Duo Alterno in Haverford-Philadelphia

Tiziana Scandaletti
Riccardo Piacentini
compositore e pianista


Concert program
Reviews by the students



Haverford-Philadelphia, Haverford College, Marshall Auditorium, April 27th 2006

Duo Alterno

Franco Alfano
Mamma, il giovane principe (1919)

(testi di Tagore)

Riccardo Piacentini
Mano mobile clic (2001)
(testi di Sandro Cappelletto)

Ennio Morricone
Da "Epitaffi sparsi" (1992/3)
• Epitaffio degli Epitaffi
• Iperteso
• Tu che passando osservi
• Si dette
• Per anni studiň da pianista
(testi di Sergio Miceli)

• • •

Giorgio Federico Ghedini
Quattro canti su antichi testi napoletani (1925)
• Auciello che ne viene da Caserta
• Arbero peccerillo
• La tortora
• Ci aggiu tutta ‘sta notte cammenato
(testi di Anonimo)

Riccardo Piacentini
Jazz motetus (Cricket play) (2004)

Luciano Berio
Quattro canzoni popolari (1949)
• Avendo gran disěo
• Dolce cominciamento
• La donna ideale
• Il ballo
(testi di Anonimo)


with many thanks to Professor Curt Cacioppo!

Haverford-Philadelphia, Haverford College, Marshall Auditorium, April 27th 2006

A Personal Review on the concert by "Duo Alterno"
This is the best performance I have ever heard in my life. (I do not have chances to attend many performances by the way. The total would not go beyond thirty.) The sound is so vivid. The expressive quality of the music is beyond the limit that I think human can do. Piacentini, a virtuoso pianist, has a superb and secured technique. (I heard only one wrong note through out the concert.) Scandaletti, a diva, has a voice that reminds me of Maria Callas. Both performers amazingly engage in the music: they both perform the music and express their feelings through body expression. I felt that I was no longer listening to the concert by two performers; instead, I was being told stories by two experienced raconteurs.

The lyrics themselves convey meaning. But with the dynamics, technique, and expression of the performers, music becomes even more meaningful and expressive. One example can be drawn from "per anni studio da pianista" in "Da 'Epitaffi sparsi" by Morricone. The piece, an ingenious dark humor, is a story about a man want to be a pianofortist, but when he died he was not even a Mezzofortist. Piacentini, acting as a lousy pianist, played scales producing a horrible dissonance in a buffoon's manner. (This piece reminds me of the "Pianists" movement in the parodic zoological fantasy "Carnaval de Animaux" by Saint-Saëns) Scandaletti, as a storyteller, expressed her contempt via the lyrics, and expression. My friends who sat besides me cannot help laughing, while I was having a big smile repressing myself from laughing.

Piacentini, himself, believes that the music nowadays should not be restricted by our own convention of classical perception and should extend itself to society. One analogy that he gave me was that "music should not be just written and then be kept in the drawer." Music should progress with society not become stagnant and restricted itself in a concert hall or a conservatory. Piacentini, as a composer, uses photo-music to incorporate the other sound into his music. In "Mano mobile clic," he uses sound of air-conditions, digital and clicking sound from computers, and Chinese news report, and in "Jazz motetus IV (Cricket play)," sound from the woods at night, sound of crickets, sound of children from Beijing, and also includes Chinese musical instruments. With his intention to find the sonority from various sources of sound, he uses these sounds, and creates a piece of music.

After listening the performance, I ended up losing to the temptation to buy the CD and after long consideration I bought their "Arie condizionate," which includes "Mano mobile clic" by Piacentini. However, it turns out to be quite a disappointment; the live performance was much better. I find the CD to be monotonous. I cannot perceive the dimension and the space of music I experienced at the concert. At the concert, I heard the utilization the LR channels which added the flavor to the music. Scandaletti's voice was much more vivid and also I could see her expression.

The concert was mesmerizing and intriguing, but there are two things I would like to comment on. One, the range of dynamics of the music was so extreme that sometimes it was very hard for me to hear the ppp sound of the singer. Two, I think it would be better if they had rearranged the order of the program. I would like to hear the pieces by Ghedini as a finale because they are the least contemporary music performed at the concert and also have the tranquil quality that could be used as an ending. The ending piece by Berio, in my opinion, begs for more. By just switching the pieces by Berio and Ghedini, the program would be perfect. Nevertheless, I love the concert and would like to see their performance again. (S. C.)


