In my story as a composer, the flute has always had a special role. I always thought that the flute was among the instruments which were better suited to my writing style, which is constantly oriented toward the quest for a magical, artful and monstruous visionary approach (through double sounds, voices, cries and words pronounced into the instrument etc.).
Since my boyhood I have been powerfully influenced by the idea of the flute as it is described in Greek myths. The god Pan, a monstruous, very quick and ungraspable divinity, with horns, beard and a goat’s tail, chased nymphs while playing the flute. A god who, through the flute, elicits fear, fascination, and surprise.
I hat the possibility and the privilege to cooperate, through the years, with many flutists of different nationality, including some of international standing and fame, who are famously active in contemporary music. But in these last years I had the good fortune to know, through the realization of several diverse projects, an extraordinary flutist, with a luminous technique, and a particular, natural sensitivity, inclined to the consideration of music-making as an event which is, for the listener, always surprising and breathtaking. To entrust to Andrea Biagini one’s work for the flute means to have the possibility of discovering, within the composition, a hidden dramaturgy, an unknown path which is eventually unveiled, like a small miracle. I believe that a great performer’s main characteristic is precisely that of being able to shape the music written by others, dragging it inexorably to his or her own world, just as a hungry predator drags the wounded prey into his lair. I will never be able to adequately thank Andrea Biagini for having realized, with power and determination, this collection of my works for the flute. Written at different moments, which are far from each other in time, they represent my life.
Fabrizio de Rossi Re, the cosmonaut
by Renzo Cresti
Excerpted from Musica Presente, Ed. LIM Lucca 2019
The cosmonaut, or the traveller in the musical universe
It is difficult to frame the working and the work of an absolutely extraordinary genius musician such as de Rossi Re. He is extraneous to all predetermined paths, he is a kind of a cosmonaut journeying around the world (of music) with very sensitive antennae, ready to grasp every acoustic, sonorous, gestural, resonating, echoing stimulus, found in ambience and in psyche, rumbling in one’s soul, and, at the same time, emphatic – but deeply perceptible in one’s interior silence. De Rossi Re’s artistic itinerary is marked by a substantial openness, embracing diversified artistic experiences. They are then united in a style with many forms and many perspectives, but also with a precise focus. At times it looks to some research experiences, at time at a direct way of communicating. Theatrical works (but not just these) are the favoured terrain for a multiplicity which becomes a subject, like a Cesare Lombroso of 2001 and onwards. This all belongs to a modus operandi which knows neither boundaries nor definitions, well before the so-called contaminations, and well beyond fusion or world music. It is a music creating a new world, or rather contemplating the world from afar, as it is, mixed in a thousand situations, in unlikely contexts, in vacillating phases. His eye is trained to look both right and left, to things with different origins and quality. De Rossi Re is the astronaut observing the world from afar, but later lands on it. From his observation, he learnt how great is the confusion reigning here below. He transfigures it into confusion, seeking a form in it.
Direful Monster (whose skin cling, to his strong bones). Dedicated to Manuel Zurria. Ed. Hal Leonard-Ricordi
Direful Monster is freely inspired by a poem by William Blake taken from the famous Poetical Sketches of 1783, where the seasons and the stars become human figures, and the winter is a “direful monster, whose skin clings / to his strong bones”. The piece describes the monster’s heartbreaking voice within the framework of an icy, terrible and black winter.
Salse per gru, anatre, pernici, tortore, colombacci, colombi e diversi uccelli. Dedicated to Antonio Politano
Marco Gavio Apicio (25 b.C. – ? ) is considered the best cooking expert of ancient times. He devoted his life to cooking refinements; later, as is testified by Seneca, he was reduced to poverty, and he committed suicide because he was prevented from continuing his previous way of life. In this piece, it is just Apicio’s voice that describes to the listeners one of his (own) recipes taken from “de re coquinaria”. The atmosphere celebrates the magnificent decline of Rome and recalls Trimalcione’s banquet as is described in Petronio’s Satyricon.
