I did not hesitate for a moment when Carmelo di Gennaro of Madrid invited me to compose a piece and told me about the venue for its debut. The outstanding young members of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala ensemble were to play the premiere performances in Milan and Madrid, in homage to the great Italian composer Giacomo Manzoni, presented in Madrid as part of the Música de Hoy cycle, directed with great care by Javier Guell with the invaluable support of Rebeca Largo. Plus there was Carmelo’s astonishing musical judgement and acumen, the source of many of my most productive musical experiences and intellectual adventures.
The score starts off with a smoothly undulating motion in 3/4 time, reminiscent on the one hand of a Jerez buleria and, on the other, of the “symphonic” overture to Mozart’s wonderful Nozze di Figaro, from which a veil soon emerges, consisting of micro-intervallic resonances in shades of blue like the sky or the sea – the blue from afar – turning about a prismatic column around the notes G and A-flat: the dance of light as it reflects from an imaginary ocean.
From that, a canonic texture develops, interlocked with a harmonic “hymn” – a chromatic, micro-intervallic modulation with chord transformations between two conditions of a filtered prismatic column. A unisono on G in the same voices which began the canon results in a slow, quasi timeless “movement” of waves of iridescent scales on unstable overtone pillars, precariously balanced – sonic images, slowly turning as in a kaleidoscope, its last turn leading us back to a re-exposition of the canon (this time in inversion) and then to the wavelike pulsation in 3/4 time with which the piece began.
Of course, this is also – as a scholarly corpus might put it – a reminiscence of the Venetian maestro who, here in Apartment 232, Villa Walther (which is a part of the Berlin Institute for Advanced Studies, which accommodates me today), inflamed my musical horizon. My deepest thanks are due to Luigi Nono, Headmaster Luca Giuliani, my friends Carmelo di Gennaro and Javier Guell, composer Giacomo Manzoni and, of course, the outstanding young musicians of the Sestetto d’archi dell’Accademia del Teatro alla Scala.