Down the Road is a project born in a heterogeneous way over the years and developed through many recordings made in different and significant places where we had the opportunity to visit thanks to our musical activity. The majority of the compositions were written by contemporary composers who have collaborated and still collaborate with us and come to constitute a sort of personal musical journey through the beauty of these music filtered by our passion and memories.
A GUIDE TO LISTENING
A night in Nashville
There is a street, in the center of Nashville, a city of musicians, with a sequence of nightclubs where country music is performed and one can have a good beer. Getting nearer, one hears fragments of music more and more clearly, until one enters a brouhaha full of styles and influences and listens to the performance of unknown and enthusiastic virtuosos. This piece is a kind of description of this experience, led by the memory of “Take me home, country roads”, and it is dedicated to Eddie Schwartz, who wrote many famous songs between Toronto and Nashville.
This work exemplifies a musical fabric made of daring melodic lines and rhythmical designs, seemingly improvised, but unfolding, in the listener’s ears, with surprising pleasurableness upon a structured and balanced harmonic support. The two instruments face, in a classical ternary form, a complicated – and at the same time fascinating – musical itinerary. It alternates between virtuoso technique (there is, among others, an interesting solo by the sax) and unexpected, softer atmospheres, thanks to the skillful transformation of the initial theme, whose almost jazz-like flavor infuses the piece with befittingly modern notes.
Eumenidum Crines, Five Lyric Fragments
Eumenidum crines solo movere furores (“The locks of the Eumenides produced madness alone”), it is stated in Book Nine of Pharsalia, the marvelous and ferocious poem by the Latin poet Lucan. I was electrified by the spasmodic tension of the language of this poem, which seemingly prefigures a kind of ante-litteram expressionism. It is a strident and strained language, which, at the same time, sounds with exceeding elegance. These traits, combined with the melancholic and suspended feeling proper to archaism, invited me to write a stylized music, though one full of contrasts; mobile, yet with cast-iron (though unbalanced) geometries. In these five fragments, the musical figurations are always aggressive; they stand out and frequently clash ruthlessly with each other, producing a music which is often impulsive, with an unquiet and broken melos. The “modern” sound of the soprano sax, clear though slightly raucous, is perfect in order to create something “ancient” but so close to us. The five fragments bear the following indications: mosso e agitato; rapido; adagio; molto più mosso; rapido e risoluto.
This piece breaths a suffused and delicately nocturnal atmosphere, in the form of a Song without Words, whose title is inspired by the ancient “Gymel”. Similar to it, is presents at its beginning the piece’s main theme, which proceeds in parallel among the two instruments, in a tense melodic élan. Originally conceived for alto saxophone, it was purposefully adapted for various instruments: baritone saxophone, clarinet (bot in A and in B-flat), and eventually for four-hands piano duet.
Luigi Del Prete
This piece has a simple and tripartite structure. Taking the rhythmical substrate typical for the famous Cuban dance as a its reference, the piece offers a version of it attempting to find an interaction between South-American melodic seductiveness and the Italian (or rather Neapolitan) belcanto singing style. It operates a melodic and timbral fusion filtered through the abundance of harmonics and the “vocal” warmth of the soprano sax. The result is a composition centered on a rather expressive than technical kind of performance virtuosity. The melodic aspect merges with the harmonic one, proposing modal scales reminiscent of an idea of archaic folk-like simplicity, which is represented (especially in the central section of the piece) by the use of the Lydian mode. The piano, even in the simplicity of its exposition, does not appear to be a mere spectator; rather, it contributes to the musical discourse with melodic moments in counterpoint with the sax’s melody; in some cases, they nuance it with “tirades” or with arpeggios of open chords.
This piece aims at uniting various aspects of the sonority and musicality of the sax and of the piano. Flashnotes, in fact, is conceived and structured with the purpose of putting both instrument under the spotlight; there is not a unique solo instrument, the saxophone, “accompanied” by the piano. In so doing, both instrumentalists have the role of “soloists”, in a musical blend where the feeling of the duo is particularly intense. Moving from classical to jazz-like sounds, the piece highlights the musical characteristics of the saxophone, an instrument which is best known in jazz music, but also the features of the piano, an instrument employed in all kinds of musical styles. The captivating melody is sustained by an intense harmony, which acquires momentum in the pressing rhythm of the piece’s final section.
Sonata No. 4 Op. 14 No. 1
A single movement, full of aural colours which employ some extended saxophone techniques: tone-bending, pizzicato, multiphonics, circular breathing and flutter tongue. In a virtuoso tour de force, very demanding for both the saxophonist and the pianist, this piece encompasses two main musical ideas: a transformed waltz and a syncopated jazz-theme. The piece opens with a mysterious introduction representing mist, clouds and dreams. Both ideas are developed through extensions and novel transfigurations of a high dramatic power, along with long and tender phrases which are played pianissimo. The piece closes with a solo-saxophone cadenza which offers a last occasion for development, before the piano’s reappearance with a repeated note, delineating the time which is about to run out, dying out in the melancholy of its closing.
Built on the continuing metamorphosis of the musical material, this piece opens with a section with a lyrical character, a jazz-like flavor and a slight melancholy. An intermediate section entrusted to the piano leads us to the piece’s second part, with a very rhythmical and brilliant character. A noteworthy contrast with the initial part is reached, entering an atmosphere rich in influences from pop and Balkan music. The work creates a kaleidoscopic effect and closes with a bright finale in a climax of energy.
