Interview with Alessandro Solbiati – “Trittico for accordion” (edition 2006)
Who is Alessandro Solbiati
by Lidia Bramani
Alessandro Solbiati is born in Busto Arsizio in 1956 and he is graduated in piano with M° Eli Perrotta at the Conservatory of Milan and in composition with M° Sandro Gorli, after attending for two years, the Faculty of Physics. At the same time, he studied for four years (1977-80) with M° Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. He won, as well as various national competitions, the International Competition of Turin in 1980 with string quartet and the RAI-Paganini of Rome in 1982 with Di luce for violin and orchestra.
He has received commissions from the Teatro alla Scala, RAI, from the French Ministry of Culture, Radio France, the University of Paris, the Mozarteum, the South Bank in London, the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Biennale di Venezia, the Festival Milano Musica, the Teatro Comunale of Bologna, from the Basilica of San Petronio for the VII Centenary of the foundation, the Orchestra Sinfonica “G. Verdi “in Milan; his works have been performed in the most important festival (Lille, Avignon, Huddersfield, Présences 1992, 1994 and 1997, Pontino, Wien Modern, Sydney, Metz, Strasbourg, Venice Biennale 1981, 1985 and 1995, Montepulciano, Holland Festival, Zagreb, Lisbon, Stockholm, IRCAM, St. Cecilia in Rome, Maastricht, Moscow, Boston, Mexico City, RAI in Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, September Music, Musical Union, etc.) and they have been recorded and broadcast by many European and American radio. Among the recordings dearest to him will indicate L’Oratorio nel deserto, (CD ADDA – Ensemble 2e2m), Quartetto con Lied (Borciani Quartet – Stradivarius), Trio (Trio Matisse – Ermitage) and a monographic CD of the Ensemble Alternance Paris (Stradivarius – 1999), containing various pieces chamber: Mari, Trio d’Archi, Am Fuss des Gebirgs, Sonnet, Sonata. For RAI he has produced two “radiofilm”, both based on stories by Paola Capriolo, Frammenri da “Il Gigante” (1994) and La colombra azzurra (1996). The collaboration with Capriolo continues in 1997 with the production of Con i miei mille occhi, based on the homonym novella published by Bompiani (book with accompanying CD).
Since 1995 he has taught Fuga and Composition at the Conservatory “G. Verdi “in Milan, after having taught at the Conservatory of Bologna from 1982 to 1994, period in which he began a collaboration with the Music Section of the International Academy of Contemporary Music (Foundation Civic Schools of Milan). He taught at the Centre Acanthes in Avignon in the summer of 1996 and in Metz in 2005; he held master classes at Music Universities of Paris (1997 and 2001), Lyon (2003) and Mexico City (2002).
He works for the publishing company Suvini Zerboni – SugarMusic Spa in Milan.
The cosmetic composition of Alessandro Solbiati
by Lidia Bramani
The contemporary self is multiple, differentiated, lightning forced the interpretation of data from space too far away. The speed with which news people and attitudes moving forces them to an extreme malleability and “open” to the outside. Who does not absorb the other than itself is destined to drown in a restrictive dimension. The interweaving of technological experiences of dizzying and fascinating synchronicity, modernity seeks historical roots and archetypal.
Alessandro Solbiati accepted the challenge. The deep core of his writing pulsates in perfect harmony with the way of being present. This, with its unlimited potential fragmentation-reconstruction, allows the memory to recapture the imagination. And if on the one hand recognize the linguistic signs of the late twentieth century, on the other hand we feel a recovery in forms personally relived as ancestral.
That’s why the work of Solbiati is marked dall’affannata presence of ossimoriche trends, which suffered the confrontation is stopped and photographed as in the poetic swing of an unstable equilibrium, by nature ready to be corrupted for recuperarsi.
It is not just to get a sense of the western classical tradition as indispensable assets in which from time to time to sink riemergendone with new gestures. From this mirror look of past and current events comes a language dense, deep, yet throbbing with recent and original insights. The pieces of his catalog add pieces that somehow force a redistribution and a reinterpretation of the whole process of composition. Expressive interactivity that characterizes the formal sense of each individual work.
There are, however, faced with a conceptual game, an abstract wisdom proud of her talent, because his style is always followed by the breath of the perceptual material. Connoted material in order to “attract” to his specific musical essence halos of thoughts, feelings, images, words.
The “weight” of ambiguous words, full of historical meaning and perception, which provoke the start of associative chains and imaginative plotting the structural proportions of his work.
And ‘what happens in the oratory of 1986, in The desert, which relies on the choir existential expansion of intellectual and emotional dynamics of the biblical text in their sense of concentrated symbolism but also elusive existential lability.
No intent descriptive, without complacency madrigalian, Solbiati welcomes the reverb sound sign of emotional text. The hard texture of symbolic references melts in the range of tonal nuances of the solo voice, the voices, the narrator, the small choir and nine instruments.
Also scan in four defined situations in Rilke’s sonnet for flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, piano, violin, viola and cello, provides continuous deviations from the most obvious structural way. While we follow the main direction, we take interference, cross-references, overlaps that force us to active listening. In succession of atmospheres memory pushes us backwards, creating a sense of myth as precious treasure of values suspended between what was and what will be.
