Irriverente is an Italian word that means Irriverent. It implies something deliberately out of a preconceived scheme, and that wants to provoke an exact reaction. This recording is not a compilation cd indeed. It is a sort of bridge between what is considered usually classical music and other genres like jazz, mainly, and folk music. The first piece by Leo Brouwer shows the spirit of this precisely, with his melancholy and contamination between styles.
As the title itself states, “Soft Winds” is a slow and soft breeze that blows calmly on a hot day. The simple and very discreet theme is built on an equally simple harmonic structure, where similarly the solos lean.
The compositions of Salvatore Salerno are in some ways melancholic too. There is always a reference to the native land, Sicily, so admirably described above all in the passages “Penombra” and “Trio Mediterraneo”.
Klezmer music was played in the Jewish villages of Eastern Europe for parties, ceremonies, weddings to encourage people to dance by inviting them with popular motifs. These typical forms inspired to the composer Roberto Pansera his piece: the “sher”, the “doina”, and the “hora”.
“Moonglow” is a famous song from the early years of the swing era. Later forgotten, it was re-evaluated in 1956 when it was included in the film “Picnic”. A very captivating and seductive theme that stands out even more at the end re-interpreted from the clarinet to the low octave after an improvisation developed in the acutest area of the piano.
Dave Brubeck is a composer who has written lots of excellent music. His rhythmic exasperation and harmonic complexity are evident in many of his passages. Those proposed here are calm and very descriptive.
“Do not be that way” is one of the numerous songs often performed by Benny Goodman, very pleasant to listen to. Even improvisation at the piano, simple in its lines, wants to keep the spirit of the piece.
The last piece that gives even the name to this album is “Irreverent medley”: a mix of trendy pieces: “Frère Jacques [Brother John]”, the famous mazurka by Migliavacca and the Cumparsita.
As bonus tracks, recorded in several sessions, three compositions by Piazzolla, part of the series of “Seasons” as a sort of program music. Sometimes melancholic, full of references from the master of the tango nuevo. They follow the path of a close and active relationship of the folk heritage of the tango with other musical universes, between classic and modern.
(Album Notes by Gianluca Campagnolo)
Astor Piazzolla: (b Mar del Plata, 11 March 1921; d Buenos Aires, 5 July 1992). Argentine composer, bandleader and bandoneón player. A child prodigy on the bandoneón, Piazzolla and his family emigrated to New York in 1924; in his teens he became acquainted with Gardel, for whom he worked as a tour guide, translator and occasional performer. Piazzolla returned to Buenos Aires in 1937 where he gave concerts and made tango arrangements for Aníbal Troilo, a leading bandleader; he also studied classical music with Ginastera. In 1944 Piazzolla left Troilo’s band to form the Orquesta del 46 as a vehicle for his own compositions. A symphony composed in 1954 for the Buenos Aires PO won him a scholarship to study in Paris with Boulanger, who encouraged him in the composition of tangos; the following year he resettled in Argentina and formed the Octeto Buenos Aires and, later, the Quinteto Nuevo Tango, which performed at his own club, Jamaica. Piazzolla left Argentina in 1974, settling in Paris, where he composed a concerto for bandoneón and a cello sonata for Rostropovich, among other works. Piazzolla’s distinctive brand of tango, later called ‘nuevo tango’, initially met with resistance. Including fugue, extreme chromaticism, dissonance, elements of jazz and, at times, expanded instrumentation, it was condemned by the old-guard, including not only most tango composers and bandleaders but also Borges, whose short story El hombre de la Esquina Rosada was the basis for Piazzolla’s El tango (1969); like tango itself, Piazzolla’s work first found general approval outside Argentina, principally in France and the USA. By the 1980s, however, Piazzolla’s music was widely accepted even in his native country, where he was now seen as the saviour of tango, which during the 1950s and 60s had declined in popularity and appeal. In the late 1980s Piazzolla’s works began to be taken up by classical performers, in particular the Kronos Quartet, who commissioned Five Tango Sensations (1989). In all he composed about 750 works, including film scores for Tangos: the Exile of Gardel (1985) and Sur (1987). Shortly before his death, he was commissioned to write an opera on the life of Gardel.
