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activities - workshop / meeting/ contests - cd call - 1st edition

1st edition

CD Call 1st edition
"Punti di ascolto"

electroacoustic music works

  The CD includes the following works:

1. Stefano Trevisi (1974) Swallow I (2002)
for female reciter and electronics (4’05”)
Giulia Mirandola voice
Production: Tempo Reale (Firenze) – Studio di Musica Elettronica del Conservatorio “A. Boito” (Parma) – GrocLab (Barcelona)

2. Stefano Scarani (1966) Disphase (2001)
  for voice, prepared piano, percussion and electronics (8’53”)
Laura Catrani voice
Alberto Morelli piano and percussion
Stefano Scarani percussion
Text by Stefano Scarani
Production: Tangatamanu, in collaboration with AGON acustica informatica musica - Centro Studi Armando Gentilucci

3. Angelo Benedetti (1964) Incubi (2002)
  for electronics (9’29”)
Production: Studio di Musica Elettronica del Conservatorio “F. Morlacchi” of Perugia

4. Massimo Biasioni (1963) Pallide risonanze avvolte (2000)
for basset horn and live electronics (12’00”)
Roberta Gottardi basset horn
Massimo Biasioni live electronics
Production: Composer’s studio

5. Francesco Galante (1956) Retroscena, memoria di una voce (2003)
for electronics (7’26”)
Production: Composer’s studio

6. Vincenzo Gualtieri (1965) Field (2003)
  for electronics (5’50”)
Production: Composer’s studio

7. Elio Martusciello (1959) Presenti successivi (2003)
  for electronics (11’00”)
Production: Composer’s studio

Points of listening
For some obscure reason, possibly associated with the ill-starred "Hierarchy of the Arts" derived from the aesthetics of Croce, the term "point of view" in Italian has a far wider logical connotation than the corresponding term "point of listening". A "point of view" is, for example, that of the scientist who observes a natural phenomenon (to the extent that an "anarchical" epistemologist like Feyerabend considers it as far more determinative than the phenomenon itself for establishing a scientific model). Another "point of view" is that of the writer confronted with the story he is telling (so much so that a narrator of "images" like Akira Kurosawa "constructed" the story of Rashomon by making the four protagonists of the film recount four different "visualizations" of the same event). Conversely, there is a tendency to give small credit to the "point of listening". At the most, it is considered in the purely literal sense as indicating the limited space surrounding the person who is listening to any kind of sonorous phenomenon; in this situation the role assigned is at the most purely "acoustical". The interpretative rather than the metaphorical position of the listener is hardly ever considered as one of the basic parameters of that complex of actions and reactions which constitutes musical knowledge.
The "point of listening" is instead a critical issue in deciphering and interpreting sound - or an ordered sequence of sounds - both in the infinitely articulated universe of written music and in the equally complex domain of artificial sounds, those "special" sounds that cannot be translated easily into signs. Avoiding, with a bound, the objectifying dimension of music that is meant to be read (or is even simply readable), the so-called "electronic" music unintentionally attributes to the subjective dimension of the listener a critical interpretative faculty, thereby upgrading the "point of listening" to the standing of an authentic structural parameter. Consequently, the degree of subjectivity (and therefore of hermeneutical arbitrariness) undergoes a sudden sharp increase that widens (sometimes in a spectacular but at the same time extremely fruitful manner) the perceptive gap between the producer and the consumer of sound.
If a "point of listening" is chosen which is free of any structural conditioning (that is unfettered by the need to look for a form, a symbolic logic, a grammatical coherence), then a piece like Stefano Trevisi's Swallow I reveals an extremely strong mimetic component: the initial "glossolalia", which in Claudia Castellucci's Masticazione simulates the act of eating, instantly becomes a kind of "glossophagia" in which the sounds themselves turn into food and become "edible" even if exceedingly indigestible: the edges of the sound are pecked at, nibbled, in a futile attempt to make them digestible. The result is an anguished representation of the impossibility of converting "food" into "nourishment": a bulimia of sound is transformed into its exact opposite, a potential anorexia of language. In this way, a sort of devastated ars comendi is represented on the "table of sound" which is swept clean by the compulsive grubbing of a mechanical animal in its feverish search for always more food and in the specular impossibility of assimilating it.
The "point of listening" where the piece of Stefano Scarani, Disphase, can be heard physically is, instead, that of the text, a text (surprise!) frequently intelligible, generated by intimate nightmares and "private" visions that obviously cannot remain unspoken. The word therefore becomes the object of its phonetic multiplication, but the sounds generated by this "parthenogenesis" never lose a hair's breadth of their sense. Sometimes they do not even relinquish their proprietary meaning. Indeed, sound, sense and significance are engaged in a kind of spiralling trajectory along the course of which are collected the scraps, the fragrances of a childhood memory, of a sudden fright, of a burst of laughter, of a fairytale told in a low-pitched voice before falling asleep. The non-verbal sound, the wholly electronic material which is interlaced with the voice, however, assumes in the finale a strange ceremonialism, a celebrative and "funereal" fixity that breaks down progressively into cast-offs, shreds, rejects of sound.