Francesco Silvestri: He won the first prize at numerous chamber music competitions, among which the international contests “BRAHMS Chamber Music competition” of Portschach (Austria) and the “Premio Città di Caltanissetta” (member of the WFIMC, World Federation of the International Music Competitions of Geneva). He performed throughout Europe and in Australia, invited by important institutions such as the Teatro Lingotto of Turin, the Accademia Ducale of Genoa, Arts Academy and Agimus of Rome, Consulate of Lithuania in Naples, Teatro Vittorio Emanuele in Messina, Teatro Rendano, Teatro Morelli, Teatro Comunale of Modica, Liceo delle Arti of Baiamare, University of the Arts in Berlin, Cultural Institute of Carpentras, Teatro El Musical of Valencia. He is the protagonist of a live recording for the Bayerischer Rundfunk of Munich (2004) and he recorded for RAI 3 (2007). He was born in Vibo Valentia and studied at the Conservatories of Vibo Valentia, Rome, Brescia and Reggio Calabria obtaining diplomas in piano, harpsichord, chamber music and music pedagogy. He has been a piano accompanist at the International Competition “Valentino Bucchi” of Rome (in 2000) and, since 1993, he cooperates with solo musicians of the most prestigious Italian orchestras, as well as with soloists of international renown, including Fabrizio Meloni, Francesco Bossone, Domenico Nordio, Davide Formisano, Mario Marzi, Jean-Claude Gérard, Adriana Ferreira, Ludimila Peterkova, and many others. He taught at the State Conservatories of Trieste, Rovigo and Trapani; currently he teaches Chamber Music for Music Pedagogy at the Conservatory of Vibo Valentia.
Giovanni De Luca: Graduated with the highest score at the Conservatory “Stanislao Giacomantonio” of Cosenza, his city of birth, under the mentorship of M° Paolo Trampetti.
Later he completed his studies under the prestigious guidance of M° Mario Marzi, Claude Delangle, Fabrice Moretti. A laureate at numerous national and international competitions, he has given numerous concerts as a soloist, in duo with piano or with accordion, and in a quartet of saxophones, proposing, on numerous occasions, the premieres of works dedicated to him.
In 2014, he performed in a live streaming broadcast for the publishing house “Preludio Music” of Milan. Along with his activity as a concert musician, he teaches in State schools and in State-recognized Institutions.
He presently works at the State Conservatory of Cosenza as a tutor for sax. Among the most recent productions he recorded, together with accordionist Tommaso Arena, an album entirely dedicated to Richard Galliano (“Omaggio a Galliano”) published by MediaLand of Catanzaro.
He is particularly interested in the new expressive languages, and he gave a series of concerts in Italy in 2019 performing stage music in unusual ensembles.
TWO for NEW duo: Established in 2011 with the purpose of undertaking cross-itineraries encompassing pieces of contemporary classical music, popular repertoire, jazz standards, as well as the traditional repertoire for this ensemble. Being particularly attentive to the new compositional trends, both musicians (who are laureates at national and international competitions) are the dedicatees of numerous pieces. Among the composers who wrote for them are Federico Biscione, Alberto Cara, Paolo Coggiola, Hache Costa (ESP), Alessandro Cusatelli, Luigi Del Prete, Sandro Fazzolari (CAN), Lorenzo Ferrero, Carlo Galante, Armando Ghidoni, Alessandro Lucchetti, Lodi Luka (ALB), Patrizio Marrone, Vincenzo Palermo, Vincenzo Sorrentino, Giampaolo Testoni. The duo recorded the following two albums: “I dischi del MEM” for PreludioMusic of Milan and “Viaggio nella Musica del Novecento” for MediaLand of Catanzaro. TWO for NEW have an intense performance activity taking place in Italy and abroad (Croatia, France, Spain, USA and Canada). Among the most prestigious places where they have performed there is the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique in Strasbourg, within the framework of the World Saxophone Congress, the Conservatory of Zagreb, the Theatres “Paco Rabal” and “El Torito” of Madrid, the Conservatorio profesional of Getafe, the Department of Music at the University Alfonso X El Sabio of Madrid, the Italian Culture Institutes of Montreal and Los Angeles. Some important performances of the duo TWO for NEW were broadcast on Radio Classica within the programme “Top Ten” by the music critic Ciammarughi (October 7-19, 2015).
Lodi Luka: Composer, pianist and conductor, Lodi Luka was born in Shkoder (Albania) in 1980 in a musicians family. He performed for various institutions, associations and concert seasons (Opera House of Tirana, Shkoder’s Migjeni Theatre, House of Music and Theatre Rendano of Cosenza, Theatre of the University of Calabria, University of Fine Arts in Graz (Austria), Municipal Theatre “Luigi Russolo” of Portogruaro, Puccini Hall of the Conservatory of Milan, Week of Albanian Culture at Villa Litta Lainate, Sebino Summer Festival, Festival of Montalto Uffugo Leoncavallo, Rendese Festival September, the Italian Embassy in Albania etc.).
As a composer prefers a communicative language that is influenced by the traditional music and contemporary music, without forgetting its Balkan roots.
He is the author of two chamber operas: Io e l’altro (Me and the other), loosely based on a short story by Borges and Il Sogno (The Dream) of a libretto by Enrico De Luca.
He collaborates as conductor with the chamber orchestra “I musici di Parma”, with Milano Music Simphony orchestra, with the Italian Harps Orchestra and the contemporary music ensemble “L’ Altro Ensemble” wich he founded.
He started studying the piano at the music school in his hometown when he was six, and received his Diploma in 1998 from the College of Music “Prenke Jakove” in Shkoder. Since then he has been living in Italy, receiving a Piano Diploma from the Milan Conservatory, a Diploma in Composition, a master degree in Music Education and a master degree in Piano Teaching from the Conservatory in Cosenza. Among the many teachers who have guided his musical studies: the pianist Aldo Ciccolini, composers Vincenzo Palermo, Elisabetta Brusa and Luis Bakalov and conductors Pietro Mianiti e Ovidiu Balan.