So while the microcell reiterative of four notes branches off to wider horizons harmonic timbre, we are sucked into the center of the material yet reinvented organizational issues in the plots of flute, clarinet and bassoon including the shadow creeps carrier horn. Axle perceptive and existential of ascent and descent, the transparent lightness of the winds contrasts with the disturbing obsession of the arches. The answer is in the thrill vital that the dialectic between the conscious and unconscious, definite and indefinite, perceived object and motion of the lack of desire and gives us as a gift of hope communicative.
In Canto per Ania, 1992, the elegant and fair writing the cello plays with shadows and reflections of its historical literature revealing the rarest and most precious psychological implications. Directionality of expression which contrasts with the expanded role of the fourteen other tools that filter, separate, distorting the gasps of the cello revealing deep and unfathomable aspects.
The formal articulation chasing protean tendency of organisms to change using the active interference between the different parameters. There, as here in the three orchestral pieces Die Sterne des Leidlands (1991) or in the Quartet with white Lied for voice and string quartet (1992), harmony divorced from stamp or chordal conception that the overhang of the figures become horizontal.
Even in the three-piece Die Quelle der Freude for vocal quintet and orchestra (1993) on texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, the trace of meaning that memory chases as hand broken but still alive – by the gesture of determination structural disintegration of the exhausted ‘ rhythmic gait – draws a spiral suspended between high and low, near-far, regular-irregular. And from the encounter-clash of these multiple tensions they are formed pockets of nostalgic evanescence.
In imitative and lying voices – sort of choral dense internal echoes and proliferating contrapuntal textures – the slow flow of a rarefied material that sometimes delights in situations timbre of hypnotic fascination, to recognize what Heidegger was the transcendental sense of man and things. Every object, gesture, affection or thought “ulteriorizza” reaching out beyond himself.
Solbiati gives us in the forms of myth, archetype, the fluid flow of water and the unconscious, the power of light, ascent, suffered the effort to accept and win – in the indecipherable multiplicity of creative sign – pain world.
by Corrado Rojac
How would you describe the landscape of contemporary music of the moment and its development over the past decades?
It would take many pages to answer, but I try to mention some lines.
The stylistic range of the last two decades is far more extensive than that of the 50 -70, because we are in the absence of any direction required, we are in an era completely non-ideological, and if on the one hand this is a very important value, because it stimulates a sort of creative freedom, the other allows confusions level disconcerting and very superficial approaches to composing. In general, and in the media, the music of recent years is likely to leave more of the sound from the compositional thought. This results in a first level of listening is sometimes more attractive, but the interest can therefore run out in the initial amazement. I think the best music of today is one that strikes a balance between the thickness of composition and the use of rich tonal range allowed from the scriptural instrumental development. One final observation: while 50 years ago the geographical origin of the composers was restricted to a dozen poor countries, today is the origin of all planetary, and this contributes to the expansion of range of possibilities I mentioned.
How do you see your work of composition within it?
I strongly believe in the deep expressive possibilities of the music of today, I think there are very communicative potential stronger than 50 years ago. I believe in composing daily, always in search for its next small step. I believe in the “musical figure” as a formidable vehicle of thought and expression, I believe in the evolution of the figure that is to determine a “drama” that becomes a purely musical sense of form clearly perceptible.
Can you describe the 2006 version of Trittico?
As the title says, there are three distinct movements for a total duration of a dozen minutes, each of which has a well defined centre of interest.
Could you explain some features coming from Donatoni’s pieces present in the Trittico, if you think they would be?
I do not think they can be seen particular musical traits donatoniani, in this or my other pieces. This is the extraordinary thing about my relationship with Franco Donatoni: I owe him everything, in terms of the attitude towards the dial and on the purely technical (still use compositional processes of Donatoni’s matrix ), but technique and attitude are put at the service an imaginative world totally different from his.
It might, in broad terms, give us an interpretation of language? Or: You might mention an analysis of Trittico?
The first movement starts from the combination of two musical ideas, a melodic sequence reverberated on two manuals and a result of agreements darker, almost a harmonious deep breath, which gradually return and grow. The second movement is the most peculiar: I took a piece for four voices of Gesualdo da Venosa descending chromatic way, I multiplied by transpositions linked the descent to make it circular, infinite, I added a fifth line that clouds the modal structure, and finally I passed all the “strobe light” of bellows shake, that is, the dense countered by shaking the bellows, thus leaving the shine “Gesualdo modified and enhanced” as a frame very quickly interrupted. The third movement is a fast time by gestures very clear and sharp and voltage paths that lead to the climax of the whole song.
What do you think of the instrument accordion?
The accordion (I mean that in buttons) is an instrument with unique possibilities, enormous and largely compositionally not yet used. It should not be thought of as keyboard, but as an entire orchestra, much more than even the same body, which is still tied to the hands and then extensions possible.
What your other pieces are related to the accordion?
Besides Trittico, the song is more dear to me is “Dieci Pezzi” for accordion and three arches (two violins and cello), which I find one of my best pieces in general. Then there is “Pensieri interrotti” for three bayan, a good piece, and “Preludio e canto” for accordion and electronic accordion, a song not particularly successful. But I also used the accordion, as a protagonist, in my work “Legenda”.
Have you other projects related to the accordion?
Unfortunately not for the moment, but I have to say that I would very much like I was asked for a piece for accordion and orchestra. Who knows …
This article is available also in: Italian