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ULTRAVOX I (2018) per contrabbasso ed elettronica


‘On comprend par là que la poésie est anarchique dans la mesure où elle remet en cause toutes les relations d’objet à objet et des formes avec leurs significations. Elle est anarchique aussi dans la mesure où son apparition est la conséquence d’un désordre qui nous rapproche du chaos.’ (‘Le théâtre et son double’, Antonin Artaud)   This composition is part of a cycle for solo instruments and electronics on its way of realization, the parts of which are all identified by the title ULTRAVOX and characterised by the fact that they are dedicated to a particular figure of the culture of our times with whom I have a specific bond. Each one of them has in common with the others the ground concept: the music materials are gathered from recordings of the actual voice of the subject of the piece and, through sound analysis and de-composition of some fragments, they are rethought and reworked by means of the electronics and put in dialectic communication with the instrumental matter. In the case of ULTRAVOX I the voice is Antonin Artaud’s and, in a more specific way, the recording of his final work ‘Pour en finir avec le judgement de dieu’ which […]
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RIZOMA I per soprano, ensemble ed elettronica


  RIZOMA I is part of a cycle of four compositions which bears the title RIZOMATA (‘roots’) each connected to one of the natural elements: fire, air, water and earth. The general idea is inspired to the four founding principles of the ancient greek philosophy (from here the title) and every one is set to a text of a different author who deals with the subject from a different perspective. The common feature though is that in every of them the considered element appears to be missing or unreachable and acquires its meaning through that lack, creating a distance that becomes a presence and a ‘identity’ itself. It is de facto a negative ‘cosmogony’. The text of RIZOMA I is ‘Le point noir’ by Gérard de Nerval in which the author describes a common physical phenomenon that everyone of us has probably witnessed: after staring directly at the sun a black spot remains impressed on the retina and, for a certain amount of time, overlaps itself on everything we look at hiding the shapes and making us aware that we are not able to watch the star directly, it is painful and its strength is too powerful for our possibilities, only the eagle […]
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CANTAI UN TEMPO (dopo una lettura di Monteverdi) for soprano and string quartet


The history is filled with examples of composers who searched for new forms of expression in the music of the past masters; some focal works that arose specific musical issues were metabolized by the following generations that ‘translated’ and transformed them in new shapes enlarging the music language and thinking in many ways and degrees. This work belongs to that ancient musical practice but from a different conceptual point of view: the current case, more than finding new form of expression, is an ‘act of love’ towards a composer of immense stature whose music represents for me a inexhaustible source of inspiration and pleasure. The title of the composition is borrowed from a poem by Pietro Bembo and describes well the subject of the work: an interpretation of six Monteverdi’s Madrigals, three with voice where the original text is conceived as a ‘palimpsest’ of which only some fragments remain in the new context, and three for string quartet where the music text is faithfully respected but developed timbrically. In the Madrigals with voice Monteverdi’s music is analyzed and explored mainly by the string instruments through a process of deconstruction and transfiguration of its most relevant elements while the voice is regarded […]
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SOLO IV (THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST) for oboe and electronic device


SOLO IV is a piece composed by three sections, three études each one developing a aspect of the instrumental technique of the oboe and with a precise stylistic connotation. This work is the result of the collaboration with Ernest Rombout with whom I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of the oboe and experiment interesting solutions through a ‘trial&error’ process that led me to the choice of the materials I used in the composition. More precisely we worked on specific multiphonics, different emission and embouchure techniques, alternative uses of the reed, etc. The electronics has an important role and is conceived as an alter ego of the acoustic instrument: the dialogue between the real oboe and the virtual one happens through the timbrical complementarity and the fusion into one unique ‘meta-instrument’ in which the continuous cross references from one to the other create the structural elements where its form articulates. For the première the reproduction system of the electronics used was a mono device widely used (the Bose Soundtouch 20 specifically), conceived as a alternative sound source but with projection characteristics the more similar to those of the acoustic one. SOLO IV was composed and is dedicated to Ernest Rombout for […]
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QUADERNO KOSOVEL for piano, violin and cello