First of all, I would have to say that I was very impressed by the singer. She was absolutely amazing. And, so was the pianist. But, I wish I could have listened to him play a solo, without any recordings. I can't remember the concert so clearly, since I was there with having slept less than 7 hours since Monday night. And, I was expecting to fall asleep during the concert, especially with the dim lights and music. However, I clearly remember being wide-awake throughout the whole concert, which was amazing!
In both first and last pieces, I remember the pianist finishing the pieces so suddenly. Since I wasn't expecting the sudden finish, I was quite impressed with his skill. This reminded me of my piece "Allegro Barbaro" by Bartok's sudden beginning, and also some other parts of my pieces.
The second piece was particularly interesting. I remember the pianist introducing the piece with a speech that it's not only music but also an act. With the act, I would have to say that it was an outstanding piece, and also that it stood out the most. I would have to add that it was more like an act. I would have to say that I was very impressed with how both the singer and the pianist were able to fit their parts with the recordings. It seems like getting the right rhythm would be particularly difficult.

Unfortunately, I don't remember which piece it was, but one piece reminded me a lot of "The Touches" by Bernstein.
Looking back at the lyrics and what they mean now, it seems like the concert would have been very amusing if I understood what they meant while I was enjoying the concert. What a pity!

Lastly, I would like to addŠThank you for your work, Professor!  
(L. K. K.)

I thought the Duo Alterno concert was quite an experience, quintessentially modern and very invigorating.  The couple seemed to love what they were doing and were very attentive to one another throughout the performance, which was an interesting component to the overall outcome.  There is not usually such an intimate awareness between singer and accompanist, and I think it is one of the main reasons that their dynamic is so compelling.  Also, they were both very expressive, which left the audience on their toes as to what was written in the score and what was creatively drivenŠ I was dying to have a score in front of me so I could follow along and enjoy their interpretations of these fanatical pieces.

The first piece was fairly straightforward, which was expected given its relatively early compositional date of 1919, probably a good choice in its ability to ease the audience into the concert, which would pick up speed into the 21st century fairly quickly.  I cannot recall many specifics about this piece as it was not as memorable as the other pieces they performed that evening, but the text is definitely modern in it avant-garde bitterness and disquieting undertones. 

The following piece, Mano mobile clic, was absolutely hysterical- I loved the text's cold embrace of our technologically frozen global society; "Gesú! Quale chiocciola hai tu?"  Complete with the distinctive sounds of an internet dial-up, I felt this piece really captured the limits to emotions in world controlled by technology and was performed fantastically by Tiziana, who's facial expressions eerily reproduced the feelings invoked by the text.

Da "Epitaffi sparsi" was probably one of my favorite pieces of the evening, along with Jazz motetus IV.  The former was very unique in that the accompanist joined in the singing, and the brief moments when the two sang together were mesmerizing, a very interesting device.  I wondered if the score indicated that the accompanist must do the second voice part or if they were simply short another singer (another reason I wanted a score)Š but I can't imagine they would assign a whole other performer to those short moments of two voices.  Nevertheless, I found that piece very enjoyable and have been singing "Me ne sbatto" in my head ever since.  I also thoroughly enjoyed Piacentini's composition based on the sounds of crickets.  When he introduced the piece, I thought I would find it difficult to hear the "jazziness" of such an avant-garde work, but was surprised to find that it was distinctly jazzy, and that, at least during some sections, I could imagine it being heard in a smoky nightclub.  The most interesting dichotomy was between the live playing piano and the previously recorded material.  At first I found it a little awkward, but the two opposing sounds seemed to gel together more as the piece progressed.  It also seemed that the Chinese instruments were out of place towards the beginning, but then were incorporated more comfortably later on, and were I think what contributed greatly to the feeling of jazz in the piece. 

My only regret is not being able to hear it all again, this time knowing what to listen for and perhaps figuring out what seemed misplaced or confusing the first time around.   The entire concert was very refreshing, not at all heavy or overly serious, but almost playful.  It seemed that the performers were having a lot of fun, and that was probably made it equally fun for me. (E. M.)


Disclaimer: I'm not sure exactly what you are expecting, however I very much enjoyed this piece. It created distinct images in my mind which I felt was an apt way to analyze the music.  ... a little far out, but well grounded. (P. E.)

