Official release: May 2021
“The colors have lost their way to grey”
by Luca Ricci
This music aims at escaping the void, the risk of being unable to say anything more, or the fear of telling what has already been said. It painfully tries to open up a small passage for itself, and to resist, within a sieged space. But even before being able to hear it with the ears, perhaps this music exists already, somewhere, if I manage at least to think it. It is a silent, but an insistent idea; it presses for being realized. It forces me to “read” (as a seer or a diviner would do) within the musical strings’ vibrations, or in those of the sound boxes or of the piano keys, in order to “fore-hear” its development. (Sounds can be perceived even by using one’s fingertips, as was done by Beethoven in his deafness). One needs much patience. It is necessary to wait for the tactile feeling to thicken on paper; for the “tamed” vibrations to let us shape them. (Stravinsky used to say: “It is very important to wait, to know how to wait”). This is the music’s “self-making”: sound divination, craftmanship, an engineer’s rigour, some amateurish approximation (since the inability of reproducing the models inspiring me can sometimes lead to original results…). Thus I leave my existential trace, “impressed” within the sounds I notched, hoping that the performers (and perhaps also the listeners) will in turn be able to do it.
The colors have lost their way to grey, for guitar, takes its title from a graffiti I once saw on a concrete wall in winter 2015. The word “graffito”, in Italian, means also “scratching”. In the first part (, In tempo moderato, ma frenetico.), percussive, scratching and “petrified” sounds become increasingly liquid. They push, aiming at making their way and to “gush” out, fighting the brute force which would like to bring them back inside the wood. Performance techniques amplify the tiny “parasitic” noises which classical guitarists tend to avoid, transforming the guitar into an “alien”, pseudo-electronic drum-machine. In the second part ( Più lento.), the aural “drops” which had precedingly emerged become a flow of fragments alluding to other kinds of music (the serenade, the sixteenth-century Ricercare, rap, techno and flamenco music), between sudden outbursts and electric glares. When the guitar seems to have finally reconquered its voice, all the energy is now dispersed, and the initial aphonia comes back: sounds appear to be “dried”, as in the beginning, and ready for being once more “sucked in” within the instrument’s body.
Breccia nel suono () was commissioned by Alessandro Solbiati for a concert at the 54° Festival Pontino. It is a string trio dedicated to the Italian double-bassist and composer Stefano Scodanibbio (1956-2012): I evoked and appropriated some of his instrumental techniques, making them my own. From the “breach” (“breccia”) opened within the initial wall of sound (the three string instruments fused together), discontinued and ungraspable images spring out, as in a dream-like movie. Rapid glimpses and wide sights follow each other before the listener; at times being turbulent (or slightly catastrophic), at times obsessive and enigmatic. The strings “whisper” and imitate, with glissandos and portamentos, the human voice’s inflections, in a faded evocation of Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals, or possibly of the silent conversations in certain paintings of the Italian Renaissance. In the concluding episode, the three strings have completely lost themselves, rotating around adrift, absorbed within a melancholic meditation.
The Sonata for violin and piano “Intelligenza naturale” () is the enlargement of a piece commissioned for a concert of the Ex Novo Ensemble at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. It is also a failed attempt to grapple with algorithmic composition (i.e. the so-called computer-aided composition, a genre much in vogue today). The few notes I managed to generate with the computer remained “confined” within the central cadenza of the solo violin, while everything else surrounding them is entirely of my own invention. At the Sonata’s beginning, the duo proceeds with an almost robotic/computerized motion: the real instruments imitate the virtual ones, not vice-versa as software engineers attempt to do. The violin appears as an untuned guitar (this refers to the album’s first piece), until the metamorphosis begins. Once the bow is taken up again, the violin becomes itself once more, it evolves, it “humanizes” itself. Then it begins to zigzag volubly, to mock the algorithms, freeing itself from the machine/piano which would like to absorb it. In the finale, the chased and the chaser converge into a sulfurous climax, after which the rebel violin seems to hand itself back to the mechanic-algorithmic domination.
Studio per la sopravvivenza immateriale () is inspired by John Cage’s Freeman Etudes, by the last works by Luigi Nono and by some “visions” by the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi. The word “Etude” (“Studio”) immediately recalls a “didactic” function, while the title’s second half suggests a more metaphoric interpretation. The violinist/tightrope walker, crossing the space separating three rows of music stands (corresponding to the piece’s three sections) slowly comes nearer the listener, attempting to let the music (which is constantly under threat of extinction) survive. The main technical difficulty which the interpreter must overcome is in fact to control the sounds which constantly split apart under the fingers (just as our lives dematerialize themselves in the digital/virtual reality).
The path proceeds by stops, silences, suspensions and new beginnings; a strong and obsessive “delirium” later leads to the concluding Lento amoroso. The conquest of vibrato, on the instrument’s highest pitches, marks the landing to an “unearthly”, though desolate, place. Once the way to the grey has been lost, one goes on walking.
