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Biscione, Cara, Coggiola: Music for Dummies, Contemporary Chamber Music

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  • Artist(s): Camila Salazar Zender, Achrome Ensemble
  • Composer: Alberto Cara, Federico Biscione, Paolo Coggiola
  • EAN Code: 7.46160665757
  • Edition: Da Vinci Classics
  • Format: 1 Cd
  • Genre: Chamber
  • Instrumentation: Ensemble, Soprano
  • Period: Contemporary
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Federico Biscione

Introduzione e moto perpetuo for flute and piano – After a concert at the Conservatory of Trento, in May 2004, the newspaper L’Adige published a review titled “Going beyond postmodernity”. As regards the Introduzione e moto perpetuo, it stated: “In spite of its absolutely traditional language, rich in allusions and references to many figures of the twentieth century, [this piece], by virtue of its extremely balanced formal architecture, provided a moment of absolute aural delight, without falling into a pedantic Neoclassicism”. This is a beautiful sentence, which I would like to translate as follows: today, after everything and its contrary has already been done in music (“postmodernity”), we are now allowed to use any attitude whatsoever (including a certain Neoclassicism) in order to write good new music; by controlling most exactly the musical narrative (i.e. the architecture), it is possible to reach a delightful, rather than a trivial, result. After so many years, I would not be able to write, once more, a music as ultimately naïve as this; however, I am glad that this piece is now being made available on CD, because here I find a root that has not yet finished nourishing the plant I have become, for good or for bad.

Del 1850, for soprano and ensemble – In summer 2011, while I was on holiday on Lake Como, the deadline was approaching for a composition contest in which I had foolishly decided to take part; the contest aimed at celebrating the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. I did not feel like writing a simply encomiastic piece: the history of our country, along with some good things, appeared to me as being also punctuated by greater and lesser misdeeds. However, I saw the birth of our country as the (difficult) transition from adolescence to maturity, as that moment when dream, fantasy and hope are all still possible. Thus I remembered that Nonna Speranza (“Grandmother Hope”) was also the protagonist’s name in a famous poem by Gozzano; by re-reading this celebrated text, I realized that Gozzano’s Decadentism was perfect for describing my feelings about the Italian events. That poem, set at the end of the Risorgimento, cites almost all of the things which defined the Italian cultural identity, i.e. classical literature (Alfieri, Dante), the Settecento vocal music, and “Verdi… Giuseppe”, the greatest representative of Italian opera, whose family name was used as an acronym praising the first King of Italy, cited in turn in the poem as “the young King of Sardinia”. However, everything is immersed in the sad omen of a very long summer dusk – precisely as it was happening in my holiday: in the midst of the secrets between two seventeen-years-old girls, a tragic Goethean Romanticism surfaces (it is not by chance that Nonna Speranza’s friend is named Carlotta). After preparing the lyrics, through opportune cuts, my compositional work proceeded speedily, even though my holidays were sacrificed. I hope that your evaluation of this piece will be more generous than the jury’s, since Del 1850 failed to reach even the second stage of the competition.

Alberto Cara

I wrote the Concertino for Dummies while on holiday. With no other purpose that having some fun.

Perhaps I made a mistake. The mistake of thinking that the things I find amusing should amuse somebody else too. Perhaps, moreover, the piece could have merited the title of Divertimento for Dummies. However, in the end I favoured Concertino: on the one hand, because it mirrors more clearly the piece’s form (a mini-Concerto for piano and ensemble); on the other, because the diminutive suffix (“-ino”), acquires the value of a declaration of poetics. It is the poetics of the weightless, of the easy listening; the head is free from any worries, and the fingers go on, go on…

Of course, listeners undergo a non-negligible stress (naturally; indeed, there is no fun without fatigue): certainly, the “Dummies” are not in the audience! The Dummy is myself, and in my “dumminess” I serenely write things which are so easy to listen to, and yet so hard to play; I enjoy this artifice, like a savage, like a Baroque poet (even a minor one, it’s OK). I aim at taking weight off my discourse. Because in this way I oppose the world, which has too much gravity.

