h.19 The Soundscape of R. Murray Schafer (free admission lesson with Nicola Scaldaferri)
In collaboration with the Università degli studi di Milano
h.21 Concert, Auditorium San Fedele
for voice and live electronics – world premiere
Beatrice Palumbo, voice, Matteo Giuliani, composer, Giovanni Cospito, Live Electronics
Crucifixus – world premiere
Sound engineer: Filippo Berbenni
Project entirely conceived by San Fedele Musica which will present two new works commissioned by the San Fedele Cultural Foundation. The program is in the form of a diptych, starting from two great historical strands of sacred music, Gregorian and eighteenth-century polychorality.
In the first part, the Ars Monodica group, composed for the occasion by the singer Beatrice Palumbo and the composer Matteo Giuliani, winner of the 2015 San Fedele Musica Prize, assisted by Giovanni Cospito at live electronics, will reconstruct the reverberation of a Gothic cathedral to sing compositions from the Gregorian repertoire. A Kyrie, taken from the Roman Gradual and the Marian sequence O virga ac diadema, composed by Saint Hildegard of Bingen, will follow without interruption.
The beginning includes an electronic musical introduction that reconstructs the acoustic environment of a church on which the song of the Kyrie is grafted in a stationary way. Kyrie eleison is one of the oldest prayers of the Christian liturgy. There are similar expressions in some psalms and within the Gospels: the evidence of a liturgical use dates back to the fourth century in the church of Jerusalem, and to the fifth century in the Roman rite mass. It is used as a litany prayer and response to certain invocations. The Greek expression Κύριε ἐλέησον of which Kyrie eleison is the transliteration of the expression in Latin, translated into the Italian language with Signore, pieta, with greater adherence to the Aramaic sources and to the same Greek language could also be translated as Lord, have mercy , or even better have benevolence. Some theologians went as far as a complex translation: Lord, love me with tenderness. In reality, this triple invocation Kyrie eleison – Christe eleison – Kyrie eleison expresses a clear request for forgiveness, which is answered by a formula of priestly absolution which normally ends penitential acts of the Roman rite. However, it is true that this formula, particularly in translation, has a penitential character, which was originally secondary to it, as is also shown by the rich musical development that the text knows in the Gregorian musical tradition. Benevolence is a term little used today, but it should be fully recovered in all its meaning. Benevolence is love that is not centered on “self”, but on neighbor, the other. A love fruit of the Spirit, which instills in the soul a sense of serenity, tranquility and peace that infects and involves those close to us. This is followed by the singing of the sequence O virga ac diadema of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine nun of the Upper Rhineland of the twelfth century, author of sacred poetic texts and musician. It is a composition dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the new Eve, also recognized during the life of the saint as one of her best songs. The grace of this sequence lies in its masterful musical composition, as music and word are inextricably intertwined. Hildegard usually writes her sequences following the older form of paired verse, in which the two stanzas of a pair share a common melody, but in O virga ac diadema, the saint freely uses different melodies for each subsequent pair. Electronic processing intervenes in real time to highlight some expressive elements of the text, without disturbing the intelligibility and linearity of the Gregorian monody.
From a poetic point of view, the sequence O virga ac diadema has a ring structure. The opening celebrates the royal height of Mary (1a) while the final verse (6a / b) represents Mary with images of the dawn and the savior. In the center, the two pairs of verses (3a / b) take up the initial image of the twig (virga) in bloom and its predestination (3a), followed by the image of the Virgin’s womb as a golden casket (3b) and of femininity as a mirror that embraces all creation (4a), Mary is praised by the music of heaven (4b). Between these three thematic peaks two mirror meditations on death are born from which the womb of the Virgin and its fruit save humanity: on the one hand, the path of life in bloom that Adam stripped for his children (1b-2a) is restored in the Virgin by the procreative power not of created things but of the divine Creator (2b); and on the other hand, the deplorable pain and sorrow introduced into femininity (in mulierem) and her progeny by Eve’s harrowing embrace of ignorance (5a / b).
In the second part, the German Robert Lippok, veteran of electronic music, will listen to the creation of the new live set entitled Crucifixus, inspired by the dramatic and impressive polyphony of 24 real voices divided into six choirs on the Passion of Christ by the Venetian Antonio Caldara (1670 -1736).
Caldara’s polychoral composition is a musical contemplation of the central part of the text of the Creed: Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato. Passus, et sepultus est (He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried).
In the progress of the musical phrases, the aspect of cruelty and the horror of the crucifixion and death of Jesus are transfigured, made bearers of a new meaning, arising from the presence of Christ. Caldara’s music, in that tragic moment of pain, suffering and injustice, introduces a dimension of meaning that amazes, introduces a presence that is the very presence of Christ who looks at everything with meekness.
Caldara’s music, with its intense circular movement, makes us perceive the scene of Christ’s crucifixion, death and burial as a flow that spreads to reach the entirety of space and time: the cross of Christ that embraces everything and everyone. .
Robert Lippok’s live set takes up the insights of the Venetian musician in a large 40-minute sound fresco. The intent is to recreate, in a first part, the inhuman, absurd and violent side of the arrest of Jesus, which passes from hand to hand, through techniques and sound contexts coming from concrete and acousmatic music. To progressively reach the center of the work, the dynamic one, borrowed from Caldara, which transfigures the Passion, directing attention to the presence of Christ on the cross. In this way, the cruelty of the crucifixion acquires a new light, a meekness that comes suddenly and transforms this moment of suffering into a moment of salvation.