Duo Alterno - The Italian Contemporary Voice 1

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  Introduction to CD The Italian Contemporary Voice 1
Reviews on CD The Italian Contemporary Voice 1


CD Stradivarius (Milano, 2005) produced by Rive-Gauche Concerti with substain of Regione Piemonte and Fondazione CRT.

This is the first CD of the serie dedicated to the Italian vocal chamber repertoire in XXth century.

Interpreters: Duo Alterno - Tiziana Scandaletti soprano, Riccardo Piacentini piano.


Azio Corghi
Ricordando te, lontano per voce e pianoforte (1962)
1. Cori descrittivi di stati d’animo di Didone – III
2. La rosa bianca
3. Le mie mani
Texts by Sibilla Aleramo, Attilio Bertolucci, Giuseppe Ungaretti
Edizioni Ricordi

Luigi Dallapiccola
Tre Poemi per voce e pianoforte (1949, vers. dell’autore)
4. I
5. II
6. III
Texts by James Joyce (trad. it. Eugenio Montale), Michelangelo Buonarroti, Antonio Machado
Edizioni Universal

Domenico Guaccero
Da “Tre Liriche di Montale” per voce e pianoforte (1951)
7. Spesso il male...
8. Felicità raggiunta...
Texts by Eugenio Montale
Edizioni Semar

Luigi Nono
Da “La fabbrica illuminata”: Finale per voce sola (1964)
Text by Cesare Pavese
Edizioni Ricordi

Goffredo Petrassi
Due Liriche di Saffo per voce e pianoforte (1942)
10. Tramontata è la luna
11. Invito all’Eràno
Texts by Saffo
(tr. it. Salvatore Quasimodo)
Edizioni Suvini Zerboni

Riccardo Piacentini
Mano mobile clic (rap fotografico-digitale) per voce femminile, mani e “foto-suoni” (2001)
12. Il dito grilletto
13. Lira d’Orfeo
Text by Sandro Cappelletto

Giacinto Scelsi
Tre Canti di primavera per voce e pianoforte (1933)
14. Una risata
15. Capri
16. Ritmo
Texts by Sibilla Aleramo
Edizioni Ricordi

The Duo Alterno recount...

“Who would have imagined it? We are flying to Vancouver (it is February 1997) for our first concert as a duo and also for our first master-class on twentieth-century and contemporary Italian vocal chamber-music style; then they call us again from the University of British Columbia. And that’s not all. This is just the beginning of the tours de force that are to take us half-way round the world in a period of seven years. As guest teachers we enter institutions like the UBC and the Simon Fraser University of Vancouver, the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, the Tashkent State Conservatory, the UMBC in Baltimore, the Bowling Green State University, the Rutgers State University of New Jersey, the Almaty State Conservatory, the Joong Ang University in Seoul, the Peking Central Conservatory, the Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, the Madras Musical Association of Chennai, the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, the Xavier College in Melbourne, the Mannes College in New York.

And so artistic experience for us becomes one and the same thing as human experience, where travelling means holding concerts and workshops, but that’s not all: it means interacting on various levels with the students and teachers at the various venues, with audiences and organisers, at times surprising them with our repertoire and learning techniques that are new to them or, vice versa, being surprised ourselves by their repertoires and techniques. Like the time in Kazakhstan, when the Almaty Conservatory organised for us – and allowed us to record – a closed-door concert given by teachers and students with their ethnic instruments and their incredible shamanic music; or when we arrived at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and discovered that the festival we were going to perform in had been marvellously devised and indeed named Festival Piacentini Scandaletti; or again, when in Chennai we were allowed to enter the Madras School of Music barefoot and listen to and record every wonder of their minimal lessons (they wouldn’t let us take photographs but instead we were allowed to make a recording, or “photograph the sounds”, without their raising any objections). Paraphrasing Schoenberg in his preface to the Harmonielehre, we “learnt” our master-classes from the students as we went, and the Duo Alterno would not even exist now if we hadn’t learnt from these extraordinary experiences.

