ROSENFINGER VIRTUAL RECITAL n. 3
SHRINES OF MEMORY
Six Piano Works by FABIO GRASSO
FABIO GRASSO, PIANO
The exploration of the "Shrines of
Memory" proposed along this route reveals the affinities of the inspiring
sources of the six compositions. Each piece starts from a mnestic elaboration related
to a philosophical thought, a musical work, a personal cultural experience, or
is based on a remembrance evoked by a literary text.
The exploration of the "Shrines of Memory" proposed along this route reveals the affinities of the inspiring sources of the six compositions. Each piece starts from a mnestic elaboration related to a philosophical thought, a musical work, a personal cultural experience, or is based on a remembrance evoked by a literary text.
It's in the world of dream that the latent memories are most powerfully stirred up, often in surprising aleatory sequences. The structure of Schumann's Blumenstück op. 19 ("flowery piece") consists of several "petals", whose thematic interrelations are such as to create motivic reminiscences at various time distances. Here this idea is projected into the oneiric dimension of a "flowery dream", even in virtue of an alea-based section and of the transfigured recollection of the main theme of Schumann's work.
The compositional proceedings of these early aphoristic sketches include more or less varied repetitions of short rhythmic-melodic modules, like flashing recalls that punctuate the microstructures of the work. Moreover the allusion to Ravel's Le Gibet (from Gaspard de la nuit) emphasizes the mnestic connotation of the last meditative movement.
Microforme was premiered by the composer in Berlin (summer 1993) at the end of a piano stage. During this stay the author was particularly impressed by the visit of Pergamon Museum. So, 17 years later, on the occasion of a recital at the Berlin Theater BKA, for which a new piano piece was needed, the memory of the majestic Hellenistic monuments offered the inspiration for this work, a sort of mystical "mnestic tour" around the Temple, imagining to let the ancient voices of the creatures portrayed by the friezes arise from the silence. It will be easy to recognize, in the final part, an allusion to Debussy's Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut, from the second book of the Images.
Another treasure of the Hellenistic culture inspires this composition, the famous Antipatros's lament for Corinth, whose desolate sea seems to echo with the spectral voices of the halcyons, only faint memory of Greece's irremediably lost freedom.
Once again a memory of ancient Greece shapes the last of the seven movements of this arduous polyptych, the culminating point of the conceptual route described by the work. Widespread, hieratically flowing harmonic combinations seem to reflect, even in the unusually cryptic displacement on the score, the distant, enigmatic Delphi's oracular responses.
According to Plutarch's description of the Delphic symbology, centred on the "5" - that is the "epsilon", fifth letter of the alphabet - in close relation with the Sun's position, the chordal flow (also passing through a masked quotation of Debussy's Danseuses de Delphes) is exclusively organized by quintuplets and gravitates around the "G" - that is the SOL in Latin notation, fifth note of the scale, and homonymous of the Latin word for Sun.
A veil of resignation seems to mantle these ethereal ataraxic motions, which will leave hopelessly unanswered the timid questions murmured by a secret voice, vainly looking, during the whole cycle, for some escape from the solipsism that dominates the entire meditative route of the piece, since the first movement, whose title Monadi is drawn from Leibniz's terminology.
Just a reminiscence of the beginning of Monadi opens the conclusive section of the 7th movement, and acts as a signal of the final withdrawal into a totally self-referential world, that frustrates any rational or irrational attempt to find spaces of dialogue (the speculative counterpoints, the invocations and the aleatory spasms of the intermediate movements) and affirms the definitive triumph of the solitude.
The last stage of our route has a quite different background: we move to Ireland, transported by the verses of William Butler Yeats (Nobel Prize in Literature 1923). In his drama The Countess Cathleen Yeats evokes the mythic figure of the Queen Maeve, probably a sort of Irish version of the Shakespearian Fairy Queen Mab. The video below shows the text excerpt which perfectly explains the relation between this fascinating tale and the shrines of memory explored by our concert programme.
We also remark that it is possible to notice a relationship between the melodic profile of the beginning of the section E (starting from a long repeated note "E" at the end of the section D) and some fragments of the Suite's movements Monodia and Intermezzo, whose gravitational centre is the same note "E". This relationship can be considered as a musical reflection of the processes of investigation of the latent memories, so relevant in Yeats's text.
Thanks for visiting this page and enjoy the final listening.