    QUADERNO KOSOVEL is inspired by the Slovenian poet Srečko Kosovel who wrote during his short life, 22 years, an enormous number of poems of the greatest value (which is not fully appreciated yet). He lived across the First World War of which his work experiments the ‘extreme sense of  life’ and bears all the mortal wounds of it: like one of the pines in the Carso often described in his poems with the roots sticked into the hard land while its foliage is shaken by the wind, Kosovel lingers to his roots but is agitated by the explosive changes coming from outside the borders and, as a catalyst, assimilates and transfigures them through his being a poet. The composition is articulated in four moments, everyone related to a text, four ‘voiceless madrigals’ in which the word is implied, four ‘soul landscapes’ where the relation between the written sign and that one which is heard is investigated in a space of Listening inbetween two polarities (Music/Word), where the sense should and has to be assembled swaying from one to the other. Thus the listener free of movement in this space will choose her/his own interpretation path, overlapping the two poles […]
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CANZONI AL SOL for voice and doublebass


  I drew the inspiration for this composition from Vincent Van Gogh, a paradigmatic artist to the art of whom I feel very connected. The title includes the two elements which are at the basis of the work: the ‘canzone’ as a musical form and narrative mean and the ‘sol’ (in italian it has a double meaning: the ‘sun’ and the pitch G) both as symbol of creation and destruction as well as a sound frequency (all the musical material of the piece is deduced from the partials of the first string of the double bass). The idea behind the use of the harmonic spectrum of G, beyond the playful wordplay, is to use a ‘raw’ matter obtained from the physical phenomenon directly (the ‘natural landscape’ of the painter) and artificially transform it passing from the ‘natural’ level to that one of ‘art’ (the eye of the painter) which is exactly the process that Van Gogh describes often and in details in his letters. However these two dimensions are not detached but live together and are interpolated between the two instruments in a constant dialogue or, it would be better to say, in a osmotic relationship, as parts of the same entity. The texts […]
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PRELUDI for basset horn and string orchestra


  ‘[…] the pieces are often short, even  miniatures, but it’s as if that smallness of scale makes you aware of some gigantic vacuum around them.’           (Tom Service, A guide to György Ligeti’s music)   The piece is composed by eight parts that are the development and expansion of SOLO I for basset horn (through the mid step elaboration of DUO I for basset horn and percussions); the resulting complex combination gives birth to a ‘archipelago’ constellation, a kind of ‘microcosm’ of musical events tightly linked together through analogical relations and sharing the same music material. Every section has in common with the others elements of different kind (the ‘accent’ element, the ‘tremolo/trill’ element, the intervallic profile of some of the sections, etc.): they are developed and inserted in various contexts and, through their not immediately perceptible and distant relations, provide coherence to the composition. The fragments lay on ‘attraction pitches’ that define the harmonic level: they are twelve (the total chromatic), allocated along the formal arch. The general scheme of the fragments sequence, with their general character and the attraction pitches, is the following:       I.     Gesture (from Solo I) – G#, C, […]
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PARAFRASI DEL NERO for six instruments


  ‘The work of a craftsman, which it would easily be a paraphrase, becomes, in the hands of a great composer, ‘secondary’ art (in other words, a comment, a gloss, a topic about), but for this reason art of no less quality. Liszt interprets (in the etymological sense) the text and, in turn, the performer has to interpret his interpretation. It is an operation squared, that seized Verdi and Bellini through Liszt, but perhaps and more, Liszt through Verdi and Bellini’       (from ‘Le parafrasi di Liszt’ – Michele Campanella)   PARAFRASI DEL NERO is a composition inspired by some of the last piano pieces by Franz Liszt, particularly ‘‘Nuages gris’, ‘Unstern! ‘, ‘Trauer-Gondel n.1’, ‘En rêve’ e ‘Bagatelle sans tonalité’, in which the musical matter drains and reduces itself to its own skeleton, a shade compared with the vital and flourishing previous production, especially for what concerns the piano music. Repetition without variation, monody as final melodic synthesis especially because connected with the polyphonic instrument par excellence, harmony that rotates on itself symmetrically but without a real direction, sclerotic and obsessive rhythms are all elements of the ‘new’ poetics of the last Liszt that open unheard and mysterious prospectives, nobody went […]
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SKETCHBOOK for ensemble


