Passio Domini nostri Iesu Christi secundum Ioannem is the second chapter of the trilogy commissioned by Piero Panzetti, chapel-master of Lodi’s Cathedral. It is composed for tenor solo (Evangelist), chorus, continuo, organ and violin. Following the ancient tradition, direct speeches are always treated polyphonically, while, but for very few exceptions, the narrator is the soloist.
Passio consists of 4 sections separated by violin intermezzos commenting on the events, which open up meditative spells and further stress the dramatic power of this work.
The chamber opera Solve et Coagula was inspired by the Chapel of Sansevero, and the masterpieces contained there provide a structure to the musical development. The musical language is a supple and refined instrument through which the most diverse characters, situations and emotions are brought to life. I imagined Raimondo di Sangro at work and sought to capture the acuteness and depth of his thoughts, portraying him as a major player against the kaleidoscopic background of eighteenth-century Naples. See him there, absorbed as he meditates the laws of the cosmos; while he speaks in his heart to his mother, who has died prematurely; while he tirelessly experiments with new materials and new inventions. There is room for a smile when one looks upon his labours through the eyes of the people who considered don Raimondo eccentric if not disconcerting, because of the mysterious experiments that they attributed to him. And there is room for mournful surprise when, kneeling before the veiled Christ, the Prince has a dramatic vision of the scene on Mount Calvary. And there is room for the highest contemplation in the final revelation. The music has been entirely constructed using compositional techniques of the past. Like a builder who decides to build his home using only wood and stone instead of turning to steel and reinforced concrete, I too have taken such an approach in writing Solve et Coagula. With modern sensibilities and modern rhythms, the text and music explore the many facets of the Raimondo’s character, while maintaining a noble and lofty tone. Rather than a real dramatic plot, the work is a series of tableaux through which emerge in all its greatness, the figure of a man who knew how to look beyond the appearances and conventions of his day. There is absolutely no intention of reconstructing an early opera in a strict and historically informed manner (Solve et Coagula could never have been written centuries ago). Instead, there is a great love for the music and the Masters of the past, for I am convinced of the need today, more than ever, to newly explore the garden of our ancestors. There we will find, half hidden, the keys to the future.
The Iliad deals with many important themes: pride, a source of both ruin and greatness; glory, the destiny of every warrior; the beauty and the horror of war. These values played a fundamental role in Homeric society. Alongside these are other more intimate themes which constitute the poetic nucleus of the work: love of family, grief for the death of loved ones, sorrow over the pain of the enemy. Una Iliade does not thrust man into battle but rather encourages him to confront himself: facing the mirror, alone, listening to his own breathing, the man is transformed into the hero he would like to be, acknowledging his own fragility and weaknesses, and learning to live with himself. His mirror is the woman, the loftiest witness of dignity, wisdom, knowledge of the world and its rules: sibyls, mothers, lovers, voices reduced all too often to silence and at times subject to derision. Yet, in looking at the world around us, we wonder how things might be different if the man would just stop and listen.
Based on texts from the Old Testament.
This is the first chapter in a trilogy of compositions dedicated to the figures of the Trinity, and was commissioned by the Musical Chapel of the Lodi Cathedral, directed by don Pietro Panzetti. In an historical period when the need to free oneself from a materialistic vision of life is generally placated by an all-consuming frenzy or by a superficial infatuation for otheralbeit greatreligious traditions, we felt that it was only right to redraw attention to our own spiritual roots.
The Latin text, prepared by Ettore Garioni, is entirely taken from the Old Testament and the opera for soloists, choir and organ is subdivided into three parts and thirteen chapters. The music is deeply inspired by Gregorian chant and the great classic polyphonic traditions (from the Flemish school to Bach), with particular attention paid to the relationship to the text. The respect for tradition creates sonorities which are easy to follow, thus giving to the concept of “contemporary” a connotation which is free from sterile intellectualism and open to the challenge of recreating a musical language capable of speaking to the heart of the twenty-first-century listener.
creation by Guido Morini
In 2001, a commission from the “Nederlands Blazers Ensemble” (the prestigious Dutch wind group) offered us the chance to engage in our first large-scale project. We decide to take on a fundamental pillar of our culture with an eternally contemporary theme: the journey. “Nobody”, the protagonist of our story, is a man who has reached the end of his existence and now sits at the seashore, reliving his past adventures with a new awareness. What once seemed important is no longer so, while small events and elusive feelings take on a significance they never had before. The journey, understood as a quest for knowledge, is the theme of the project Una Odissea, and the travels of Ulysses are a metaphor symbolizing man’s journey toward complete self-awareness. Through plunder, bewilderment and loss, the road to Ithaca symbolizes the ineluctable ties which bind man to his own intimate truth, to his own essence. “Shrewd Ulysses” speaks to us as modern men and women, with our need for clear points of reference, and he invites us to embark on that journey par excellence in which the arrival at our destination necessarily means forgetting and abandoning that which is dearest to us: the certainty of a safe path, the comfort of friends and companions, and even our own names.
“Who are you?”, asks the Cyclop. “Nobody”, replies Ulysses. This is an intentionally personal and unique interpretation, for we are convinced that the only possible universality lies in a thorough understanding of the secret patrimony that each of us cultivates in our innermost being. Nobody’s toils of life and afflictions caused by his travels are the same toils and afflictions which we all experience, day after day, season after season. Always in the hope of finding our own Ithaca.