Translation by Chiara Bertoglio
The Italian guitarist Alberto Mesirca was born in 1984. He completed his Bachelor and Master of Arts at the Conservatory of Castelfranco Veneto, in the class of the eminent teacher Gianfranco Volpato, before going on to study with Wolfgang Lendle at the Music Academy of Kassel in Germany. Alberto has a busy performing schedule, working with musicians such as Dimitri Ashkenazy, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Martin Rummel, Domenico Nordio, Marco De Santi, Andras Adorjan, Peter and Jonas Giger and Mirko Satto. He has also collaborated with the Enesco, Ardeo and Acies string quartets, Quartetto d’Archi di Venezia, and Ex Novo Ensemble. Recent seasons have been characterized by intensive periods of concerts performances, lectures and masterclasses around the world. These have taken him to the Guitar Foundation of America Convention, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (where he performed the national premiere of a composition of György Kurtàg, working closely with the composer), Stradivari Foundation, Oxford Chamber Music Festival, Silesian Guitar Autumn in Poland, Festival Classique in The Hague, Lessines ‘Sons intensifs’ Festival, ‘Semana Tarrega’ in Valencia, and Beethoven Festival in Melbourne. Other highlights include the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Teatro Regio in Parma, Auditori Nacional in Valencia, Kunsthalle Wien and the Italian Institutes of Culture in Paris, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Barcelona and San Francisco. Working with Marc Ribot, Alberto recorded the complete guitar works of the Haitian composer Frantz Casséus. Alberto was also responsible for the digitalization and creation of the Musical Archive of the Beyazit Library in Istanbul, Turkey in 2011. In collaboration with Hopkinson Smith and Franco Pavan, Alberto published the previously little-known compositions by Francesco Da Milano which appeared in the Castelfranco Veneto 1565 Lute Manuscript, which are now distributed by Orphee Editions. This re-discovery led Dusan Bogdanovic to write a composition for Alberto on a theme of Da Milano called “Tre Ricercari sulla Compagna”. In 2013 Mesirca gave the world première of a composition written for him by the Cuban composer, guitarist and music director, Leo Brouwer. Alberto has an extensive discography. In 2007 he won the International Guitar Convention in Alessandria’s ‘Golden Guitar’ for ‘Best Recording’ for his disc Ikonostas, winning the same award again in 2013 for his ‘British Guitar Music’ recording with cellist Martin Rummel. The prestigious organisation also judged Mesirca to be ‘Best Upcoming Artist’ in 2009. Alberto’s busy concert schedule in 2018 took him all over Europe, with appearances at the Kuhmo Festival (Finland), Stift Festival (Holland), Sonoro Festival (Romania), Osterkonzerte Dusseldorf (Germany), Ex Novo Festival in Venice (Italy) and Ikebana Festival in Oviedo (Spain). Some of the most recent highlights in Alberto’s engagement diary also include a performance at M.A.C. Milan as part of LaVerdi’s chamber music season, and concertos with the Kasseler Symphonie Orchester, Orchestra d’Archi “Giacomo Facco, musico veneto”, and Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, directed by Marco Angius.
Anna D'Errico: Artist dedicated to the music of our time. She enjoys close working relationships with established and young composers, sharing ideas, premiering new works, and devoting herself to exchanges between art forms and interdisciplinary projects. She has closely worked with composers such as Sciarrino, Lachenmann, Boulez, Aperghis, Furrer, Poppe, Andre, Billone, to name a few.
She has toured worldwide, performing in international venues such as Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall, Wien Modern, Konzerthaus Berlin, Heidelberger Frühling, a.o. She performs as soloist with orchestras including Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale RAI, La Fenice di Venezia, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. Recent collaborations include solo projects with Radio France, Ircam-Centre Pompidou, ZKM Karlsruhe. She is interested in bringing new perspectives to historical repertoire, exploring the possibilities of dialogue with the contemporary. A passionate chamber musician, Anna is founding member of Ensemble Interface, and has collaborated with some of the foremost European new music ensembles. She has recorded for the labels Wergo, Stradivarius, Raccanto, Neos, Ars Publica and CMC Canada.
Myrtille Hetzel: Myrtille Hetzel started out playing cello at the age of five. In addition to piano and harmony studies, she is accepted at the CNSM of Paris in 2007 in Jérôme Pernoo’s class. She gets the CNSM Master of cello in 2011 as well as an improvisation Prize. She has taken advantage of precious advices from P. Muller, X. Gagnepain, R. Nagy, I. Varga. She worked in various formations with C. Désert, M. Moragues, D. Walter, J. Sulem. She has been awarded the second price of Fnapec competition in 2010. She is also regularly invited in the orchestras such as Opéra de Paris, Orchestre National de France. Myrtille Hetzel is dedicated to musical creation and participates in the projects of Ensemble Intercontemporain, Le Balcon… She works closely with theater directors: Y. Beaunesne, B. Lazar, J. Thierrée, M. Menant, J. Candel. His rich and eclectic activities allow him to play across the world. She holds the Master of pedagogy and is member of Itineraire Ensemble.
Marco Fusi is a violinist/violist, and a passionate advocate for the music of our time.
Among many collaborations with emerging and established composers, he has premiered works by Billone, Sciarrino, Eötvös, Cendo and Ferneyhough. Marco has performed with Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Alan Gilbert, Beat Furrer, David Robertson, and frequently plays with leading contemporary ensembles including Klangforum Wien, MusikFabrik, Meitar Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Linea, Interface (Frankfurt), Phoenix (Basel) and Handwerk (Köln).
Marco records for Kairos (Pierluigi Billone – ITI KE MI / Equilibrio.Cerchio), Stradivarius (Salvatore Sciarrino works for violin and for viola; John Cage, Freeman Etudes; Scelsi Collection Vol. 7), Col Legno, Geiger Grammofon.
Marco also plays viola d’amore, commissioning new pieces and collaborating with composers to promote and expand existing repertoire for the instrument.
A strong advocate and educator of contemporary music, he lectures and workshops at Columbia University, University of California – Berkeley, Basel Musikhochschule, New York University, Boston University, Royal Danish Academy of Music – Copenhagen, Cité de la Musique et de la Danse – Strasbourg, University of Chicago.
Marco teaches Contemporary Chamber Music at the Milano Conservatory “G. Verdi” and is Researcher in Music Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.