Organum for Stefano


Organum for Stefano, the third record that I Dischi di Angelica dedicates to the work of Terry Riley, represents a significant example of "coming full circle": indeed, in 1997 AngelicA Festival organized a concert in Bologna for Terry Riley and Stefano Scodanibbio -- it was their first tour together, and the beginning of a collaboration that would last for years, promoting their first album Lazy Afternoon Among the Crocodiles, recorded in the Shri Moonshine studio in Riley's home between 1994 and 1995. After his magnificent piano solo at the 2000 edition, AngelicA invited Riley back in 2013 to dedicate a special tribute-portrait to him, presenting his music in a series of concerts held in three different cities (Bologna, Modena, and Lugo), with different line-ups: The 3 Generations Trio (with Tracy Silverman and Gyan Riley); the ARTE saxophone quartet from Switzerland; and indeed a concert, commissioned as a world premiere, dedicated to Stefano Scodanibbio who had passed away the year before, in January 2012. The venue selected for the concert was the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi, hence Riley decided to use its historic Tamburini opus 544 pipe organ for the concert paying homage to the memory of Stefano. The organ was built in 1968 based on a design by Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, with a total of approximately 5000 pipes divided into 60 registers.

As Riley himself explains in the liner notes: "... Stefano and I had a long history of touring and playing concerts together and one of the features of our concerts was always an arrangement of a vocal raga for bass, voice and tamboura. Stefano, although not trained in Indian classical music, had an uncanny ear for the right choices in pitch and rhythm to accompany my traditional vocal renditions. Two of Stefano's favorite ragas were Malkauns and Bageshri, late night ragas with deep feelings ideally suited to the profound sounds emanating from his string bass. The concert was completely improvised, introducing the melodies of ragas Malkauns and Bageshri, both vocally and in the harmonized organ passages of an intuitively structured form. The last section is an improvisation upon the passages of my composition 'Simply M...', a piece I frequently played for Stefano."

The result was a very precious concert -- the only official recording of Riley on the pipe organ -- which ranges from minimalism to Indian music, grandiose Bachian architectural constructions, even progressive echoes -- in a kaleidoscopic flow of ideas which, both spontaneously and with a great clarity of intention, travels through moments and reminiscences of the respective musical identities and experiences shared by the two musicians.