Riccardo Piacentini, Madrileńo. As the sun rises on the forest, the glissato sets the scene; we see dewy wet leaves and deep rich greens.  As the staccato notes begin we can see drops of water falling between leaves, collecting in pools, making soft splashes which ripple outwards.  These notes, which do not convey melody, convey this image very well because of the staccato touch and the opposite movements of the hands.  The higher notes   As we return to the glissato we see the forest stirring which some sort of magical creatures.  They are small and winged, faeries maybe, maybe not even human related.  They are cautious, because they are so fragile. With each glissato they look around and move forward, exploring their surroundings. The glissatos, as they change chords convey heightening curiosity, forward progress and graceful movement.  This pattern, of water dripping and animals exploring continues, the sections grow longer, there is a premonition of something about to happen, the glissato fades and the staccato builds.  A storm is coming.  The deep notes and chords are the rolls of thunder, the mid and high notes are the rain drops scattering down.  The light has changed from overwhelmingly green to grey and orange.  The creatures scatter, their senses over stimulated, their lives in danger they disappear out of sight.  The storm calms, the music slows, peace is restored.  Not the glissatos and staccatos are mixed, water is dripping, the creatures are returning, again exploring and moving around.  Peace has been restored, at least temporarily. At first the non-melodic nature of this song struck me as odd and difficult, however after allowing myself to drift and find visuals I realize that it is just as capable of being evocative as melodic pieces, maybe even more so.  I can't read Italian, so I don't know exactly what Piacentini meant for me to feel and hear, however if I can guess from his other work that this would be an acceptable interpretation.  Both of his pieces in the Duo Alterno concert were about using nature or atmospheric sounds to help express musical ideas.  Maybe that was what got me thinking about a rainforest to begin with.

Duo Alterno review. Overall I liked the performance.  Though in a way I feel bad for them, it seemed that the audience was not the kind of audience that normally appreciates this type of contemporary music.  Because of this, I couldn't really tell is Mano mobile clic was intended to be entirely serious or if many of the words and noises that Tiziana made were supposed to carry levity and humor.  I would have liked to laugh, and I was looking for signs that this was supposed to be fun and humorous but I couldn't quite tell.  I think that if clic was meant to have a sense of humor about itself then it was quite an entertaining piece, however since I couldn't tell then I'm not sure how I feel.  If it was entirely serious then it may be a little beyond my tastes.  I wasn't quite a fan of the synthesizer sound that Piacentini used, though it did seem to fit in with the mechanical theme that the sound had.  Maybe you can help me understand this piece better, it was very curious and interesting indeed.  I particularly preferred the Quattro canti su antichi testi napoletani, I thought that Tiziana's performance was excellent and the songs had a haunting air to them.  They were truly moving.  I also really enjoyed the second of Piacentini's pieces Jazz metetus IV.  I have always been fascinated by the use of ambient sounds in recordings and his use of crickets was fantastic.  His music never quite strikes me as melodic, which is sometimes tough to absorb, however the use of crickets helped my shift my expectations away from melody and more towards the expression of nature, which is what I got out of the music.  Overall, I found it to be an entertaining performance.
 (P. E.)

To be perfectly honest, Madrileno just didn't appeal to me asthetically. While there was some of the same spacing that I talked about earlier, the piece seemed to lack the clarity that I enjoyed so
much in unstable reverbs. Perhaps this was the intention of the piece. It creeps and grows and builds into a heavily pedaled climax that dissipates into almost nothing. The beginning is revisiting, only
slightly modified. As the piece comes to a close it leaves me with a sort of vague dissatisfaction. The piece seems like it is trying to create something in the middle, and yet the emotion seems squandered, perhaps intentionally.
(S. M.)

Duo Alterno, like many of the musicians who come to campus, performed unexpected pieces. Traditional structure was not important in the pieces we heard, and each piece had surprises. The air conditioner song was very intriguing, and I liked the transitions from speaking to singing without tremolo to operatic singing. I especially liked the spoken part at the beginning, almost like a classical version of rap. In this piece and throughout the concert, I admired Scandaletti's use of dynamics, which did not always follow predictable patterns, but was very expressive. I also
noticed Piacentini's subtle but charming gestures at important moments, such as lifting his hand toward the audience after the final note of the concert.

