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Aldo Brizzi
L'epreuve du labyrinthe

for Alto and Tape

Labyrinths come in many different forms. In some cases the aim is to reach the center, in others, the process of discovery and change whilst traveling through it is more important. All labyrinths can be understood in terms of one of these two approaches. How can one reflect this in music? These two types of labyrinth can be symbolized by combining aspects of time (metre, rhythm and pulse) and space (pitch and acoustic spatialisation).
The title of the work, "L'épreuve du Labyrinthe" (The Labyrinth Trial), is taken from an autobiography of the same name by Mircea Eliade. It talks of the trials one undergoes in the course of a lifetime and the challenges faced by countless paths and directions.
The tape consists solely of viola sounds superimposed on to rhythmic fragments taken from Afro-Brazilian popular music. These recorded fragments use the viola's unique tonal qualities in the lower register (the 3rd and the 4th strings are tuned down to E Flat and A Flat respectively). Each path is highlighted by enhancing the sounds through different digital filters. This make it harder to perceive the recurring rhythmic patterns but at the same time the beat remains steady.
The hope is to create a labyrinth through linear time which echoes many different cultures.
The solo part consists in a microintervallic melody, rhythmically swinging with the tape.
Maurizio Barbetti, to whom this piece is dedicated, recorded all the fragments and loops on the tape in the GRAME Studios in Lyons, France, in 1995-96. The sounds were filtered and mixed by the composer with the technical assistance of Jean Luc D'Aleo. The post-production was realized in cooperation with Francesco Sardella in the Pink House Studios, in Italy 1997.