The many anniversaries on the calendar this year – Bruno Maderna, Luigi Nono, Franco Donatoni, Ludwig van Beethoven – serve as an impulse towards a new creativity.
“In a hundred years Bruno Maderna will be spoken of as a great composer who was also a conductor”, wrote Massimo Mila prophetically. The centennial of his birth is being met with a multiplicity of celebrations of the Venetian author (1920-1973), who has constantly meshed composition and conducting, ceaselessly testing his composition against its production in sound. In the vast range of Maderna’s horizons an entire section is dedicated to the scores he wrote for television documentaries, the soundtracks for films, and his passion for genres such as jazz, operetta and Kurt Weill’s cabaret (Maderna conducted Strehler’s first production of A Three-Penny Opera, with Giacomo Manzoni at the piano). This voracious curiosity is highlighted in the concert-documentary Sette Canzoni per Bruno, a world premiere and joint tribute by the Ensemble FontanaMix, directed by Francesco La Licata, and the Collective In.Nova Fert, a young ensemble dedicated to a “communitarian” composition of music. It features seven musical moments that weave together voices, ensembles, videos and electronics to narrate seven different chapters in Maderna’s life, from the violinist and conductor of The Happy Grossato Company to the composer of the great masterpieces of the 1970s. A concert-documentary made of “fragments, sketches, magic squares from Maderna’s work, also borrowed from the transcriptions of authors of the past and the lighter production, which are the sources for freely elaborated compositions that together form a musical story strongly imbued with his way of making music and his persistence in always exploring the new” (from the presentation).
Luigi Nono (1924-1990), a student of Bruno Maderna and like him a native Venetian, is dedicated a concert on the thirtieth anniversary of his death. Three pieces that belong to Nono’s final creative phase, in which he intensified his experimentation with a new idea of sound and space thanks to his frequentation of the studio in Fribourg in the 1980s, where he experimented with techniques for the live transformation of sounds. In addition to electronics, the other element that distinguishes the pieces on the programme is the figure of the performer-creator, increasingly central to the music of the second half of the twentieth century, an instrumentalist capable of inspiring the sonic vision of the composer by actively participating in the creative process. This is true of Post-praeludium n.1 per Donau and of La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura, pieces that Nono wrote inspired by the talent and experimentalism of Giancarlo Schiaffini, a great tuba player, and of violinist Gidon Kremer. In Venice the young Arcangelo Fiorello will take on the piece for tuba and electronics, while Francesco D’Orazio’s violin will dialogue with the 8 magnetic tapes of La Lontananza. One of Nono’s most oft-performed pieces, … sofferte onde serene… for piano and recorded tape, dedicated to his friend Maurizio Pollini and his wife, closes the concert with a performance by pianist Francesco Prode, who has offered a highly personal interpretation of Nono’s work.
Franco Donatoni (1927-2000), who began composing relatively late in his life to become one of the greatest authors of the second half of the twentieth century, distinguished by a creative radicalism that would always lead him “beyond”, was greatly influenced by Maderna, dedicating to him the famous Duo pour Bruno. On the twentieth anniversary of his death, Sandro Gorli, a former student of the Master from Verona, founder and conductor of the historic Divertimento Ensemble, presents a concert-tribute at the Biennale di Venezia. Intercalated between the performances of Arpège, Spiri and Hot, pieces that belong to Donatoni’s freest and most fertile phase, which he himself defined as the “playful exercise of invention”, will be two world premieres by Sandro Gorli and Ruggero Laganà, both former pupils of Donatoni.