Echoes of time

San Carpoforo churchVia Formentini 10, Milano

December 22 - 2022, h. 2pm

Gianluca Verlingieri
imaginActions, for cello (2008-2016)

Sonia Bo
Intermezzo, for cello (2007)

Aram Khachaturian
Sonata – Fantasia, for cello (1974)

Sandra Conte
Terra, for cello (2010)

Giuseppe Colardo
Echi narranti, for cello (2016)

Mauro Longari
Come sull’abbaglio, for cello (2000)

Luca Colardo
Preludio, Fantasia e Capriccio, for cello (2022, world premiere)



Icarus vs Muzak

Luca Colardo, cello

Is there an original sound? Is there an ancestral substratum that different cultures and musical traditions draw upon? Certainly, we can say that in almost all musical civilisations, singing is present as the simplest and most spontaneous form of human expression. While we cannot say with certainty whether it draws on an original sound, nevertheless unravels and unfolds from an originating sound. All the pieces by the composers proposed in the programme investigate this primordial relationship between song and sound, whether it is a pedal sound, a chord or a repercussio, with an eye to the past and to European, Asian and African folk traditions.

In imaginActions, written in memoriam of György Ligeti, Gianluca Verlingieri reinterprets the psalmodic melodic profile of a 17th-century French folk melody, built around a repercussio, using as centres of harmonic gravity the empty strings of the cello from which the fragments of the folk line re-emerge, interrupted and overlaid by the irruption of material timbres and gestures, in a continuous dialectic between the desire to vent the song and its brutal repression.

Sonia Bo’s piece, Intermezzo, is written in 2007 for the concert season “Poesia chiama musica” and dedicated to her son Luca. Here singing, on the other hand, only emerges at times, sporadically, as suspended, slender and transfigured singing, like small eveanescent oases, mirages of a fiery and hostile desert, surprisingly implacable in its vehemence.

The only piece in the repertoire, despite being little known and scarcely performed live, at least in Europe, is Aram Khachaturian’s Sonata-Fantasia. It presents one seamless movement, and a very strong link with his homeland. The Armenian composer, in a typically Soviet style, thus grave and austere, reuses and elaborates Caucasian melodies of which, with great compositional skill, he emphasises the typical plaintive inflection that also unfolds from a pedal note. This melodic design of the lament is contrasted by reiterated and varied rhythmic elements that lead twice to a dance (Allegro giocoso) of an exquisitely popular and brilliant character. In conclusion, as in the best concert tradition, the finale shows off instrumental virtuosity to acquire a solemn and grandiose symphonic dimension with a bombastic sonority.

In Terra by Sandra Conte, the topos of the lament appears from the very beginning in all its grave and telluric majesty, almost as if to represent the mournful song of a wounded land raped by a humanity that has forgotten its origin and belonging. The piece, from 2010, was originally written for viola d’amore and then readapted for cello with tuning of the third and fourth strings a minor third below, so as to make the timbre of the instrument even darker and deeper.

In Echi narranti, written in 2016 and premiered at the Museo del Novecento in Milan on 19 March 2017 by his son Luca, to whom it is dedicated, Giuseppe Colardo reinterprets and investigates the relationship between song and sound in a very personal way. A highly articulated piece, conceived as a grand cadenza with transcendental technical characteristics, small melodic fragments, like echoes and reminiscences of an indefinite past, emerge and re-emerge fluctuating through an instrumental gesturality made up of sudden outbursts that gradually fade away.

Mauro Longari’s piece, Come sull’abbaglio, was commissioned in 2000 by the milan’s festival “Musica nei cortili”. It is articulated and developed in two distinct musical sections (Deciso and Lontano), the first energetic and peremptory while the second is more lyrical and relaxed, where a faint song seems to stand out against the ashes of the first. Like brief glimpses, perceived and immediately dissolved, the gestures of one and the other section merge, chasing each other in a sort of dance of the cellist’s arm and bow until the final dissolution and the pizzicato that, after the illusions and glares, brings us back to reality.

In Luca Colardo’s Preludio, Fantasia and Capriccio, written in 2022 and premiered for the first time, both the pedal-bordone topos and the lament return. The prelude, with its resolute character and granitic sonority, built on an insistent and repeated pedal of C, contrasts nervous and mechanical gestures with others that are more melancholic and sorrowful, going so far as to use the performer’s voice as the maximum expressive gesture, almost as if to overcome the physical limit of the instrument, which is always the mediator between the expressive will and its musical realisation. The fantasia, on the other hand, extremely suspended and evanescent, serves as an introduction to the capriccio that opens and develops like an improvisation on the empty strings in a progression of arpeggios that gradually expand in a whirling dance until they use all the extension and sonority possible on the instrument.

Luca Colardo