Studi di nuvole. Dedicated to Lauren Weiss. Ed. Edipan
Freely inspired by the Wolkenstudien by Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl (1788 – 1848).
Fulmini – Ed. Semar
Inspired by De Rerum Natura by Titus Lucretius Carus
…transit enim validum fulmen per saepta domorum, clamor ut ac voces… (Powerful lightning runs through the walls of our homes, as the voice and sound…) Liber VI cfr.228-238 Splendida porro oculi fugitant vitantque tueri (Our eyes avoid and flee too bright a glow) Liber IV cfr.324-326
Heiser, il flautista ventriloquo. Dedicated to Andrea Biagini
Most oracles of paganism were skilled priests and were able to speak with the stomach. The pythoness who put Saul and Samuel in dialogue seems to have been a shrewd ventriloquist. Mr. Dupont, a military surgeon, observed that a man named Heiser had this marvelous voice; he had become a ventriloquist at the age of twelve after smallpox. Heiser, an excellent flutist, was tthen wenty-seven years old. He was married, although he was not very inclined by temperament to fulfill his conjugal duties (if he fulfilled them, he lost his second voice). Having given himself to masturbatory onanism, before marriage, he realized he was losing his second voice. He regained it by completely ceasing the practice of masturbation. In order to speak easily with his second voice, Heiser needed to apply a compression point to his left side between the ribs. He usually used a stuffed fox with which he pretended to converse. If he wanted to produce distant and mysterious sounds he would lower himself by leaning on the fox as if to listen. (…) Dr. Dupont later discovered that the voice of the ventriloquist was formed inwardly in the space between the sternal extremities of the third and fourth rib, at the precise point of union with the cartilaginous part.
Heiser could play the flute and meanwhile sing sweet melodies with his stomach. Information taken from “Rare cases of medicine: Essay of Dr. Francis Fournier de Pescay (1771 – 1850?).
Paracelso – Ed. Edipan
Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim (1493 – 1541) know by the name of Paracelsus, is very much the central controversial figure, so typical and extraordinary of Renaissance Magic and Therapeutics. From the hermetic conception (man as a microcosm, a mirror of the Universe-macrocosm) he developed a highly personal vision of the world, strongly marked by a magical conception of reality. The composition takes its inspiration from “Treatise on Nymphs, Sylps, Pygmies, Salamanders and other beings”, excerpted from Paracelsus’ Writings upon Alchemy and Magic. It is a grotesque and paradoxical journey, full of monstrous creatures and animated by their voices: an entertaining menage of sound, almost a perfect musical illustration of the paintings of Bosch or Arcimboldi.
NB: The speaker of Paracelso is Alessandro Rossi with Stefania Mecchi (The Nymph’s Voice) and Fabrizio de Rossi Re (the Giant’s Voice). Produced and realized at Edipan Studio, Rome. Digital editing, electronic elaboration and sound direction by Maurizio Giri. Dramaturgy and texts by Fabrizio de Rossi Re.
De Senectute I° (Homo Sapiens e la Notte di Natale 1960) – Rai.com
It’s a journey into the voices of old age. The future is open to imagination, to hope, and no longer belongs to the elderly. The elderly live in the memory of a past that fades and changes day after day. He sometimes drowns in deep bitterness and survives only in the distant memory that seemed buried and that re-emerges mercilessly. HOMO SAPIENS : The old man curses, shouting in the wind “this piece of shit…”. (Then he suddenly cries thinking that with the arrival of Homo Sapiens the ruin of humanity has begun… an extreme, paradoxical and excruciating consideration).