  SKETCHBOOK is, paradoxically, a vocal composition, a madrigal without voice, whose text is implicit and only visible in the score; the connection between music and words, here in its extreme abstraction, is what generates the compositional process: is the attempt to put in music not the word in its completeness but only its reflection, in the same way of a inner reading, without its vocal emergence. The inspiration of the composition is drown from Edward Easting Cumming’s ‘In Just-‘, written in 1916, that describes a children’s game scene set in a muddy street of a unspecified city during the spring; to the event takes part an old weird and disturbing man who brings some balloons and gathers those kids around him blowing violently in a whistle. The meaning of the poem is something ambiguous: the narrator seems to be a child who expresses himself by means of a creative and free use of the language and who describes what he sees in a direct, fragmented and visionary way; what is going to be experienced is a very dynamic moment, with huge energies, coordinated by this dreadful character but, at the same time, of the utmost attraction. The old man bears on himself […]
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KAIROS for string quartet


    καιρος (Kairos) is a greek word that means an undefined period of time in which something special happens, on the contrary χρονος (Chronos) is related to the logical and sequential time: it is the quality of time opposed to its quantity. KAIROS for string quartet was composed for the international conference Time Machine Factory 2012 organized by the Astronomical Observatory of Turin in collaboration with the Politecnico University that had as main subject the Time and the possibility, from the scientific point of view, to travel through it. In this context it was conceived this composition, a sequence of seven sections representing ‘specific moments’ the time of which is suspended and almost without a real direction; the parts are grouped in two categories, those ones named ‘Melos’ that develop the horizontal linear dimension through a ‘melodic tendency’ that however never becomes a real melody line and those named ‘Ensemble’ that develop the vertical harmonic dimension. In the ‘Ensemble’ I and III the rhythmical parameter is almost nullified while in the II is an element of utmost importance, worked up by means of polyrhytmical patterns; the ‘Melos’ moments, as said before, present a linear contour gradually elaborated heterophonically and that involves, starting […]
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(DE)CADENZE for clarinet and string quartet


  The conception of this composition is included in the ambiguity of its title: from one side the Cadenza as a musical object so, therefore, the ‘De’ is interpreted as the latin particle related to a subject to be examined and explored, from the other side the ‘cadenza’ (in italian ‘cadere’ means to fall) as an inclination and a fate, so, in this case, it is thought as the connotation of a specific ‘falling’, that one of the decay and the consumption. Furthermore the function of the Cadenza is, by its nature, of suspension: the discourse is interrupted for a moment allowing to glimpse some ‘other’; it is an active moment in which the relevant element is the movement towards a zenith, the ‘corporal’ in the foreground; it is the idea of the fragment without a context (‘the Cadenza without its Concerto…’) that is able to open a huge space even through its conciseness. The composition is organized in ten moments following this sequence:     I Eingang 1 II Cadenza 1 III Cadenza 2 IV Cadenza 3 V Intermezzo VI Eingang 2 VII Cadenza 4 VIII Eingang 3 IX Cadenza 5 X Clausula The Eingang I and the Clausula share the […]
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SCENA D’AUTUNNO for piano


