Cecilia Vettorazzi: Eia Carmeli
For many years now, my compositional interests focus on the great Carmelite mystical writers, such as Therese of Avila, John of the Cross and others. They left a very structured and ordered teaching, in which one can find a path leading the soul to communion with the Creator. Their writings have inspired my music even when it was purely instrumental. This organ piece attempts to transfigure into sounds an ancient hymn, Eia Carmeli, which is particularly treasured by the Carmelite Order. The notes of the Gregorian chant are hidden in the midst of the organ texture in a fashion similar to an underground river, which, from time to time, appears at the surface, generating richer and richer harmonies, freer and freer rhythms and phrases, until it reaches the piece’s heart, an intense and contemplative moment. At first, the sounds of the ancient hymn are clearly recognizable, while later they are intermingled with new elements, giving life to an enriched musical pattern on which they proceed, dialoguing as if in a dance.
Thomas Lacôte: Études pour orgue: Quilisma
Quilisma is one of the 6 Organ Studies by Thomas Lacote, and it was commissioned by Printemps des orgues d’Angers with the support of Sacem. The first performances took place on May 3, 2015 in the Cathedral of Angers by the finalists of the Grand Prix d’orgue Jean-Louis Florentz. The idea of this Study is based on two suggestions: the particular sonorities of the Cavaillé-Coll Organ of the Trinity Church in Paris and the sound research related to the quilisma (a special transitional note typical of Gregorian Chant).
The quilisma is characterized by a particular kind of sound emission, similar to a slight natural vibration. At first glance, this kind of sound is in antithesis with the sound emission of the organ, but it’s the starting point for an original sound research whereby the composer creates in different ways an inner movement in the held sounds of the organ. This kind of writing exploits as well all dynamic resources and all organ extension.
Cristian Gentilini: Cromosfera
Cromosfera, a work composed for a keyboard instrument, is an aural commentary to Perfezione (2001), a visual work by the Bolognese artist Giuliano Giuliani, consisting of a red sphere with a radius of 80 centimeters.
This installation is found in the middle of a small, semi-circular wooden amphitheatre, in the garden of the villa “Ca’ Vecchia”, nearby Crespellano (Bologna), where it can be observed against the background of the entire Padan Plain.
Cromosfera symbolically concentrates into a few minutes’ time the cyclical contemplation of this artwork, from sunrise to sunset.
Through a series of processes, the work’s formal features become just as many cornerstones of the musical composition’s structure and harmony.
In particular, the visible spectrum – from the ultraviolet to the infrared – becomes the keyboard’s range (originally conceived for a harpsichord with a range F0-F5); within this segment, the red colour is found in correspondence of the semitone G#-A, whence the trill originates (vibration of the light).
From here, within a few measures, a series of arpeggios encompasses the entire visible spectrum, similar to the white light.
The work continues with the compression of harmonies – starting from the layering of ninths, through sevenths, sixths, fifths, fourths and thirds, down to the lowest sound, the limit of the visible, but also the absence of light, the blackest darkness.
The geometry of the sphere dictates both form and duration: the radium of 80 centimeters becomes the metronome value for the quaver, while the sphere’s volume determines the piece’s duration up to the point of arrival, on the lowest note; thence the work is reborn, for theoretically infinite repetitions.
In the organ version created by Marco Cortinovis, the expansion and contraction of harmony are widened and emphasised by the organ registration.
Bruno Rattini: Infiniti mondi
Infiniti Mondi is born from the visionary words Giordano Bruno wrote in 1584: “Thus there is not merely one world, one earth, one sun, but as many worlds as we see bright lights around us, which are neither more nor less in one heaven, one space, one containing sphere than is this our world in one containing universe, one space or one heaven.” (From On the Infinite, the Universe and the Worlds). How did Giordano Bruno imagine the worlds he so bravely described? Which force urged him to divulge a deranged vision of the human being in the cosmos, that cost him his life? I tried to relive the concept of eternal precence of places and times in a few instances of sounds vibrations. “To see a World in a Grain of Sand, and a Heaven in a Wild Flower, hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour” once wrote William Blake. Two hypnotic themes of twelve and four notes, a superimposition of a binary and a ternary tempo, a three chords harmony leads to a progressing crescendo, culminating in an extreme, impossible attempt to embrace a marvelous Whole, the Absolute in which we sometimes try to dissolve.
Éric Lebrun: Sonata sacra Op. 16
The Sonata Sacra for Organ was commissioned by Pierre Lacroix for the Comminges Festival. In the early 2000s, when I was immersed in the composition of my 20 Mysteries of the Rosary, I had the idea to write three of these Mysteries for Organ. These pieces had to form a whole, like a Biber violin Sonata. These Sonata is made up of the Annunciation, a vehement evocation of the Christian history that begins, the Ascension, based on two distinct motifs and on numerical symbols, and the Assumption, which was inspired by the very beautiful stained glass windows of the sacristy of the Notre-Dame de Lorette church in Paris. This work was premiered at St Bertrand de Comminges Cathedral and then in Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral before being performed in New York and in Chicago too.