There were, however, times when we astounded. In Tashkent Tiziana got all the students in our master-class to lie down on the floor to relax and try out yoga breathing techniques together with the principles of the great phonotherapist Alexander Tomatis: incredulous they all did as they were told and never stopped thanking us. On another occasion in Peking, in a hall full of students whose knowledge of Italian vocal style was limited to a little bit of Verdi and the like, we presented the first-ever Chinese performance of that absolute masterpiece of Italian vocal chamber music, Alfredo Casella’s L’adieu à la vie, served up with a menu that further included pieces by Berio, Morricone and other contemporaries that left them all slack-jawed with wonder. At the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta a student overwhelmed with enthusiasm wanted to recommend to us his teacher, who had not been able to come to the master-class, insisting that we contact him by e-mail to perform one of Riccardo’s pieces in the near future. At the Rutgers State University we performed the “photo-music with photo-sounds”® which we have been working on since 1999, making extensive use of Tiziana’s vocal resources and of Riccardo’s composition, written as a soundtrack for the museums and castles of Piemonte; the applause was genuine and sincere, unrestrainedly warm. The same thing happened when we held a master-class at the University of Aarhus. Ears, eyes and instinct don’t mistake these things.

Why are we devoting so much space to masterclasses rather than concerts? Because for us master-classes have always represented the crucial moment of direct contact with the reality of a place. We have often encountered genuine warmth in our audiences (a striking experience in Denmark, but also in central Asian countries, or again in Indonesia and Australia, to say nothing of some delightful moments in North America) but wherever we have met with warm receptions they have been all the warmer in that magic moment when we meet the students. These are the occasions when we have clearly felt that we were transmitting and receiving messages that were destined to last; where we have felt that we were really communicating with the voice of music and the voice of the word. How close we felt to the teachers and students at the Almaty Conservatory! What delightful hospitality we received from the students of the Central Conservatory of Peking, during and after our master-classes which lasted five whole days!

Finally one might ask why our tale focuses on foreign countries and not on Italy, which we seek to portray predominantly in our programmes. The answer is simple and direct: the Duo Alterno seeks to promote the historic vocal chamber music to contemporaries. We have often worked with Italian institutions yet our priority is to “export” culture to countries where Italian music is missing or known only through stereotypes. True, the market of the image, both in cultural and in other fields, is based on stereotypes, but we should not like stereotypes to be synonymous with short-sightedness, for Italian vocal chamber music deserves a degree of attention which even musicologists are slow to grant. Admittedly Opera has absorbed the finest energies of the Italian voice, almost in the same way as the song has done with what has been defined by the ministry as contemporary popular music. There is, indeed, more and it is marvellously beautiful and this is what the Duo Alterno wants to relate.

The project, structured in three CDs which repropose – or rather propose, since this is a new idea and, in many cases, features first recordings – a “studied” journey through the great names of our chamber lyrics, from Dallapiccola and Petrassi on, not neglecting the latest generations and discovering young, unknown names like Scelsi, Guaccero and a Corghi ante litteram, is one which we think may stand amongst cultural operations which do not seek to shine for their spectacular appeal but as a necessity. Indeed it is necessary, at least we are convinced of this, to fill the unforgivable gaps in a vocal chamber repertoire that in Italian singing includes precious jewels calling out for a recognition that can be transmitted through concerts, master- lasses (seminars, lectures, workshops...) and also through recordings so that the “findings” can be preserved and not lost in the fleeting moment of performance, spectacular as this may be.

This is La voce contemporanea in Italia. This is the Duo Alterno.”