  秋來ぬと 目には爽に 見えねども 風音にぞ 愕かれぬる (Fujiwara Toshiyuki no Ason)   (Although to the eye it cannot clearly be seen     that autumn has come, still I find myself surprised by the whisper of the breeze)       (English translation by stefano Pierini)   SCENA D’AUTUNNO, inspired by a haiku composed by the japanese poet Fujiwara Toshiyuki no Ason (?-907), is an étude on the relations between timbre and harmony and, at the same time, a research on the resonance considered both from the physical point of view connected to the duration of sound in time and from that one of the perception and the ‘persistence’ in the memory of the sound itself. The ‘pretext’ of the composition is the Autumn, interpreted as a ‘metaphysical’ season of changing, despoliation and tension towards ‘stasis’ (the Winter); a moment of impermanence, transition and transformation towards a new state. The composition is structured in three sections, each developing the previous one and broaden it: three ‘variations’ in which the time stretches and decelerates while the sound expands in space and resonates to the limits of its physical capabilities, conquering the musical horizon completely. The music material, very homogeneous, almost redundant, is conceived as a […]
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SOLO III for sheng solo


I had the first contact with Wu Wei and the sheng in 2009 in Amsterdam through the Atlas Ensemble and a new music world opened to me: I discovered the magic sound of this instrument with its stunning versatility that combines the characteristics of a wind instrument together with the possibility to produce complex harmonic textures.  Although belonging to a very connoted music tradition, the sheng is not overwhelmed by that; on the contrary, its flexibility fits very well with the needs of a contemporary composer as I am and, with the huge catalogue of its different techniques, becomes an ideal ‘new’ tool to work with. I have made two versions of SOLO III, a first one that was premièred in Tokyo on the December 25th, 2012 and in Berlin on February 2013 but not more existing, and this one that was premièred in the Composers Festival in Krakow on the April 2015. The piece is made up of five parts in the following sequence:   I – Gesti 1   II – Melos 1  III – Figura    IV – Melos 2  V – Gesti 2   The musical gesture is the main object of sections I, III, V, […]
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SOLO II for piano


SOLO II is a suite of études on the short form written for the Composition Workshop held by Fabio Nieder in the Scuola Civica in Milan and performed during Milano Musica 2010 by Alfonso Alberti. The sequence of the fragments, each of them with a different character and a different stylistic inspiration, is the following: I. Pendulum II. Rima III. Arabesque IV. Umbra V. Lullaby VI. Hommàge  
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SOLO I for basset horn


  In the beginning of 2009 I received a commission to compose a piece for the 1st International Basset Horn Festival organized by Peter Geisler (the eminent former basset horn player of the Berliner Philarmoniker) that took place in Germany in Kandern during the spring of the same year; I accepted with enthusiasm and curiosity since I had not the chance to work on that instrument before and I made a research on it looking for new and hidden aspects of its technique. I worked on it deepening some specific features that interested me and the result was SOLO I, premièred on May 22nd, 2009. It is made out of four ‘music objects’, four fragments expressing different emotional conditions (and it could be said existentialistic too), inspired to some canvas by Paul Klee (‘The mask and the little flag’ – 1925, ‘The shelter’ – 1930, ‘Embrace’ – 1939, ‘The prisoner’ – 1940) developed through the dialectic contrast of their elements. Two have a ‘gestural’ character while the others a melodic-harmonic one, following a very simple model of formal symmetry. The first fragment particularly is a very short chromatic gesture, a kind of ‘stylized scream’, to define it through a metaphor, the […]
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MINIMAL SUITE for alto sax and percussions


  The concept of MINIMAL SUITE lays in the title: on one side the ‘Baroque’ and its forms while on the other the ‘drained ’ approach of the minimalism (usually the word connotes a specific musical genre but here it is conceived mainly in its broader sense: an attitude based on the economy of the music materials and the synthesis in the formal development). The portuguese word ‘barroco’ means ‘irregular’ indicating the corrugated surface of the wild pearl and was used to summarize the features of a very complex historical period in which the paradoxical, the bizarre, the ‘maraviglioso’, the transgression of the rules and the asymmetry where seen as means to express something new and free. However this is not in contrast with the ‘minimal’ nature of the musical contents which are almost ‘self evident’, without any lavishness, and the fragmentary forms that host them; like the lines of the children drawings that outline things often bearing a naïf component, they can dive, by virtue of that, to the core of those objects. This two extremes, the ‘overloaded’ baroque ‘halo’ and the dry ‘minimal word’ cohabit creating a dialectic stylistic ‘short-circuit’ that is the essence of this work. The composition is formed […]
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METROPOLI for electronics


