“Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating. The sound of a truck at 50 m.p.h. Static between the stations. Rain. We want to capture and control these sounds, to use them, not as sound effects, but as musical instruments. [… ] Whereas, in the past, the point of disagreement has been between dissonance and consonance, it will be, in the immediate future, between noise and so called musical sounds.” On the double anniversary in 2012 of the centenary of the birth and the twentieth anniversary of the death of John Cage, the quote from Silence is a stimulus for the reinterpretation of some of his famous works, and the most suitable introduction for the journey to the centre of the harp’s sound, from the sweetest and most traditional to the most unusual, unbelievable and unpredictable.
In this journey, Sequenza II by Luciano Berio is a true milestone. It is part of a larger project by the composer (fourteen Sequenze), who wanted to explore and investigate “the measures beyond the measures” in each instrument, in an instrumental theater where one must “renounce the ambiguous category of ‘poetics’,” as well as the expectation of that “ language of other old emotions that time has linked to poetry.” Each Sequenza represents a sort of “witness” to historical virtuosity and at the same time a stimulus for progress towards a new form of virtuosity through extreme exploration and experimentation of the technical possibilities of the individual instruments. In Sequenza for harp, traditional sound idioms are juxtaposed with more exasperated sounds involving desecrating “gestures” that require “tearing “ at the strings, using the wooden parts and tail piece for percussion, the paroxysmal use of pedals and making noises by banging the metal strings.
Live Recording Galleria dell'Accademia Firenze 12.11.2011 Recording and Mastering Mauro Forte, Tommaso Leonetti, Francesco Baldi Artistic Director Daniele Lombardi 2011 Fondazione ATOPOS