Official release: May 2021
To speak about the music by Domenico Famà, a young but already well-known Sicilian musician, means to speak about a world of references which brings us closer to the great art of the early twentieth century. This composer’s sources of inspiration are manifold. Before becoming a composer, indeed, he began a felicitous path as an instrumentalist and performer (he is in fact an excellent guitarist and orchestra conductor). The matter of which sounds are made is therefore not alien to him. He is familiar with the actual “doing” of those who shape the sounds, beyond thinking them and turning them into language. His is therefore a multifaceted personality, and he thinks about music as constituting the crossroads of suggestions, a melting pot of horizons allowing different Times to meet beyond Time. His main source of inspiration is twentieth-century French music; almost all of the works recorded here are indebted to that cultural world. It is important, in this preliminary stage, to clarify that it is not a process of imitation. Being a true Sicilian, Famà preserves the deep ideals of Greek culture and philosophy in his consciousness as a man rooted in Magna Graecia. Art is channelled through the practice of poetry; as Plato and Aristotle teach us, it is mimesis, but it is also accompanied by mathesis, i.e. learning and knowledge. It is not, therefore, a model to re-propose, but rather an aesthetic affinity which becomes a personal possession, an ideal and stylistic signature to which one should refer. The music by Fauré, Debussy, Falla is the track, the suspended rope on which Domenico walks in balance. This path is indeed all but easy, because it is always threatened by the risk of clichés and déjà-vu. Only by totally adhering to this poetic dimension, one finds – as in fact happens – expressive originality and authenticity.
Getting to his writing, we find, from the very first piece in this programme, a backwards leap in time, declared already in its title and form, i.e. the Sonata per flauto e pianoforte “Fragments de temps”. The composer believes that he can recover time past and lost in a fragmentary form, which is never entirely present; however, it suffices to our emotionality for re-evoking the colours of that world. All this is nicely embodied since the inception of the Sonata’s very first movement, opening with an Introduction which is also used as the second movement’s cornerstone. The climate of mystery and waiting, grounded on a melodic fragment (E-F#-G-G#) on which the entire building is structured, dissolves itself into the diatonicism of the Allegro molto, quasi presto. It is impossible not to find, in this work, the elegance and lightness of certain textures by Poulenc and Ibert.
If possible, references become even more explicit in the two pieces by the title of Due impressioni parigine. Here, the composer expressly alludes, in the two titles, to the legendary figure of the Montmartre painter, Maurice Utrillo, as well as to two of his paintings. One of them, a youthful work, has a “fauve” inspiration (La porte Saint Martin), while the other is more intimate and complex (Métamorphose de la folie). These two movements are starkly contrasted, just as are the two paintings to which they are inspired. The piano’s continuous and flowing movement sustains and develops, in a coloristic sense, the flute’s melody in the former piece; in the latter, a more articulated, meditative and fragmented structure represents the introspective element proper to the style of the French painter’s last period.
In clear continuity with the Sonata’s atmosphere and with the use of the flute (an instrument evidently cherished by the composer), Famà takes on shorter and less structured forms, aiming at the impression’s efficacy, and letting the transparency of Vinteuil’s music resound, in an ideal which is reminiscent of Proust.
A Sonatina for flute and guitar – Lumières dans l’obscurité – represents the composer’s homage to Baudelaire’s poetry, and in particular to the famous Albatross in which the poet’s condition is metaphorically told. The composer’s writing is characterized, in the first section (after the introduction, Grave oscillando, quasi recitativo, with its metaphysical tone) by a dialectical relationship between rhythmical elements and a liquid scoring. This is interrupted by the powerful suspension of the Danse du Bourreau, a moment in which both instruments proceed homorhythmically, side by side, marking the passing of time. Yet another homage to Baudelaire’s poetry is found in the two works for soprano and piano, Petite chanson and Rêverie. These songs were conceived as a homage to Gabriel Fauré; their specificity lies in the fact that the composer wrote lyrics of his own, freely inspired precisely by the Fleurs du mal. Both works mirror the composer’s attention to the word, and the voice is accompanied in its lines by a static harmony, exalting its inflections.