  We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon; deep-chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing; and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd. (Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – Manifesto del futurismo, February 5th, 1909)   METROPOLI is part of a wider project commissioned by the City of Milan for FuturisMI, a series of events organized for the centennial of the foundation of the Futurist movement: it was the result of the union of ‘LUCI FUTURISTE – Maree Multicolori e Polifoniche’, a video-opera produced by the Castagna-Ravelli Studios and ‘Il suono della guerra dei suoni’, an electronic music work […]
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VISIONS for mixed ensemble


  VISIONS is another step of my research on concise and short form; indeed is a sequence of ‘musical visions’ everyone with a specific harmonic and timbrical connotation linked together in a longer formal arch. It was premièred in Son[UT]opìas CampUSculturae 2013 in Santiago de Compostela and was commissioned by the Atlas Ensemble of Amsterdam, a unique instrumental group that includes in its line-up musicians coming from different cultures all over the world. Specifically the instrumentation of this composition calls for sho, duduk, clarinet, baritone sax, pip’a, two percussion players, erhu, violin, viola, cello and double bass. The instruments are considered mostly as sound sources and are integrated analogically in families that enlarge the usual orchestral colour palette; there is not any kind of ethnic approach towards them, even if their specific technical and functional features are taken into account. The piece has its fulcrum in the percussions and pip’a parts that are the backbone of the composition around which the ensemble exists, in a relationship ‘quasi concertante’ and of mutual influence.The music material is obtained from simple and basic elements (i.e. the chromatic scale, the fifth interval etc…) regarded as primary objects to be repeated and transformed along the development flow while the rhythmic […]
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QUATTRO CANZONI POPOLARI for string quartet and electronics


  QUATTRO CANZONI POPOLARI for string quartet and electronics was commissioned by the Xenia Ensemble for the Estovest Festival 2014 as part of a project dedicated to the relationship between contemporary and folk music, a theme which has always been of interest to me. Particularly it is a work inspired to the traditions of the western valleys of Piedmont towards the border with France, connected to the Occitan and Provençal traditions. Part of my family comes from there and it was an ideal opportunity for me to delve into the folk music of that area and in my roots, (re)discovering a forgotten inheritance of deep importance. The Fondazione Revelli of Cuneo, partners in the project, put their archive at my disposal, especially the recordings made in the early ‘70s by Nuto Revelli (*) in which the older members of the community recounted, in song and verse, of a mysterious and harsh world where they struggled to survive in terrible conditions and in wars, but where ‘singing’ was deemed an essential element, a relief of emotions, a cathartic ritual. There are three different semantic layers in QUATTRO CANZONI POPOLARI that move in parallel directions: the first is the direct testimony of the voices, […]
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FIVE FRAGMENTS for oboe and sheng


  FIVE FRAGMENTS was written for Wu Wei and Ernest Rombout during the Atlas Academy 2012 organized by the Atlas Ensemble in Amsterdam. The basic idea was to blend together the two instruments in a unique organism through the creation of a ‘meta-instrument’ in which the different timbrical features would be totally integrated. The composition is made up of five fragments, as the title says, the first and last of which constitutes the formal frame of the work; the common element is the conciseness and the research of synthesis through an economical choice of the music material and the development reduced to the bare minimum. The linguistic components I have chosen are ‘traditional’ but ‘defunctionalized’ and without any recall to their historical inheritance; they are conceived as ‘objects’, syntactical fragments, smallest building unities in relation only to themselves: the second fragment is composed by a sequence of fifth intervals duplicated on itself, the fourth on harmonic conglomerates deduced from the distribution patterns of the pipes of the sheng and on a basic chromatic scale, the first and the last are built around a multiphonic of the oboe while the third put together an element again gathered from the fingerings of the sheng and […]
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