The piece is dedicated to Domenico Scarlatti, who is the joy of human fingers.

4-bis for solo cello is the first tile of a work-in-progress of mine, titled 41-bis. My goal is to write forty-one “short pieces, to be played after obtaining success with more serious music” (this is the subtitle of 4-bis). Leaving irony aside, here sarcasm takes the lead of my imagination. Each of the four pieces targets some of the mannerisms of contemporary music (and in general of contemporary art). Thus, the first piece, Citazionista, has a title which is explicit enough; the second, Modevno, speaks of the wish to “please the young’uns” (though in the meanwhile those “young’uns” have grown old, replaced by other “young’uns”). The third, Mi ha rovinato la Guerra is an annoying piece oscillating between, from the one side, an aesthetics born of the expressionism (the Expressionism’s grand-grand-grand-daughter) and of the language we generally connect to that message, and, from the other, the artificial recovery of a “classical” melodic style. Trendy, the last of the four pieces, assaults us with that feeling of void which generally overcomes us when we accidentally enter an exposition of design (with free admittance).

The readers will ask: do you feel you are above this? Are you perhaps immune from these vices? Of course I am not. I speak of them because I know them well, and I practise them (with the exception of Espressionismo).

Paolo Coggiola

 In these times of suffocating isolation, he who (like a modern Don Quixote) still believes in a shared, clear and comforting form of beauty (which is not the philosophical mask of nothingness), has no other choice than to entrust himself to the waves’ surges, attaching a brief message which could reach those who are still free and favorably disposed, hoping that this will generate unforeseen effects. This might be the meaning of Symphony in a Bottle, with its unquiet and still ironic message; last but not least, it would suggest that bottles, in their most sublime function, are made in order to contain fluids of Dionysian wisdom.

Sull’acqua verde cromo, inspired by a beautiful line by the great Caribbean poet Derek Walcott, might be the preceding piece’s corollary, or its inspiring motif; it proposes the total entrusting of oneself to a liquid dimension of existence, to the watery element, which is life in its most intimate natural expression, liberated from human ugliness. Of course, it might also be a fatal attraction; however, I find in this also the most powerful offering of eros, which is, for me, principally nature, with its continuing and wonderfully senseless circle of death and regeneration.

Camila Salazar Zender is a Peruvian soprano. She graduated at the Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi of Milan; she studied for three years at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música del Perú, winning the first and only place, under the guidance of Maestro Andrés Santa María and of Josefina Brivio. During these years, she worked together with the Coro Nacional del Perú and the Coro del Conservatorio Nacional in several operatic productions, including Monteverdi’s Orfeo playing the role of Euridice. In 2014 she was at the Conservatory of Milan, while participating in concerts and presentations as a soloist in Peru and Italy. In 2019 she performed in the chamber music season at the Sala Piatti in Bergamo with the Achrome ensemble.

Album Notes by Federico Biscione, Alberto Cara, Paolo Coggiola

Translation by Chiara Bertoglio

Artist(s)

Camila Salazar Zender is a Peruvian soprano. She graduated at the Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi of Milan; she studied for three years at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música del Perú, winning the first and only place, under the guidance of Maestro Andrés Santa María and of Josefina Brivio. During these years, she worked together with the Coro Nacional del Perú and the Coro del Conservatorio Nacional in several operatic productions, including Monteverdi’s Orfeo playing the role of Euridice. In 2014 she was at the Conservatory of Milan, while participating in concerts and presentations as a soloist in Peru and Italy. In 2019 she performed in the chamber music season at the Sala Piatti in Bergamo with the Achrome ensemble.