Interviews and biographies of the composers, prepared by Stefano Leoni

Rossana Dalmonte recently wrote in a scholarly essay for the volume “Twentieth Century” of the Einaudi Encyclopaedia of Music: “However, in the second half of the century this is not the most characteristic feature of vocal style in cultured music, indeed, one might say that it is the opposite, that is to say a voice that draws away from itself, denying the subject which it yet represents. In seeking to avoid the risk of rhetoric, the subject succumbs as though it were unrepresentable and everything that indicates it becomes a gesture that is out of place, felt to be indecent. The destructuring poetics of the avant-garde after the second world war attempted in fact to cancel out anything that might be part of the ambit of the subjective, the affective, the pathetic and, coherently, sought in all ways to deny the voice too ‘cantabile’ a vocal style.” Now, this reflection is, whether by chance or not, quite pertinent to the choices that the performers have made in this recording project; for this reason, and also to evoke some sort of a “clash” with the koiné of the late twentieth century, we have proposed four moments of reflection, not so much four “questions” as four “vocal” provocations, both in the more charming sense and in the more “corporeal” one.
1. There is a “pre-discursive and pre-semantic sound materiality of the word”. Here the voices are living corporeal vibrations which submerge other bodies with musical modulations like a gift, seductive, sweet, irresistible, dangerous, at times lethal” (A. Caverero)
2. Orpheus’ tragic destiny: the Maenads will get the better of him, befuddling his song: “Fierce war grows, measure is lost, the mad Erinys reigns. All the arms would have been tamed by song, but the great clamour and the Berecynthian flutes with short-cropped pipes, the timpani, the blows to the breast, the Bacchian howls drowned out the sound of the zither, and in the end the stones turned red with the song of the poet no longer listened to.” (Ovid) The power of the Orphic sound overwhelms the things and beings in the world of light and Inferno, but it is again sound, the sound of a god so close to Orpheus yet so fatal for him, Dionysus, that will overcome the song of the poet, the civilizer, the messenger of Apollo, the god of the logos that is made music, it is sound that wins, without the assistance of the word “that says”, of the word “that explains”, of the word “that evokes”: just sound as primitive, terrifying energy, the sound of drunken women.
3. Of Marchetto Cara, the singer and composer, it has been said that he possessed such a voice that in a placid manner, full of faint sweetness, he moved and penetrated souls, gently impressing a delightful passion in them. Those who have an ear, psychoanalytical sensitivity, Alberto Schön states, hear in this phrase, in the way it is structured and in its choice of words, “the echo of the events of fusion and separation”; being sweetly penetrated by the other, then blended, though for the fact of perceiving passion for something, for the fact of empathising – then emotionally recognising the other as other than oneself – thus being separated from the thing.
4. We step into the world of the fable and read “Orphic” enchantments and great emotions, and jouissance and nostalgia and musicalsonorous melancholy. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: – Finished! – Rat sighed, sitting down with a bump. – So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was finished so quickly I would rather not have meant it. For it has stirred a wish in me that is a torment, and nothing seems more worthwhile than to hear that sound again and hear it for eternity. No! Again! – he shouted more determined than ever. Bewitched, he was silent for a long time, enchanted. Now it’s moving away and I’m loosing it, - he grumbled all of a sudden. – Oh, Mole! How nice it is! The jolly chattering, the faint, neat, happy call of the distant flute! I have never dreamed of such music, and its call is even stronger than the music is sweet! Row, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us. Mole, in great uncertainty, obeyed. – I can’t hear anything, - he remarked, - other than the wind playing through the reeds and the rushes and the willows. – Rat gave no answer, if he even heard him. Enraptured, carried away, trembling, in all his senses he was possessed by the new divine thing that had taken his desperate soul and rocked it and soothed it, a harmless but happy little boy, in a strong, saving grip.

Azio Corghi replies (interview on December 18th 2004)

