Posts Tagged ‘Alfonso Alberti Intersections’

“And we began to look into the stars”: the spiritual element in Karheinz Stockhausen‘s music, by Alfonso Alberti

The intersections between music and spirituality are many and most varied. Undoubtedly, in a more general sense, some form of spirituality could and should be part of every musical listening experience. As for Stockhausen’s music, anyway, the spiritual element is far from being unspecific, and there are strategies implemented in such a way that the listener is able to live a very peculiar experience.
The watcher should feel separated from what temporarily he deserted by getting into the concert hall; s/he should feel fully immersed in the sound environment; the experience shouldn’t be mediated by the rationality filter; the time should be suspended in a kind of trance where thinking surrenders to vision; and this vision should touch just what was never before experienced – these seem to be Stockhausen’s intentions when he conceives some of his most important compositions.
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Italian Version


Music & film II: Clockwork Orange, by Alfonso Alberti

Probably Clockwork Orange wouldn’t be Clockwork Orange, if the unlikely frenzied intercourse between Alex and the two girls of the record store was not associated with the Wilhelm Tell’s ouverture, suitably defiled by Wendy Carlos’ (1939-) electronic oddities. Or if the slow backtracking that opens the movie would not happen with the background of Purcell’s funeral plaint, equally modified by the eccentric American composer (at the time still credited as Walter Carlos). Tool for revisiting the music of the past was that Moog synthesizer, recently invented, that for the first time made available an extended pool of sounds, among whose to choose as from a painter’s palette: Wendy Carlos picked out the sounds that rendered the alienating (and sometimes crazy) desired effect, halfway between a mouse squeak and a fair organ grinder.

In Clockwork Orange more than anywhere else Stanley Kubrick’s direction ideal is realized, for whom «the best thing, in a movie, is when pictures and music create the effect», and who dreamed of a movie without words where «these peculiar aspects of the film art were the only communication means». If you want to convince yourself on the crucial role of the soundtrack for this movie, you should only carefully think in how many cases it suffices in giving the meaning of the situations, as in the case of Elgar’s march that ironically beats the opaque ritual of the minister’s visit. Or how it seems perfectly conceived for influencing, in a biased way, the whole interpretation of the story…
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Limenmusic’s columns go on holiday…

Limenmusic’s columns: “Intersections”, by Alfonso Alberti, and “Collateral effects”, by Sonia Arienta, go on holiday until September 1st

Do you want to read all the articles?

english version
italian version

english version
italian version

See you in September with new interesting articles!!!!

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“Art belongs to the unconscious!”

“Dear professor! Please forgive me if I write to You although I never had the pleasure of meeting You personally. I just attended Your concert, and it was a real delight for me.”

These words are the beginning of one among the most fascinating correspondences of the twentieth century arts, the one between Arnold Schoenberg and Vasilij Kandinskij. Kandinskij wrote those words the 18th of January, 1911, and the concert, whose impression is still powerful for him, was performed the second day of January in Munich: first and second Quartet, Three piano pieces op. 11 and a series of five Lieder.

“I believe that the harmony of our times should not be found along a “geometrical” path, but along an anti-geometrical, anti-logical path. This is the path of the “dissonances in the arts”, so then in painting as much as in music.”

So Kandinskij wrote to Schoenberg in his first letter, and Schoenberg, a few days later:

“The art belongs to the unconscious! It is necessary to express yourself! Express themselves with directness!”

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The program of the historical Schoenberg’s concert of January 2, 1911, will be performed again, a hundred years later, September 8, 2011, in Milan, for Mito Settembre Music and the Friends of Musica/Realtà at the San Fedele Auditorium, at 9:00 PM (GMT+2), with an introduction by Enzo Restagno, performers Quartetto di Cremona, Lorna Windsor, Alfonso Alberti.


Luigi Veronesi and the chromatic visualizations

A few years ago the Catholic University of Milan hosted a symposium on Musical Visions: Relationships between Music and Visual Arts in the 20th Century. The cover of the recently published proceedings shows a very peculiar work of visual art, very wide (indeed it runs on the front and the back of the cover), made of a multitude of high and narrow rectangles, each of them filled with one of the rainbow colors, no gradations or hues. The sequence of the rectangles creates a structure, which we could easily ascribe a “musical” character to – but actually the work is “musical” not only in quotation marks, but also without them, and decidedly so.
It is the Visualization of part of the Air à faire fuir #I from Erik Satie’s piano collection Pièces froides, a work by Luigi Veronesi (1908-1988). Yes, that’s it: a “visualization” of a musical work (in this case, a part of a musical work); instead of listening to a fragment by Satie, we can “see” it. The visualizations are a prominent and significant part of Luigi Veronesi’s creative activity. They recently were the focus of the arts historian Paolo Bolpagni’s interest, who found many of them in an up to now unexplored corner of Veronesi’s studio, and analyzed them (in many cases coming to an identification of the musical works, often not explicitly declared)…
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Sofija Gubajdulina, or the freedom of narrating themselves

Could music narrate? In this sense, could the intersection between the art of sounds and the art of narration emerge?

That’s far from indisputable, although it is, in some respects, a natural enough fact. It could be natural, for example, to ask “what is happening now?” at any point of a piece, and expect that the five, ten or twenty forthcoming minutes will be an oriented whole, with a beginning and an end, where each moment is the consequence of the preceding and the premise of the following one. But it could not be so, and in fact for music of different times the narration metaphor could not be a mandatory key, sometimes it would even be inappropriate. A better alternative could be the rhetorical metaphor (the piece as discourse), for example, that can fit much of the baroque music, or the architectural one (the piece as building).

A great part of Sofija Gubajdulina’s (born 1931) work, instead, definitely narrates.

Let’s consider De profundis (1978) for accordion. Missing the true characters (in music there are no proper names and surnames), we meet archetypes: using an appropriate capital letter meaning the symbolic power of musical structures, we’ll meet for example the Dark and the Bright, generated by the powerful mechanics according to which being an acoustically low or high sound always carries along with itself the two opposing visual suggestions.

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Corrado Rojac plays Sofija Gubajdulina’s De Profundis on Limenmusic Web Tv
go to the concert

Photo by Dmitri N. Smirnov (Own work)