Composer

Alberto Cara, was born in Tivoli in 1975. He completed his piano studies with Eugenio Tani, Riccardo Risaliti, and Boris Petrushanskij, and composition with Federico Biscione, Alessandro Cusatelli, Marco Tutino, and Luis Bacalov. He composed symphonic, chamber and operatic works. In 2007, he wrote Il colore di Cenerentola, fiaba metropolitana in quattro scene on the invitation of Marco Tutino. The opera was co-produced by Turin’s Teatro Regio and Bologna’s Teatro Comunale, and premiered at the Piccolo Regio Laboratorio (Turin) and L’Altrocomunale (Bologna) during the 2007 - 2008 Music Season. The year 2009 has seen the birth of Gli occhi colore del vino, a monologue for actor and seven instruments on his own libretto, freely adapted from the 10th Book of Homer’s Odyssey and first performed by I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano Ensemble. His chamber and symphonic works have been performed in Italy as well as abroad in important seasons like: Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano, Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina, Orchestra sinfonica di Sanremo, Teatro dell’Opera Giocosa di Savona, and Festival such as: Brinkhall summer fest (Turku – Finlandia), Festival Gaulianus (Gozo – Malta), Società di concerti “G.Barattelli” (L’Aquila), Rive Gauche (Torino), Rebus - Occhio al nuovo (Milano), International Saxophone Stage (Fermo). Active arranger/orchestrator, he re-orchestrated and adapted famous operas for As.Li.Co. - Teatro Sociale di Como (Lyric Association of Como) to meet the needs of the theater, as well as other regional venues. This work has resulted in the adaptation of Englebert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel in 2009 (reduction of the original score and metric revision of libretto), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (reduction), and Verdi’s Nabucco, a 2010 co-production of Teatro Sociale di Como and Teatro Regio di Torino, and more recently Verdi’s Aida. In 2013, the Italian Publisher Casa Musicale Sonzogno has commissioned the revision and re-orchestration of Maria di Venosa, a dramma musicale by Francesco D’Avalos for the Festival della Valle d’Itria 40th Anniversary in Martina Franca. In 2018, he published the CD “Symphonic Works” with I Pomeriggi Musicali (Da Vinci Classics).

Federico Biscione seeks in his music to interact with the audience advancing the state-of-the-art: his musical language moves within a free-tonal environment which appeals to contemporaneity and tradition equally. He was born in Tivoli in 1965 and obtained degrees in piano, composition and orchestral conducting at the Conservatory A. Casella in L'Aquila. From 2001 to 2005 he composed music for Turin’s Regio Teatro and Parco della Musica in Rome. He collaborated with the orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan (Dalla soffitta for orchestra, Mozart Today 2005 National Competition First Prizes) and Milano Classica Chamber Orchestra. He has also transcribed and adapted several pieces by other composers, including a new version for seven instruments of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, performed at the Turin’s Regio Teatro in 2006, and a version for string orchestra of Dvorák’s Four Popular Songs op. 73 for the I Pomeriggi Musicali in 2005. At the same time, he wrote and performed at Turin’s Regio Teatro the ballet in 1 act Il Pifferaio Magico, published in 2018 by Da Vinci Classics. Between 2005 and 2007, Biscione lived in Leipzig, where he composed various pieces: Verkündigung for soprano and trio performed in the Thomaskirche and Mozart. Eine Biographie, Windmühlen, both commissioned by the Robert Schumann-Philharmonie (Chemnitz) for the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. The German public radio station Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) dedicated an hour-long program to his music, including interviews and highlights from his works. In the same period, he attended the class of composition at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Hochschulein for one year. At the end of 2009, Biscione moved to Milan and became teacher of composition at the Conservatory Niccolò Piccinni in Bari.

Paolo Coggiola was born in Milan in 1967. He studied with Bruno Bettinelli, Franco Donatoni and Paolo Vaglieri, graduating in composition, choral music and choir direction, as well as graduated in law. He was the winner of the 2 Agosto International Competition in Bologna. His compositions were performed by Arena di Verona Orchestra, I Pomeriggi Musicali, Emilia Romagna Symphonic Orchestra Arturo Toscanini, European Symphony Orchestra, Sentieri Selvaggi at International Art Gallery of Montepulciano, Teatro alla Scala in Milano and into the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York. He wrote two monographs on Franz Schubert and Claude Debussy published both by Skira-Corriere della Sera. In addition for Sonzogno he has published a book about compositional techniques, The Abacus and the Rose. His extensive catalogue of compositions is published by Casa Musicale Sonzogno and Preludio Edizioni. He teaches composition at Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado (Milano).

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