1. “When the composer wants to use the voice as a pure instrument, without asking for a meaningful text, the phonetic component of the word takes on phonic and cultural archetypes that go so far back and spread in all directions that this component becomes a reaction to emotions, to events, to all those things that are linked to the moment of learning the word in a language, until, codified through a series of phonetic components, it becomes a word. I remember reading the books of Martinet, Cassirer... These were the years when I discovered Marius Schneider’s The Meaning of Music, which I used in the composition of Symbola. I did not want any phonemes with meanings that could be linked to any signifiers at all, I merely wanted the pure acoustic component of the phonemes. Therefore I went back to these beginnings, to this world of shining sound, in which a purely acoustic event linked to the voice – this is the point – becomes a stimulus for what interested me most in the search for new sounds. I must say that in instruments, which are basically an extension of the voice, an extension of the physical aspect of the body, I have never found so many resources as those that can be directly realised with the voice. With time I discovered that the voice had so many more possibilities than what can be attained simply through a mechanical instrument or through the production of new sounds with traditional instruments. This is why, when I wrote the first libretto, for Gargantua, I referred to “frozen words”; in the first scene this character tells his travelling companions who feel words raining down from the sky in a stormy sea: “Do not be afraid, companions; these words were frozen last winter in a great battle; now that the spring sun is here they are raining down and come to our ears, that is to say, they melt and become referents.” This was the beginning of theatre for me, since before this in all my other works the voice had always been treated as an instrument, or I took some fragments of popular dialect songs to find more phonetic resources, syllabic structures that could enrich the sounds.”
“In 1986-87 I wrote this piece, drawing the text from Calasso’s Le Nozze di Cadmo e Armonia [The Birth of Cadmo and Harmony] which relates the myth of Dionysus in another way and the birth of inebriation. Dionysus insists that his friend should not ride the bull, symbol of Jupiter and of power, since it brings mortal danger. But in a moment when Dionysus does not see him, his friend wants to try to ride the bull, rides it magnificently until the bull unseats him and throws him to the ground, where he breaks his neck and dies. Then something beautiful happens in this story. Dionysus takes his friend and goes everywhere in search of someone who can resuscitate him, but not even the Hours who descend from heaven and bring all these wonders of sounds (here there might be the whole question of harmonics that  Schneider had talked about...) can bring him  back to life.  Nobody can revive him. Then  Dionysus holds his friend’s body tightly, caresses him, and from these caresses of the despairing god a plant is born, the grapevine, the plant that will give men inebriation. I say this because the physical aspect of a body, of any object that produces a sound, is always linked to a passion, to a gesture, to something that translates an emotion in the sense of communication, of the desire to speak to another. In this week’s issue of Espresso there is this very item: that the great men from Breton to one of the greatest semiologists in the world, George Steiner, affirm that we are going back to a form of oral communication, despite the internet, images and all the rest. This might be part of our discussion about singing in as much as it is only through the voice that we can manage to communicate well, that is to say we need the presence of the other person. They cite the fact, indeed, that the greatest men, from Jesus to Socrates, never wrote anything. This explains what is written in the bible, in the beginning was the Verb, the Word, the Indian cosmogonies, when there was this primordial sound, this D flat from which all the series of harmonics well up. In a sense these are the things that initiated a discourse which for me is bound up with a whole series of books, like Le pietre che cantano [The Singing Stones] or The Meaning of Music, where I found lots of ideas which freed me from the question of academicism which I had then, which was anyway an order that I wanted to break up but could not construct without thinking about something which had an order. They taught me this and ever after I have continued to insist that without form there can be no communication.”
“How often I have sung Marchetto Cara! It was even in Schinelli’s collection. I had sung all his canzonette and villanelle... The destination... if you do not know to whom you are addressing a message, if you have no pole of attraction, if the other does not stimulate you, if the other is not in some form of communication that can reach the highest point of love, physical love... and then the fact, just think, that when even animals sing when they reach this point and we sing when we want to express our joy, if we can even with some sort of improvised song that transmits tenderness even just the first form of a laugh, of a baby’s gurgle... these are all forms that reach that point of the as yet uncodified word and that part which Marchetto Cara I remember had these pieces which had a rhythmic component that involved the body because they were dance pieces. The canzonette and villanelle have always had these rhythms which recall symmetry.”
“Music – I said before – as inebriation, as a possibility even of soothing pain, something that comes back to us as an ambience (I am thinking about new age music), of creating a dimension in which you let yourself go. I have felt it perhaps once, when I was invited to Berkeley in California and they had me take part in the performance of a gamelan and led me into this big room which could not reflect the fundamental of a gong, which was a note with a wavelength of sixteen metres, just for a few centimetres, for the room was fifteen and a half metres long or something like that... But the room was very big and there were all these instruments on the floor. You had to go in barefoot, everyone chose his own instrument and then looked for his own rhythm among all the others because there were a lot of people, maybe twenty-five or thirty. Taking part in this event really was a way for me to immerge myself in sound through my body and through the sound I was looking for among all the others, for usually these instruments had this tuning, these harmonics... What I had discovered in Marius Schneider in that question of cosmogonies had a lot to do with it. Yes, playing I remember I took a sort of little xylophone and then there were a few wooden plates, but the fact that it was born through repetition and listening was the harmony of the mouse who says he is lulled. This is exactly what I felt, for there was a great accord and when they played there weren’t the lower sounds (big gongs or plates or bells...) and these sounds reflected a dimension with so many harmonics where with your own instrument you had to look for a way to insert yourself with simple relationships, or even more complex ones, but you had to find them in the upper harmonics and so there was this great harmonic that circled around you. That’s why, when all this discussion about the repetitive came out, I understood that it could only come from that part of the United States, because it was the part where all the Oriental culture was imported. Obviously when I sat down I tried to sit next to pretty girls...”