The "Epitaffi sparsi" was an interesting piece. I had to smile at the last section, with the cacophonous scales going incessantly. The crickets piece was one of my favorites, although the first half of it was interrupted by people having a very audible conversation through it, since they seemed unable to stomach anything produced after 1950. But I turned around to give them an annoyed look and enjoyed the rest of the song in peace. I think this piece had special meaning for me, since it was the sounds of everything familiar. I live near Baltimore, and I have lived in Taiwan, so
as he played the image of playing the piano at home on a summer night, in my living room full of Chinese furniture, was in my head the whole time. When the piano solo ended and the crickets resumed, I imagined my desire to play music giving way to the stillness and beauty of the night. This is probably a much more poetic response than you expected. You can tell I enjoyed it.
(H. A.)

curt, well, here goes...my ability to "review" professionals is not quite honed...especially if the subjects being reviewed had tiramisu available after their concert. the varying styles of songs chosen by duo alterno captivated the listener, while their mastery at both piano and voice allowed the audience to explore the more avant-garde selections without feeling as if they had left the realm of 'music.' piacentini's pieces used primarily ambient sound and vocal/piano accompaniment, and interspersing them among more traditional artsongs (maybe that's the term i want) was a wise choice for
the program's structure. the songs sung by tiziana were textually a little off-kilter, but interestingly so, and her expression and elegant performance technique (green is SO her color) were simply beautiful. the two have mastered a perfect balance between instruments, and never did one outdo the other. my only problem is that, especially with the electronic pieces, i felt the venue was too large, and often tiziana's spoken/sung accompaniment was lost. all in all, i thoroughly enjoyed the concert, which introduced me to a world of music i was almost completely unaware of.
 (A. K.)

I have mixed reactions from the concert by Duo Alterno Thursday night. I have never heard pieces for just piano and voice, and it took me time to adjust. Tiziana Scandaletti has a very powerful voice and it was interesting to see all of the different levels and sounds that she was able to make, as well as how animated she is when she sings and how involved she is with the story and the music. I liked the dynamic that she had with Riccardo Piacentini – especially in the piece by Ennio Morricone when they acted out a little scene (“with the curve calls” as Riccardo Piacentini said in his introduction). I had trouble figuring out the piece about air conditioning – Mano mobile clic – but I’m sure that if I listened to it more I would grow to appreciate it. My two favorite pieces were the one by Giorgio Federico Ghedini and Jazz motetus IV (Cricket play). It was interesting to see how Riccardo Piacentini could incorporate the rhythm of the crickets into his piece, especially since I have been
working with crickets all year and have grown to care for them (and kill them). [This student was a biology major.]  I think that overall I would have found the concert more engaging if I had had the chance to read the words to the pieces beforehand, and possibly listen to them a few times before the concert. It is always good to discover new types of music and expand my perspective, and for that I am very happy that I saw Duo Alterno perform.

Piancentini (Madrileno): This piece reminds me very much of Henry Cowel’s piano pieces: 1.) The Banshee and 2.) Aeolian harp and Sinister Resonance because of the tones, pace, and technique of strumming the piano strings. I like how he plays the keys and also the inside strings – it’s relaxing and the two sides complement each other well, like two different ways to express an idea. I also enjoyed the switch between playing the lower piano keys half way through and then going into a section of just piano keys – I think that overall this part is my favorite. (L. G.)

The modern and contemporary Italian music performed by Duo Alterno from Turin made me realized the era of technology and globalization. Especially it was significant to hear when he performed the combination of an electronic-computer generated music with Chinese lyrics and the acoustic live performance by Riccardo Piacentini, an Italian musician. First, I had never imagined the combination of Italy and China.  It was simply surprising me. Second, I had never listened to the music involving electronic-computer generated music along with an acoustic live performance.  The qualities of those sounds were very different.  It was like a fusion of digital information and human beings who are organic.  Since the computer age arrived to us, we have tended to rely very much on digital information. We can always access to the Internet, and absorb and digest information. Sometimes I feel fear from immersing myself the information too much because I feel as if I forget a body which has temperature and organic mechanism.  His performance succeeded in making integration between the digital information and organic human on the stage.  The balance was very sensitive, even vulnerable.  It seemed to describe the fragile balance of the Era. Last, I enjoyed their music as an art.  They introduced various components such as Chinese and electronic-computer generated music, but when those components gathered and came into their performing they created their art.  Their music was filled with curiosity and experiments.  Their art attracted me. Today, we have entered the era of technology and globalization and started the new type of culture.  It becomes much faster and frequent to exchange cultures than before.  I am so excited to see what types of culture will be generated as a result. (S. S.)

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Data di creazione 31 dicembre 2006
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