Marco Uvietta: Ben ove sembri, ebbro me vinse
Ben ove sembri, ebbro me vinse, composed by Marco Uvietta (b. 1963) in 2013, is the result of a close cooperation with Simone Vebber, which started in 2011 with Stop Time Spinning for organ and string orchestra. In fact, the work’s title is a double anagram of the organist’s name. The work, like the anagram, is based on various assembling processes using the same elements; this is done, however, not following structuralist criteria, but rather attempting to constantly create new syntactical units, with a meaning and an expressive continuity of their own. Being free from all extramusical content, this work resumes the tradition of seventeenth-/eighteenth century counterpoint, without, at the same time, aiming at either neo-Baroque or post-modern resurrections. Without renouncing complexity, Ben ove sembri, ebbro me vinse attempts a reconciliation of counterpoint and harmony, whose unity had been dissolved by the avantgarde; it intentionally moves away from both the serial principles employed to organize pitch and from a texture by zone. The polyphonic layering, instead, results from the harmonic coordination of obligato parts, built on the basis of rigorous principles, and managed thanks to a flexible, poly-pentaphonic system.
MARCO CORTINOVIS: Born in Bergamo, 1983, he had studied organ with Andrea Macinanti and he has graduated in Organ and Organ Composition at the Conservatory “G. Frescobaldi” of Ferrara (Italy). He won the First Prize at the organ class of Frédéric Désenclos in the Conservatory of Orléans (France). He participated in interpretation masterclasses with Marie-Claire Alain, Eric Lebrun, Joris Verdin. As soloist, he performed concerts in several organ festivals all around Europe. Programs are often dedicated to Italian organ music of the XXth century and to contemporary organ music. 2018 and 2019 he had performed the 10 Organ Symphonies of Charles-Marie Widor in several concerts in Croatia, France, Italy and Swisse in a project shared with the organist Simone Vebber. In 2011 he founded in Paris the ensemble Voix Cèlestes, to discover and to spread French Sacred Music of the XIXth and XXth centuries, performing concerts around Paris and in French Sacred Music Festivals. In 2011 Abbaye de Royaumont (France) commissioned to him the composition of an organ work for a choreography of Erica Di Crescenzo, Etude pour la Sainteté, performed in various theaters in France and in Italy. From 2014 he takes part with the trumpet player Alessandro Stella in the project Playing so Munch, where musical and visual arts interact and develop together the themes that the Norwegian painter, with original pieces and improvisation. In 2014 he founded with the pianist Matteo Corio the ensemble Affinità Divergenti, performing the original organ and piano repertory in several Italian festivals. He has played in several productions with the Cappella Musicale of the the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilique of Bergamo (I) under the direction of F.M. Bressan and with the Choir of the Donizetti Foundation (I) under the direction of Corrado Rovaris. He has recorded some of these projects for the Italian labels Bottega Discantica and Classica dal Vivo. From 2009 he’s organist in the Cathedral of Bergamo (Italy) and organ teacher in Accademia Santa Cecilia in the same city.
Simone Vebber, was born in Trento, 1983. He has studied Ancient Organ with L. Ghielmi and in the Accademia Internazionale di Musica in Milan. He graduated in Organ, Piano (cum laude) at the Conservatory “F. A. Bonporti” of Trento (Italy), and he received the “Diplome de Concert” at the Schola Cantorum of Paris, studying with J. P. Imbert and he had the First Prize with P. Pincemaille at the class “Organ Improvisation” at the CNR of Saint-Maur (Paris). He participated in the Interpretation Masterclasses with L.Lohmann, J. C. Zehnder, Bine Bryndorf, Brett Leighton, and P. D. Peretti. He won 1st Prize in Alessandria - Italy, in Pistoia – Italy, 1st Grand Prize and Public Prize at the “J. S. Bach Organ Competition” in Saint Pierre lès Nemour – France in 2005, 1st Prize at the “J.J.Fux” international organ competition in Graz 2010 (A), and the “J.S. Bach Prize” at the St. Albans Competition 2011. He has recorded for Suonare Records, Radio Vaticana, Diapason Edition, Mascioni, ORF and Discantica. He played concert in many Organ Festival (Wien,Tokyo, Riga, Paris, Milan, Rome, Warsaw, Rio de Janerio, etc.) He played as soloist with important orchestras like the Mozart Orchestra condacted by Claudio Abbado.