Riccardo Piacentini replies (interview on December 12th 2004)

1. “Signifier and signification… letter and spirit… there was a time when we said “form and content”, but a form “here” that is de-contestualised in terms of possible contents which “sound materially”, I might say “sound damnedly” regardless of whatever may be attributed to them later from outside (meaning? letter? content?). I agree with Cavarero about seductiveness, sweetness, riskiness. How could the voice, for its physiology and cultural needs, not be all this? Yet I continue to believe, and maybe to delude myself – I who live in the Babel of the mass media and of ideologically prepared images – that the subsequent attributions which (through signifiers, letter, form and all sorts of suitable and opportune “pre-discursivity”) are transmitted by the messages that the latest and most insistent market research demands are more irresistible and lethal.”
“I like to turn the tables. The Maenads do bewilder the apollonian Orpheus, the women inebriated by Dionysus are indeed inebriated, but the sound, the song would not be the same nor would they bear the same messages if these pre-conditions did not exist. Thus far everything seems to coincide, but here comes the about-turn: it is not a question of deciding who wins but who and how expresses what things. The how constrains the what, rather the hows constrain the whats, and this is not at all secondary or subordinate. The context will be decisive, the level of “civility” and “civilization” that we can bring to it, not necessarily the Dionysian orgy. We must work on the context. For my music I have often used the expression “contextual music” (and “photo-music with sound-photos”® used as accompanying ambient soundtracks fits this label perfectly), music, that is, applied to a particular setting, one particular vital context rather than any other, using now the zither, now the Berecynthian flutes, siding neither with Orpheus, nor Apollo nor the Maenads and Bacchic Dionysus. The voice may be Apollonian or Dionysian, may turn itself into a zither or a flute...”
“The voice, not just the voice of Marchetto Cara, is par excellence the instrument of emotion and passion. Yet, I feel, there is no need for us to have “psychoanalytical sensitivity” to feel or to empathise. I recall (paraphrasing) Paul Feyerabend’s ironic words: “We cannot say we are depressed without first consulting our psychoanalyst”. Nor do I believe, but I think this will be generally accepted, that passion is always “delightful” and “sweet”, all the less so in music. What I mean is that we can smile at passion (and at psychoanalysis, if humour is not buried by real or imaginary transfers), we can project a signifier which is not significant in itself – otherwise what signifier would it be? – in contexts which dress it in the most varied and contradictory significances. In other words, we can delight in the beauty of song without falling into a catatonic passion, without feeling we need to deal with psychoanalysis, or indeed, if it really is necessary to empathise (at times, to be sure, it is useful if not even gratifying), one can have an ear, ears rather, without forgetting what lies between them. The last resort of the voices, indeed, and I mean the mouth, is near the ear and the ears.”
“I haven’t read The Wind in the Willows or 18 19 any other tale by Kenneth Grahame. I do not know the context and this may bar me from the sense, or better senses (meanings, spirits, contents...). All I have is the signifiers that I find in the excerpt together with the expressive metaphor of the rat and the mole and, in consequence, have no hypothesis as to meanings. I understand and sympathise with the two animals’ “musical-sound melancholy”; I feel that I am in the boat with them and wouldn’t like to leave them to row alone. Orpheus’ enchanting flute, after all, like any metaphor that links it to the voice and song, seduces me too. Could it be otherwise? Yet I would not wish to be metaphorically defenceless, like the rat, or fairytale “happy”. A composer’s work can and must seek new manners of application, however Utopian this may seem given its unlikely equivalence with the old models of aesthetics ridiculed by more recent poetics with the complicity of the laws of the market. I stress the word “application”, adding the epithet (neither Orphic nor Greek) “contextual”: “contextual application”. The voice – it matters little whether in its Apollonian or Dionysian meaning or in both – is so “human” that Orpheus and the Maenads will not resist its charm. The voice will save music through its application to the contexts of life, on condition that its physiology is respected and that we do not confuse it, apart from metaphors, with a flute or another instrument...”

