raise - and its original writing that uses, as does that of all the components of the literary movement OuLiPo, formal restrictions of all kinds, whether literary or mathematical. Thus the poem Alfabeti transposes into poetry a principle of serial music (it never reuses a consonant in a set before having made use of all the other consonants of the same set), while L’arte e la maniera di affrontare il proprio capo per chiedergli un aumento shows as in a diagram all the possible variables involved in asking your boss for a raise (When? How? Will my boss be in the office? Will he be willing to receive me? And will he be in a good mood?).
With subtle and rare self-parody, La macchina of the thirty-three year-old Raffaele Grimaldi, the author of the libretto being Diego Giordano, presents the case of a doctor and his assistant who are trying to heal the split personality of a contemporary music composer.
A repeat performance of both works will be offered at Teatro Sociale in Bergamo on October 30.
THE SOUND OF THE FUTURE
Art, science and technology are elements that come into play in the most advanced research on the spatialization of sound, which also has very distant roots, dating back to Renaissance polyphonic music and the music that Monteverdi "built" for and around the architecture of St. Mark's Basilica. That was noticed by some composers who dedicated themselves to electronic music: Nono and Stockhausen, among others, and even before them, Varèse and Xenakis. It is no coincidence that so many authors of the second half of the 1900s have studied and are inspired by seventeenth century five-chord polyphonic music and that the Venitian Nono was obsessed with the St. Mark's Basilica, cradle of the spatialization of sound. The concert La lontananza: 21st Century cori spezzati (10 October, Teatro alle Tese, 5:15 pm) could not be more appropriate for a Festival devoted to space and voice; right from the title, the work evidences the line of continuity between past, present and future. The concert’s novelty lies in proposing Monteverdi and Nono along with the new technology of Wave Field Synthesis, (WFS), a new method of spatialization of sound that envelops the spectator in a three-dimensional sound with its 192 speakers and 8 subwoofers, without being conditioned by the position of the spectator. A 3D sound, which gives the audience the feeling of a listening experience at once natural and amplified, with the distinct perception of depth and volume. In addition to the Madrigals of Monteverdi and Nono's La lontananza rewritten in WFS key, the concert will also present the world premiere of Korean composer Ji Youn Kang, written entirely for this new acoustic device, that allows one to put together sounds and space.
With Homoiomèreia, o della mutazione computazionale (8 October, Teatro alle Tese, 5:15 and 8:00 pm) we are instead in the imaginative world of the musical instruments of Pietro Luca Congedo, a percussionist chosen by Stockhausen for his percussive solos, as well as composer and above all, electronics scholar. He has created new percussion instruments called Perscultroníc, with which he has created music for performances, installations and images; he has given form to Leonardesque dreams, creating a monumental automatic drum with 12 beating arms piloted by a computer, starting from the drawings of the Atlantic Code. In Venice he will let audiences listen to the "voice of the matter" with his new instrumental inventions that unite percussive devices, prostheses, automation and electronics. It is the "spectacle of matter" transformed into acoustic phenomenon, returning all the vibrations and tensions present in its molecular structures. Congedo makes of physical reality a materialistic, and metaphysical spectacle.