Listening to Incubi, a piece by Angelo Benedetti, on the contrary does not require a single point but several centres of attention. The sound score moreover seems to pivot, possibly involuntarily, on the so-called rhetorical process of hypotyposis which consists in conveying a visual "image" of verbal or sound objects. The fixed sounds, "stretched", almost extended, which are perceived initially start almost at once to revolve slowly around the sound space and to describe consistently circular orbits. After an initial brief static stolid passage, an undergrowth of murmuring voices begins to germinate, a dark forest teeming with minute vociferous animals scuttling rapidly in a damp nocturnal environment. The only "concrete" sounds appearing in the visual picture (radio broadcasts, city noises) are immediately dispatched by an aggressive swaggering metallic sonant creature which walks with rigid mechanical gait; its profile however is blurred, surrounded by a luminous effulgence which acts as a halo, a corona, an echo. At the end of the journey, some helical suggestive objects can still be glimpsed which, heavy with moisture, describe sinuous curves, at times depleted, almost ephemeral. The conclusion is only wind, devoid of matter, substance or direction.
Despite its title the "inventio" of Massimo Biasoni, Pallide risonanze avvolte, draws instead a firm straight line which anchors listening to a fixed point, a point marked with black ink: that of the time-honoured often neglected, sparkling, highly skilled instrumental performance. The virtuoso player once more comes on stage, the inventor of toccatas and fantasias, the architect of volutes and ornaments, and - taking his cue from the liberties of the "Stockhausenian" basset-horn - immediately begins to delineate elegant volutes and embellishments, at times shamelessly evocative of "bel canto". Only a few degraded vestiges of contaminated sound are left behind the exquisite pure sounds. The "conducator" however does not bow his swan's neck: he rears up, wails, sinks down, persists in sound clusters, lingers on sforzandos and stretches glissandos to the utmost. Shortly before the "game over", the contest between the virtuoso player and his electronic double becomes pitiless: muscles are flexed on the battlefield, a pugnacious competitive crescendo, almost a duel of fencers, which however then dwindles to strips of coarse sound: the motion becomes vague and uncertain, almost blind and unassuming. The end is a mechanical twittering which seems to emerge from the "homonymous" machine of Paul Klee: the neck of the swan bends towards the surface of the water intoning greyish matt colours, tones that are in fact more pallide and avvolte.
The "ideal point" for listening to Francesco Galante's Retroscena is unquestionably that suggested by the title of the piece (Backstage). Not exactly a secluded "corner" behind the scenes, perhaps, but a rectangle or a circle drawn on the stage of that entirely interior and noisily sensational theatre, the "Teatro della phoné" of Carmelo Bene. The "fundamental sound" which is generated on stage is fixed, slightly undulating, like a slow and prolonged trill. A tiny feral disjointed voice, faltering, curled up on itself and still choked by its amniotic fluid, strives with difficulty to break out from the wrapping, tearing to pieces the veil of the cocoon. It is a vox vocis, an unblemished mythical, legendary, astral voice, the "phonic" voice of Carmelo ("recognizable among a thousand!"). A single phrase, limpid and cloned, then resonant dust, submerged rustlings, pierced by the stentorian booming voice of the Actor. Once again, the sound attempts to break out from a prison, from a cage of debased words, twisted together and caught in a childish recital; and then in the finale the recollection, almost in form of a catalogue, of the phonic materials and findings that the voice of Carmelo has discarded on the way towards a potential utopian "electronic theatre".
Utopia for Utopia: if an acoustic equivalent existed of the visual trompe l'œil, a sort of sonorous trompe l'oreille, then the "point of listening" for a prismatic piece like Vincenzo Gualtieri's Field would be found in a split second. The potential listener is invited to join in a game of "show and hide": I make you listen to the sound of a concrete object (rain, iced water, wind, bells), but immediately hide my hand behind my back and tell you that the "thing" you have just heard is none other than music, sounds created by exquisitely musical instruments. Not musique concrète but musique sonore. For example, the dripping liquescent strangely "mimetic" sounds of the incipit immediately bring to mind a clearly pianistic turn of phrase, even if the rapid hand of the draughtsman traces the profile of some close relations of the piano: the Javanese gamelan, the "prepared piano" of John Cage. As in a game of dominoes, the entrails of the piano emerge from its belly: the strings. A bow that scrapes on a tailpiece, a slow African khora, the icy notes of a harp, even the memory of a vaguely insinuating and insistent theremin. But the "liquescent" turn of phrase rapidly obscures the pattern: once again mechanical rain, icy water, splashes of the sea. Somebody, or something, however manages to keep its head above water and not drown: a small toy harpsichord that intones, abstractedly, a faraway nostalgic musique enfantine.
Presenti successivi by Elio Martuscello has too, like the preceding pieces, a strong narrative propensity. In this case, however, the manner of narration is one of the oldest known: that of the professional storyteller, the narrator of "cunti" (tales) who, as he proceeds with his tale points with his wand at the various pictures on the backdrop that illustrate the saga with which he is regaling the onlookers. It is now that the salient, crucial episodes of the "cunto" stream past our listening point: a succession of granular liquescent sounds against a background of imperceptible electric scoriae; a stationary undulating surface on which the high-pitched voices of a faraway lament take shape; the sudden zigzagging of the maddened residues of a jammed sound machine; the creaking of a ligneous creature giving way under the weight of a chaotic mass of sound residues; an extremely tall organ pipe that emits a constant high piercing note overwhelmed by a dark mechanical cloud of harsh sounds; the obsessive hammer of a barrel organ which strikes by itself; a boiling cauldron of witchlike voices; a croaking of cold marsh creatures; the mechanical sound of a jammed electrical toy; the insistent trill of a child's miniature instrument that has "stuck"; a loose string vibrating effortlessly; impulses released by small "cheap" electronic devices which let themselves fall exhausted, inert and wretchedly enervated. (
Guido Barbieri)

translation by Anne Penney Ricotti