Translated by: Timothy Alan Shaw

Some reviews on CD Duo Alterno - The Italian Contemporary Voice in Italy 1

From “Amazon.com – Personne's review” – March 27th 2008: More than you asked for

“It's always nice to get more than you asked for. In my case, I ordered this CD for the performance of Dallapiccola's Tre Poemi. I was nicely rewarded in that regard, but was also delighted with performances of Nono, Petrassi and more. Duo Alterno is comprised of soprano Tiziana Scandaletti and pianist Riccardo Piacentini (who also contributes one of the pieces on the CD) [...] She's a first-rate soprano, with a timbre that at times reminds me of the much-missed Jan de Gaetani. And (this is very high praise in my book) she has guts. Not content to sit back and make pretty sound, she explores her range and expressive capabilities in significant ways. He's also a fine accompanist, knowing when to challenge and when to support. [...] Nono is fabulous, quiet and withdrawn. The piece by Piacentini deserves special note: it's an electronic piece, calling on some extendend techniques from the soprano. It's deftly done. Duo Alterno is a very good pair of musicians, and are convincing advocates for some worthy music. [...] Fine CD.” (Personne)

From “il Venerdì di Repubblica” – November 30th 2007: The duo that give voice (and piano) to the Italian XXth century

“[...] The three recent cds titled La voce contemporanea in Italia [The Italian contemporary voice] represent a beautiful anthology of many tendences retraceable in the XXth century and give a very precise idea of some our maximum composers. The first cd is historicly remarkable. It includes pieces by great and ‘grandissimi’ composers. A true discovery is Tre canti di primavera [Three Spring Songs] by Giacinto Scelsi [...] so sweet and animated from a dimension of celestial and ecstatic harmony [...] Masterworks of the following decade are Due liriche di Saffo [Two Saffo Lyrics] [...] by Goffredo Petrassi. Two marvellous songs in which the idea of a di una classical style that prescinds by the commonplace of the harmonic solution of any disagreement is formulated in a perspective that makes overlapping what is far and what is near [...] And also Dallapiccola's Tre poemi [Three Poems] are wonderful [...] free and structured at the same time, the dreamy Liriche written in 1951 by Domenico Guaccero [...] the strong pieces, written in the first Sixties, by Azio Corghi and Luigi Nono. By this one Mrs. Scandaletti perform Finale for solo voice from La fabbrica illuminata [The illuminate factory] in an acrobatic lightening of archaic trillings. And very interesting is Piacentini's piece on texts of Sandro Cappelletto, 2001, a kind of post-modern evocation of an hypothetical and humorous futurism. Important the other two cds too, where some cospicuouses things appear by Maderna, Morricone, Berio, Sciarrino, Clementi, Manzoni, Vacchi and others, in a musical landscape that does honor to the Italian art of XXth century.” (Claudio Strinati)