Leo Brouwer: (b Havana, 1 March 1939). Cuban composer, guitarist and conductor. In 1953 he began his studies in the guitar with Isaac Nicola, founder of the Cuban guitar school, and in 1955 he made his performance début. In the same year, and self-taught, he started to compose (e.g. Música para guitarra, cuerdas y percusión and Suite no.1 for guitar); his first works were published in 1956. He was awarded a grant (1959) for advanced guitar studies at the music department of the University of Hartford and for composition at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, where he was taught by Isadora Freed, J. Diemente, Joseph Iadone, Persichetti and Wolpe. In 1960 he started working in cinema, as head of the department of music in the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC); he has written scores for more than 60 films. He was involved in setting up (1969) and running the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora at ICAIC, becoming the teacher and mentor of its members, who included Silvio Rodríguez, Milanés and other important figures of contemporary Cuban music. He worked as musical adviser for Radio Habana Cuba (1960–68) and for other Cuban institutions, and taught counterpoint, harmony and composition at the Conservatorio Municipal in Havana (1960–67). His book Síntesis de la armonía contemporánea was a core text in his classes. Together with the composers Juan Blanco and Carlos Fariñas and the conductor Manuel Duchesne Cuzán, Brouwer launched the avant-garde music movement in Cuba in the 1960s. He has been the most significant promoter of the bi-annual Havana Concurso y Festival de Guitarra, and in 1981 he was appointed principal conductor of the Cuban National SO. He has also conducted many other foreign orchestras including the Berlin PO and the Orquesta de Córdoba, Spain, which, under his direction, was formed in 1992. He is a member of the Berlin Akademie der Künste, of UNESCO, of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes Nuestra Señora de la Angustias in Granada (1996) and Honoris Causa Professor of Art at the Instituto Superior de Arte de Cuba (1996). For his contribution to the Cuban and international music scenes he was awarded the Orden Félix Varela, the highest honour granted by the Cuban state for culture. Three phases can be identified in Brouwer’s work: the first, nationalistic (1955–62); the second, avant-garde (1962–7); and a third in which avant garde elements diminish and, particularly after 1980, a creative process described by the composer as ‘new simplicity’ emerges. The first phase is characterized by the use of traditional musical forms, including sonata and variation form, and by tonal harmonic structures rooted in nationalism (e.g. in Homenaje a Manuel de Falla (1957), Tres danzas concertantes (1958) and, Elegía a Jesús Menéndes (1960), among others). During this phase, despite the prevailing use of tonality, a tendency to structural fragmentation may be discerned, as well as the employment of several simultaneous tonal centres, a device that has remained throughout his output. Though never lacking formal rigour, Brouwer’s works have in general sprung more from a sonic conception: ‘I use any form to help me find musical forms: that of a leaf, of a tree or geometric symbolisms. All these are also musical forms; despite the fact that my works appear very structured, what interests me is sound’. This concentration on the sensory, and an accompanying use of extra-musical formal sources, is most to the fore in Brouwer’s second phase, which was, with the Cuban avant garde in general, heavily influenced by the Polish school; he first heard this music at the Warsaw Autumn in 1961. Variantes for solo percussion and in particular Sonograma I for prepared piano typify this phase, which also included a brief turn towards serialism, in works such as Sonograma II and Arioso (Homenaje a Charles Mingus). Basic materials frequently comprise intervals of the 2nd, 4th and 7th and chords of superimposed 6ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths. Complex polyphonic textures dominate, with thematic independence retained within the different planes of sound, and a resultant richness in rhythmic conjunction. Other common devices include pedals, ostinatos, sequences and melodic and rhythmic echoing. One of Brouwer’s most important avant-garde works, which has become a major piece of the guitar literature, is the solo Elogio de la danza (1964). In two movements – Lento and Ostenato – it was originally composed for dance with choreography by Luis Trápaga; it makes reference to primitive dances and to mysticism, and conveys an image of stamping feet and gyrations together with other dance elements. Between 1967 and 1969 such works as Rem tene verba sequentur, Cántigas del tiempo nuevo and La tradición se rompe …, pero cuesta trabajo approach what would now be the postmodern, characterized by sharply defined contrasts in structure and texture and employing references to various historical periods. In La tradición se rompe …, pero cuesta trabajo, for example, the interpolation and superimposition of elements of such composers as Bach and Beethoven in a suggestive heterophony borders on caricature; further, the participation of the audience is invited with a persistent ‘sh’. All this is integrated into a process of thematic and instrumental development that evolves through a powerful, controlled aleatorism. In the 1970s Brouwer continued to work on post-serial and aleatory ideas, for instance in La espiral eterna for guitar. But by the 1980s a ‘new simplicity’ had begun to take hold, involving neo-Romantic, minimalist and newly tonal elements. There is a marked lyricism in this third period, the use of varying nuclear cells to generate development, and the return of traditional forms exemplified in works like Canciones remotas, Manuscrito antiguo encontrado en una botella and La región más trasparente.
Cancellieri, Francesco Scrofani (Pianist), Pianist, composer, music critic, teacher and lecturer, he performs concert activity as solo artist in chamber and jazz groups. He collaborates with internationally known musicians. He has made several recordings for Italian and foreign record companies. He wrote the volume “Musica Ridens, humorous expedients in 55 years of compositions” published in 2015 by Zecchini Editore srl.
Campagnolo, Gianluca (Clarinettist), official artist of Buffet Crampon, Vandoren Reed, Lomax Classic Mouthpieces and the Backun Barrels, he has got a considerable artistic activity all over Sicily, in Italy and abroad. As a clarinettist, he has won many National Prizes and has attended various specialization courses. He has taken part in several programmes on private and public networks – as RAI – and in broadcast. He is a composer and a member of SIAE and has published numerous compositions, essays and articles; he has been a member of jury in various National and International Competitions. He has recorded for Centaur, Bongiovanni, Amadeus Arte, Eco, Taukay and published the Complete Method for Clarinet in ten volumes printed by By Bess and the New Complete Method for Clarinet, a publication completely dedicated to the clarinet divided into 12 volumes published by C.D.B. He has also published for Amadeus Arte, Eco, Armelin and Artemide. He has practiced with the Teatro Massimo Orchestra in Catania, the Youth Sicilian Symphonic Orchestra, the Iblea Symphonic Orchestra‘ and the Capita Selecta Hollandian Orchestra. He has taken a course of lectures on the Methodology of the expressive activities to Catania University and on Clarinet to Jakarta Pelita Harapan University and El Salvador University.