h.19 Music of the pure listening: François Bayle (free admission lesson with Giovanni Cospito)
In collaboration with the Conservatory of Music of Milan

h.21 Concert, Auditorium San Fedele


Francesco Zago
Orgelbüchlein – world premiere
for electric guitar and live electronics

Pierre Bastien
Quiet Motors
for Mecanium, trumpet, keyboards and live electronics

Acousmatic interpretation: Giovanni Cospito

Sound engineer: Filippo Berbenni


In collaboration with Festival Milano Musica and Digicult


An evening between musical theater and instrumental improvisation with an elaborate set of live electronics. Pierre Bastien presented Quiet Motors, an evocative set with Mecanium, an orchestra of musical automas designed by himself using mechanical gears, electric motors and parts of other recycled instruments. Everything is presented in the form of a theater, with the use of mini-cameras to project the enlarged details of the devices on the screen, so the viewer is immersed in an imaginary factory of devices.
The concert will be introduced by the guitarist Francesco Zago, in residence in San Fedele Musica, with a new commission: Orgelbüchlein, a musical fresco in which six choirs by J.S. Bach, starting from the transcriptions made by György Kurtág for piano for 4 hands and for 2 pianos. The electric guitar and electronic devices recompose the Bachian poetic-religious universe in which the monodic and contrapuntal material of the choirs converges, rearranged in a path that takes into account the Christian mysteries evoked by the texts.


In the catalog of György Kurtág there is a book of transcriptions for four and six hands piano and for two pianos published in 1985 under the title From Machaut to Bach. The anthology contains a large number of Johann Sebastian Bach’s organ choirs, most of them coming from the Orgelbüchlein. Bach’s famous collection, in the author’s intention, was a method of improvement intended for beginner organists for the development of a choir in every way, taking into account the liturgical and faith dimension which each organist had to confront. The apparent linearity of the project acts as a compositional counterpart, at the service of the spiritual content of the texts corresponding to Luther liturgical masters.

Each piece is a concentrate of inventive riches in the formal framework of the choral prelude, a composition of extreme brevity and conciseness. From the choral reference, Bach almost always takes up the melody from the soprano, but the contrapuntal treatment, usually for four voices, gives life to a musical commentary of high spiritual significance, in an ever-renewed technical diversity.
The abundance of ideas and the density of language are a source of constant amazement for the listener, especially when the literal meaning of the commented hymns and the liturgical and spiritual context of which they are part are clear.
György Kurtág’s piano transcriptions of Bach’s chorales, with the simple musical transposition from organ to piano, make the elaborate compositional-theological structure of each piece even more evident, thanks to the addition of a second performer (piano four hands or two pianos). Thus the perception of the contrapuntal fabric is amplified and the relations between the Cantus firmus and the other voices emerge clearly, as well as the symbolic value of the figures and ornaments. By way of example, it is worth mentioning the transcription of the Corale Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier Bwv 633, in which the ornament is arpeggiated at the octave below and above, producing an effect of iridescence and suspension of time.
Guitarist Francesco Zago takes up six chorales from the Orgelbüchlein, starting from the transcription of György Kurtág, reworking them into a single seamless composition. The pieces chosen are: Nun komm ‘der Heiden Heiland Bwv 599, Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn Bwv 601, Das alte Jahr vergangen ist Bwv 614, Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier Bwv 633, Alle Menschen müssen sterben Bwv 643 , Ach wie nichtig, ach wie fluchtig Bwv 644.
The electric guitar and electronic devices reconstitute the poetic-religious universe of Bach’s choirs in a coherent continuum. The monodic and contrapuntal material of the choirs flows into it, rearranged in a path that takes into account the Christian mysteries evoked by the texts.