Salvatore Sciarrino: Paesaggi con macerie

Work commissioned to Salvatore Sciarrino by Icarus vs Muzak, with the support of Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. Paesaggi con macerie (2022, world premiere)
    • Vento e polvere
    • Frantumi
    • Cancellazione

«Not all artists manifest social and political ideals. That’s a strange and contradictory fact about people who are committed to improving society, as they work for an audience that follows them. The great ones of our history can serve as models for us; we must observe how the trajectory of their works is always refining and deepening as they come to maturity. Sometimes this happens within the limits of an incredibly short life. I quote as it happens: Masaccio (27), Pergolesi (26), Raphael (37), Mozart (34), Schubert (31), Schiele (28). Beethoven was not afraid to expose himself (nor to be wrong) when, driven by a heroic ideal of brotherhood and freedom, he wrote a dedication to Napoleon that he later removed. What about us? We even avoid arguing with our friends while the house across the street is on fire, and we are almost ashamed to take a stand and go to rescue. It’s wretching, how we are lost and paralyzed in a web of news! I have wondered how to reflect on the discomfort of the last few months. I have never ignored the bloodthirsty and fratricidal nature that moves the masses; however, today keeping silent becomes unjust and intolerable for me. In such an uneasy state of mind, Paesaggi con macerie (eng. Landscapes with Rubble) was born. Ancient paintings loved to show ruins in the countryside: they were scenic elements, vain witnesses of an illustrious past, set in pastoral contexts of extreme poverty. My „rubble“ comes from some Mazurkas by Chopin, a melancholy revolutionary. I don‘t know if I have succeeded in expressing admiration for this composer and, at the same time, the fragility always lurking against the traces our fathers left us; or have I just scarred the music of the Polish patriot? I would like to break, without controversy, the indifference that oppresses us at this time, and leads many of us to silently approve of violence.»

Salvatore Sciarrino


Salvatore Sciarrino (Palermo, 1947) boasts of being born free and not in a music school.
He started composing when he was twelve as a self-taught person and held his first public concert in 1962.
But Sciarrino considers all the works before 1966 as an developing apprenticeship because that is when his personal style began to reveal itself. There is something really particular that characterizes this music: it leads to a different way of listening, a global emotional realization, of reality as well as of one’s self. And after forty years, the extensive catalogue of Sciarrino’s compositions is still in a phase of surprising creative development. After his classical studies and a few years of university in his home city, the Sicilian composer moved to Rome in 1969 and in 1977 to Milan. Since 1983, he has lived in Città di Castello, in Umbria.

He has composed for: Teatro alla Scala, RAI, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Biennale di Venezia, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Fondazione Arena di Verona, Stuttgart Opera Theatre, Brussels La Monnaie, Frankfurt Opera Theatre, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Suntory Hall. He has also composed for the following festivals: Schwetzinger Festspiele, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Witten, Salzburg, New York, Wien Modern, Wiener Festwochen, Berliner Festspiele Musik, Holland Festival, Alborough, Festival d’Automne (Paris), Ultima (Oslo).

He was published by Ricordi from 1969 to 2004. Since 2005, Rai Trade has had exclusive rights for Sciarrino’s works. Sciarrino’s discography is pretty extensive and counts over 100 CDs, published by the best international record labels and very often awarded and noted.

Apart from being author of most of his theatre opera’s librettos, Sciarrino wrote a rich production of articles, essays and texts of various genres some of which have been chosen and collected in Carte da suono, CIDIM – Novecento, 2001. Particularly important is his interdisciplinary book about musical form: Le figure della musica, da Beethoven a oggi, Ricordi 1998.

Sciarrino taught at the Music Academies of Milan (1974–83), Perugia (1983–87) and Florence (1987– 96). He also worked as a teacher in various specialization courses and masterclasses among which are those held in Città di Castello from 1979 to 2000 and the Lectures at Boston University. He currently teaches in the summer masterclasses at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena.

From 1978 to 1980, he was Artistic Director of Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

Academic of Santa Cecilia (Roma), Academic of Fine Arts of Bavaria and Academic of the Arts (Berlin), Sciarrino has won many awards, among the most recent are: the Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003), the prestigious Feltrinelli International Award (Premio Internazionale Feltrinelli) (2003), the Salzburg Music Prize (2006), an International Composition Price established by the Salzburg Land, the Frontiers of Knowledge Prize from the Spanish BBVA Foundation (2011), the A Life in Music Prize from the Teatro La Fenice – Associazione Rubinstein in Venice (2014), the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Biennale (2016).



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