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String Quartets

NEOS 11130CD NEOS 11130CD

2012 release. "Attimo" (Instant): The composition opens with an almost pointillist counterpoint that seals the idea of an instant in each and every note, at once a magnet and a catalyst. However, the piece is characterized by contrasting sections, whether passages of dilating chords or the prolonged central section, where rapid phrases in octave leaps, played lightly sul ponticello, with controlled pitch levels, intertwine and respond in all four voices. "Aion": "Aion" is the Greek personification of infinite time, a form of time that escapes the cage of quantification. The first section is a desert, a picture of oblivion within a liquescent flow of dust, at once dissonant and sweet. The non-discursive element combines with the precision of atonal intervals from changing nuclei. The instruments play almost entirely in dyads, multiplying the sound to an almost orchestral effect. In contrast, the second section deliberately interrupts the temporal flow. Here, in this second mode of "aggression" toward (and denial of) time, we hear islands of sound floating in the void, variations in formal structures that demand special virtuosity from the performer: rhythmic micro-fragmentations, tensions produced by subtle dynamics and special harmonics, rigorous conversations among the four musicians. "Talea" (Cutting): The title of this duet consists of a single word, but a word with semantic possibilities inherent in the duality (the contradiction is resolved by my concern to restore duality to unity). "Talea" refers to the birth thanks to a previous existence that has cut and reinserted itself. I touch only on its second, musical meaning. The piece falls into three sections. The first is a modulating continuum of disembodied, crackling, intermittent sounds generated as the two instruments create "haloes" by bowing col legno instead of with the hair of the bow. At a certain point the continuum is offset by solo micro-phrases. The central section consists of thin, isolated emissions in sidereal ambit. The third is an ecstatic and exotic symbiosis of duality into unity, a symbiosis devoted to a single pedal point in the background, on which golden threads slip past, wafted by breezes. Performed by the Quartetto d'Archi del Teatro La Fenice: Roberto Baraldi (violin), Gianaldo Tatone (violin), Daniel Formentelli (viola), Emanuele Silvestri (cello), with the participation of Achille Gallo (piano).