CHRISTMAS NIGHT 1960 : another old man thinks back to his parents… he remembers a distant family Christmas Eve: “Fabrizietto, your father and your mother say Merry Christmas…Merry Christmas! The old man will suddenly return to the bitter reality where as a beggar, alone, sick and toothless, shouts to passers-by while playing the organ “Merry Christmas…Merry Christmas…best wishes for another hundred years ….ah! not another hundred…Hell is better…Merry Christmas”
An optical illusion too? – Ed. Hal Leonard-Ricordi
The piece, written at the end of 1987, was inspired by a place: an old restaurant on the top of Monte Cavo (in Frascati, near Rome), totally abandoned, which reveals in its destroyed objects (photographs, ashtrays, chairs, sofas, pieces of torn fabric, etc.), a powerfully worldly past, made sinister today by the great silence surrounding it. The restaurant was a reference point of the beautiful world of show business and of the Fascist regime. Everything is imbued with a contrasting sensation: on the one hand the abandoned objects, so typically rooted in the historical moment to which they belong, on the other hand the atmosphere which is so blurred (thanks to the fog) and has indefinite contours.
The musical material is full of tonal subtexts and traditional instrumental gestures (such as the characteristic piano accompaniment, almost song-like), but only used as rubble, or as sound objects emptied of their harmonic weight and their ability to develop, able to “allude” continuously without finding a final form. Like an optical illusion, … motionless … but also changeable and disordered. (F.de Rossi Re. From a program note of 1989)
Thanks to Angelo Benedetti for his careful supervision of the electronic component. Thanks to Fausto Bongelli for performing at the piano “An Optical Illusion Too?”. Thanks to Renzo Cresti for allowing us to publish the excerpt titled Fabrizio de Rossi Re il cosmonauta from his book “Musica presente” (LIM, Lucca, 2019).
Andrea Biagini (b. 1985)
He mainly dedicates himself to contemporary music both as a soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. As flutist of Ensemble Suono Giallo he has collaborated with some of the most important contemporary composers such as F. Filidei, F. Bedrossian, Y. Maresz and S. Sciarrino. This last composer dedicated to Andrea his last piece for solo flute "Fogli per giovani Fauni”. He has premiered pieces by S. Sciarrino, R. Cendo, L. De Pablo, D. Fujikura, J. Eaton, M. Montalbetti, F. Cifariello Ciardi, F. De Rossi Re, I. Fedele, M. Panni, A. Gentile, G. Colombo Taccani, R. Sargenti. He has performed in Italy, USA, Russia, Nederland, Germany, France, Bulgary, Finland, Poland at renowned institutions and festival such as New York University, Symphony Space Hall, Hartford University, Colorado College, “Čajkovskij" Conservatory in Moscow, International Contemporary Music Festival in Perm, Maastricht Conservatorium, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Union of Bulgarian Composers in Sofia, Cité de la musique in Strasbourg, Intersonanzen Festival der Neuen Musik in Potsdam, Weimar Frühjahrstage für Zeitgenössische Musik, International Festival of Krakow Composers, Milano Musica, Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Ravenna Festival, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Nuova Consonanza in Rome, Festival Nuove Musiche Palermo, Società Aquilana dei Concerti Barattelli, Festival delle Nazioni in Città di Castello, G.A.M.O. International Festival, Festival Nuovi Spazi Musicali in Rome, Amici della Musica in Modena, Amici della Musica of Perugia. As soloist he played with Orchestra of Padova and Veneto, Sicilian Symphonyc Orchestra and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino choir. He's a member of collective of musicians Opificio Sonoro. He has recorded works for Kairos, A Simple Lunch, Tactus, Map Editions and Navona Records.
Fabrizio De Rossi Re: He is the composer of a vast musical output characterized by the continuing quest for an unpredictable sound path, joining and melting some stylistically multifaceted experiences, always balancing a direct and open communication with the linguistic heritage of the historical avant-gardes. De Rossi Re’s music is open to various and differentiated influences and experiences, ranging from jazz to popular music, to early music, and to experimentalism. His ability to assimilate various musical techniques and to carefully evaluate the expressive potential inherent in all musical styles, from popular music to avant-garde, results in a highly original musical language, capable of a difficult synthesis between experimentation and communication.