I started to compose the songs included in this project many years ago, inspired by a book of poems by italian poetress Alda Merini. The rhythm and sound of her poetry and her special voice (she was used to do readings of her poems, often recorded on video or broadcasted by the italian television) suggested to me a musical translation. For copyright reasons I could not keep her poems, so I decided later to remove them keeping the music and starting by that to compose my own lyrics. What at the beginning was an hard obstacle became the opportunity to create something new and personal. The poetress is still present, as a subtle and underground track that guided me away.
The oral transmission of music and the form created through a deep immersion into the sound are common traits of the three compositions featured on this album.
In Circle Process Pascale Criton and I started from a hyper-chromatic violin tuned in sixteenth-tones and few lines drawn on a piece of paper with a multi-coloured pencil. A dialogue of sounds, colours and words gave shape to the music, through an approach that is, at the same time, analytical and imaginative – intuitive.
The textual score of Thirteen Changes: For Malcolm Goldstein (1986) casts, through the performer’s creativity, natural or paradoxical visions and sensorial, tactile, proprioceptive suggestions, which stimulate acoustic synesthesiae. The lengthy and gradual process of collection of musical ideas and its documentation through recordings made in different locations and with simple technological supports was followed remotely by Pauline Oliveros, who listened to, and I would say waited for, the musical result of her own visions.
For Occam II the spoken word suggests a guiding image and draws a path, the sound of Éliane Radigue’s voice calls and answers to the sound of the instrument. The music exists in time, which is necessary to the creation: the time spent together during numerous work sessions and the time of personal growth, of sound discovery and exploration. Éliane Radigue composes through listening, and this becomes an integral part of her music.
Extremes are extreme, extremely. For Philip Corner, a lifelong commitment to extremes – extreme expression, extreme beauty, extreme noise, extreme silence – developed a mastery of expression, any one extreme may result in all of the others. In gripping new recordings by the duo of Silvia Tarozzi, violin, and Deborah Walker, cello – with assistance from Rhodri Davies, harp, and Philip Corner, piano – Corner’s early ensemble works from 1958 are paired with newer, late works from 2015-2016. The works from 1958, Two-part monologue and FINALE, were composed while Corner was teaching at City College and still finishing his Masters at Columbia University under Henry Cowell and Otto Luening. Extremes being extreme, they were too extreme for Columbia. Yet, Corner completed his degree and continued to stretch on, creating works somewhere between the supercomputer-refined micro-tunings of James Tenney and the ecstatic enactments of Malcolm Goldstein, his Tone Roads bandmates. Now, with the world (somewhat) caught up, we can appreciate Philip Corner’s EXTREEMIZMS, early and late, together.
Since the 1980s, Pascale Criton has been exploring sound variability, microtunings, multisensory receptions and the spatialization of listening. Silvia Tarozzi, violin, and Deborah Walker, cello, are two adepts of contemporary and experimental music and free-improvisation. Together with Pascale Criton they have been exploring microtonal extended techniques and gestural processes on a violin and a cello tuned in 1/16 of a tone. The compositions that resulted from this process are conceived as corporal scripts. They challenge the sense of form and the attitude of interpretation, transforming it into a creative process. Time and motion are no longer defined by pitches and metric systems but embodied diagrams and moods.