From “Corriere della Sera” – July 9th 2006: Scandaletti e Piacentini, direct line with the composers of 20th century

“Duo Alterno, that is the voice of Tiziana Scandaletti and the piano of Riccardo Piacentini, is an ensemble which exists since ten years and devotes itself to a tireless work of apostleship in the music of 20th century, mostly Italian. The Duo realized four CDs, dedicated to personalities such as Maderna, Ghedini and Casella, and now it adds other two anthological CDs. So now the two harmonious artists record works by Nono and Petrassi, Corghi and Sciarrino, Morricone and Berio and many others with the clear purpose to show not only the various technics in writing music, but also the manifold cultural and expressive horizons of the ‘patrol’ of composers that have made the history of the vocal music in the last one-hundred years. To their merit is to add the philological trustworthiness that comes from the scrupulous search and study through which they perform the scores and from having a continuous direct line with the same composers, really happy to give to Duo Alterno their new creations.” (Enrico Girardi)

From “Studi piemontesi” – June 2006

Hyperactive on the side of performing [...] the Duo Alterno from Torino [...] goes on also in recording CDs and giving in large amounts its energies and engagements to promote the music of 20th century and today [... now] two important CDs dedicated to «The Italian contemporary voice» for Stradivarius [...] We liked much the first one (2005), with music by Corghi, Dallapiccola, Guaccero, Nono, Petrassi, the same Piacentini and Scelsi. In this CD we appreciated - in respect to the soprano Tiziana Scandaletti - the meticulous treatment in phrasing, the clear intonation of the pitches, the carefullness in doing tangible the hide meanings of each fragment, as well as the perfect fusion of the ensemble, thanks to the exquisite qualities of accompanistof the the composer and pianist Piacentini. Now - Spring 2006 - come out «The Italian contemporary voice - vol. 2»; going through titles and names [...] two beautiful «Twelve Songs from Piedmont» (1968/70) by Carlo Mosso [...] that Scandaletti interprets with spicy irony [...] the «Four Popular Songs» by Berio [... with the] vocal line greatly impressing [...] In «Avendo gran disio» [...] the piano range - gracefully realized and with such timbric finesse by Piacentini - jokes on a modal setting made modern through rhythmic wits scattered with great intelligence. Really agreeable also the «Ballo» on a text by Sicily, an authentic tour de force for voice and piano, like a tongue twister full of acuminate and delirious rhythmic figures that make the page so irresistible (excellent the vocal interpretation and admirable the piano virtuosity). The fine CD starts indeed with a full bodied collection from the «Epitaffi sparsi» by Morricone (1992/93), bristly and humorous pages that request a not common vocal flexibility. Scandaletti second very well their stimmung declining her voice now with decision and emphasized accents («Epitaffio degli epitaffi»), now becoming painful and nearly imperceptible in the mysterious, worrying «Tu che passando osservi». These are pages [...] full of timbric fascination and reach of inventiveness [...] musically performed with great charme and effectiveness by the excellent Duo Alterno. Irresistible the epitaph «Per anni studiò da pianista» all done on the ironic caricature of the piano study made acidulous from a double-tonality, like a crooked and cubist pseudo-Clementi. All to admire. Other scenery for the «Two Songs on Verlaine» by Maderna (1946/47) [...] with their nice allusions to the habanera rhytm, their rearings in the high positions got with sureness and decisionMore than one simple mention we have to deserve to the «Little funny scenes» by Ada Gentile (2005) or «Betty Boop's daytime», reach of effects that are now dramatical, now unreal and fantastic, really concise comic scenes (dedicated to the Duo Alterno and maybe not oblivious of the unforgettable Cathy Berberian) with linguistic and dialectal mixtures, and with a pleasant mix of various vocal emissions: from a simple speech to the pure lyricism and much other more. [...] And the collection is a true very amusing joke. It includes also quotations for instance from the little Papageno's song in the Mozart's «Flute» [...] Really compelling. Elegantly performed by the protean voice of Scandaletti to whome the multi-performer Piacentini interwines his plot. The texts, so nicely fluent, are by Sandro Cappelletto. The CD ends with a arduous and hypnotic page of Sciarrino («Ultime rose» da «Vanitas») shared by the cellist Madeleine Shapiro [...] a really precious, enjoyable and rare CD.” (Attilio Piovano)