In the last two pieces, Fragmentos and Metamorphosis, we find the composer paying homage to two figures he cherished, and who were his first sources of inspiration; this happened at a dawning stage of his art, when he was discovering his own instrument. These two figures’ names are connected to the guitar literature, and, in the latter case, also to the composer’s biography. The former is Manuel de Falla, who composed the famous Homenaje, evoked here through a work with a markedly introspective component. The latter is Angelo Gilardino, the composer’s teacher, who inspired a piece with a more extroverted character, one rich in contrasts, grounded on the alternation between meditative and more energetic moments.
Although this is the fruit of a decade-long activity, Famà’s palette is large, and includes different instrumental fields and diverse forms. In all stages of this first creative period, this young artist puts in play his extraordinary evocative ability, and authoritatively shows how deeply his poetic vein is nourished by art and history.
Album Notes by Luigi Attademo
Alfredo D’Urso: Born in Catania, he graduated in classical guitar at Conservatorio L. Refice in Frosinone. He attended courses with A. Ferraro, A. Company and A. Gilardino and he won the 2nd prize in the chamber music competition A.M.A. Calabria and 3rd prize for contemporary music in the same competition. He carries out an intense concert activity in Italy and abroad (France, Belgium, Spain) always obtaining excellent appreciation from national and foreign critics. He has recorded a double CD with the complete works for two guitars by F. Sor and a contemporary works CD by the composer A. Aprile. He also collaborates with the Orchestra a Plettro in Taormina as first guitar. He graduated with full marks at Accademia Musicale Pescarese and also graduated with honors in Music Disciplines at Conservatorio A. Scontrino in Trapani. Specialized in the performance of contemporary music, he performed music by Petrassi, Berio, Donatoni, Henze, Persichetti, Stockhausen and Britten. He is guitar teacher at Liceo Musicale T. Colonna in Catania.
Enrico Luca: He began studying flute at Conservatorio V. Bellini in Catania with Elena Favaron, graduating with full marks. He studied with Angelo Persichilli, Roberto Fabbriciani, Salvatore Vella, Giampaolo Pretto, Patrick Gallois, Jacques Zoon, Mario Caroli, Michele Marasco and Laura Pontecorvo. He was a guest artist in several contemporary music recordings such as Per Francesco Pennisi and 12 compositions around Bellini; Arrè and C'era cu c'era by Lautari; the soundtrack of The Man Who Loves; the album Elettra and the live dvd Eva Contro Eva by Carmen Consoli with whom he participated in the tour From Simeto to the Thames. He collaborates with the Offerta Musicale Ensemble, with the SìBarÓ Baroque Orchestra and in duo with the harpsichordist Luca Ambrosio.
He deepened the study of ancient music at Scuola Civica Claudio Abbado in Milan with Marco Brolli.
Giulia Mazzara: Graduated with full marks and honors in opera singing at Conservatorio V. Bellini in Catania with Giuseppa Sofia, she carries out an intense concert activity in Italy and abroad. She debuted the role of Barbarina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and as a soloist in Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. She worked with Coro Lirico Siciliano performing in the most important theaters in Macao, Tianjin and Harbin (China). She has participated in numerous opera productions including Verdi's Aida, Orff's Carmina Burana, Ramirez's Misa Criolla, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Gounod's Faust. She also debuted in the role of Damon in Händel's Acis and Galatea with the ensemble Il Cimento Armonico. She founded the Duo Arabesque specializing in the performance of the historical and new repertoire for voice and guitar. Since 2020 she has been a member, as a soloist, of the Orfeo Chamber Orchestra. She won first prizes in several international musical competitions and appeared in the Italian magazine Seicorde. She is the dedicatee of many contemporary compositions: among these Rèverie and Petite Chanson by Domenico Famà, all published by Da Vinci Publishing.
Giulia Russo: Graduated with full honors, recording production prize and printing dignity at ISSM Bellini in Catania with M. Schillaci, she obtained the Piano Master degree and the Music Disciplines Master Degree. She took part, as a soloist and in chamber music ensembles, in several international competitions, obtaining in all of them first absolute prizes and special mentions. She held numerous concerts, receiving flattering acclaim from public and critics. She performed at the Mozarteum and at the Wiener Saal in Salzburg, in Rivalta Scrivia within the Up to Penice Festival and Milano Piano City 2019. She performed with orchestra the Third Beethoven Piano Concerto in Riposto. She is often engaged as an accompanying pianist at Teatro Massimo V. Bellini in Catania, at Teatro Garibaldi in Modica and she works with Coro Lirico Siciliano. She attended courses with Delle Vigne, Canino, Achùcarro, Lupo, Lucchesini, Egorova. Currently she is attending a chamber music specialization course in Florence with P. N. Masi.
Stefania Sgroi: She began studying flute at 10 years old and graduated with Elena Favaron at Conservatorio V. Bellini in Catania with full marks and honors. In 2011 she obtained, at the same institute, the Bachelor in Musical Disciplines with full marks and honors. She has participated in numerous international competitions, always bringing back excellent prizes. She attended courses with Salvatore Vella, Angelo Persichilli, Giovanni Roselli, Andrea Oliva, Giampaolo Pretto, Maurizio Simeoli and Nicola Mazzanti. She also carries out an intense concert activity in chamber music groups and in orchestra and she is principle flute teacher at Liceo Musicale Angelo Musco in Catania.
Domenico Famà: Polyhedric musician, Domenico is an Italian classical guitarist, conductor and composer.
He graduated in classical guitar with full marks at Conservatorio Stanislao Giacomantonio in Cosenza with Pietro Morelli and Orazio Carrara and then he became pupil of the guitarist/composer Angelo Gilardino in Vercelli. He graduated in conducting with Gilberto Serembe at the Italian Conducting Academy in Milan and studied composition with Enrico Dibennardo. He also achieved the Bachelor in Music Pedagogy in Catania with full marks and honors and attended courses with Luigi Attademo, Guido Salvetti, Lucio Matarazzo, Giulio Tampalini, Fabio Federico e Gaelle Solàl. In 2018 he debuted as conductor in Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini in Catania, special guest in a symphonic concert including works by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi and Bellini. In 2020 he founded in Catania the Orfeo Chamber Orchestra, working on several baroque and classical productions such as the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi for Associazione Mozart Italia. Appreciated interpreter of XX and XXI century guitar solo repertoire, he is the dedicatee of several new compositions for guitar - including Capriccio Etneo (Bèrben 2014) by Angelo Gilardino - giving the first performances. Absolute winner of many national and international musical performance competitions he carries out an intense concert activity throughout Italy, performing regularly on behalf of important musical organizations including Fondazione Taormina Arte, Teatro Rendano (Cosenza), Palazzo Cavagnis (Venezia), DocBi Centro Studi (Biella), Festival Ville Vesuviane (Napoli), Fondazione Teatro Garibaldi (Modica), Noto Musica Festival, Associazione Mozart Italia (Modica), Associazione Jervolino (Caserta), Teatro Donna Fugata (Ragusa), S.C.A.M. (Catania), Associazione Ricercare (Cuneo), Magazzino Musica (Milano), Vittorio Guardo Chamber Music Festival (Siracusa), Società Italiana Dante Alighieri (Catania). Active in chamber music, he is part of the baroque ensemble Il Cimento Armonico with which he made his debut as baroque guitarist in the production of the opera Acis and Galatea by G. F. Händel; he also plays regularly with the violinist Salvatore Domina, first violin of the Teatro Massimo in Catania, with the guitarist Alfredo D’Urso and with the soprano Giulia Mazzara. As composer, since 2011 he has been writing original music for various chamber ensembles - already publicly performed in different Italian concert seasons and favorably received by critics - including the Sonata for flute and piano Fragments de temps (2013), Due Impressioni parigine for flute and piano (2014), Sonatina for flute and guitar Lumières dans l’obscurité (2015), Rêverie (2018) and Petite Chanson (2020) for soprano and piano, all published by the international record label OMK Da Vinci Publishing in Osaka. In 2020 he wrote Due Ritratti per chitarra, published by the label Achille e La Tartaruga in Turin, awarded with five stars on the Italian magazine Seicorde. Since 2012 he has been the artistic director of Promethéus, with which, every year, he organizes a concert season, collaborating with the Department of Culture in Catania. He writes for the cultural magazine Incontri. La Sicilia e l’altrove and for the Italian magazine Dotguitar. Appeared several times in the Italian magazine Seicorde for his performances of contemporary music, he is the author of a biographical book dedicated to Angelo Gilardino and his guitar school. Winner of national competitions for teaching in 2016, he is principal guitar teacher at Liceo Musicale Turrisi Colonna in Catania and external teacher at Conservatorio Stanislao Giacomantonio in Cosenza.