From “Hortus Musicus” – October-December 2005

“[... in the CD “The Italian contemporary voice - vol. I] the two perfomers of the Duo Alterno goes on their fundamental exploration of the vocality in 20th century through this very interesting selection of chamber lyrics con signed by some leading composer of the Italian avant garde: Corghi, Dallapiccola, Guaccero, Nono, Petrassi, Piacentini and Scelsi, present in the CD with a collection that reveals absolutely aesthetic qualities and variety of languages. It is, substantially, the first volume of a triptych which is entirely dedicated to the Italian contemporary repertoire, «from Dallapiccola and Petrassi upward, not forgetting the last generations and discovering a young and unknown Scelsi as well as an ‘ante litteram’ Guaccero or Corghi»: a project [...] totally indispensable just because of the absence of systhematic initiatives aimed to valorize an entire artistic civilization which found in Scandaletti and Piacentini two ‘spokespersons’ (also on the didactic side) of absolut reference for sensibility and competence and of laudable coherence in choising the repertoire and the interpretation [,,,] So we give an unconditional approval to a musicological laying able to reveal authentic precious jewells till now really little diffused [...] Authoritative the global setting up of the performance, characterized by a great elegance (sometimes with a necessary humour), by an absolut stylistic pertinence and by an inexhaustible energy of both the performers [...] the singer was totally up to the situation also thanks to the colouristic choices, fairly controlled from an extrahordinarily wide palette extended among arcane pearly sonorities (in the wonderful Nono), dense brush strokes (“Remembering you, farby Corghi) and livid and biting chiaroscuros (“Three Poemsby Dallapiccola), thanks to the wideness of the vocal spectrum (very well valorized from the high level of the recording) and the complete domination of technical means. Similarly efficacious the deep excavation, such as to approach effectively dramatic results (listen to, among the other ones, the Corghi's  lyric My hands”, or Guaccero's Gained happiness”) and also psicologically adequately defined, always supported by a research in timbre (both vocal and piano) of particular charm and suggestion, research which we think culminates in the performance of the two pieces by Nono and Piacentini, highly more complex and varicoloured in their radical sperimental conception. The CD is accompained with a rich bilingual booklet including a presentation signed by the Duo Alterno, two interviews, the texts of the performed works, an exhaustive profile of the authors.” (Claudio Bolzan)

From “Suono” – September 2005

“The CD “La voce contemporanea in Italia vol. 1” [“The Italian Contemporary Voice vol. 1”] is the first of three CDs of a wider work project intended to a proper triad  on the contemporary vocal repertoire [...] As the same performers intelligently remark, this project gives us a thoughtful journey among the great composers of our chamber lyric, from Dallapiccola to Petrassi an over, not forgetting the last generations and discouvering a young and unknown Scelsi so as an “ante litteram”  Guaccero and Corghi [...] We perfectly agree with the “bravissimi” performers on the necessity to fill the guilty gaps of a chamber vocal repertoire which, in the Italy of singing, has so precious jewels [...]” (Rocco Mancinelli)

From “La Stampa” – 19th May 2005: [...] Saffo's voice

“[...] The composer and pianist Riccardo Piacentini and the soprano Tiziana Scandaletti [...] keep on their useful rediscovery of the “Italian contemporary voice”. After the homages to Ghedini, Casella and Alfano, now the journey meets authors of the second XXth Century inspired by extrahordinary verses of Aleramo, Bertolucci, Montale, Pavese, Ungaretti, while Goffredo Petrassi yields to Saffo. Voice and piano: a repertoire dotted of masterworks, not finished, always to propose, like the quality of this CD confirms.” (Sandro Cappelletto)


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