Nicola Sani: Tempestate; orchestral works. © 2021 Stradivarius

CD Spotlight

The Sound Frontier

GIUSEPPE PENNISI listens to music for orchestra and electronics by Nicola Sani

'... of undoubted interest to all those who explore the new frontiers of sound.'


Nicola Sani is, at the same time, a musician and a musical organizer. As President of the Scelsi Foundation, he made known internationally one of the greatest Italian composers of the twentieth century; so much so that in the summer festival of Salzburg 2007 an entire section was entitled 'Kontinent Scelsi' and dedicated to him. As artistic director of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and as Superintendent of the Bologna Teatro Comunale, he brought contemporary music to theatres where it had rarely been at home. For some years, he has been directing the Chigiana International Festival and Summer Academy, a summer festival with about sixty performances, almost half of which are dedicated to contemporary music and about twenty are world or national debut.

Sani studied composition with Domenico Guaccero and electronic musical composition with Giorgio Nottoli, and then specialized with Karlheinz Stockhausen. He also followed the composition seminars of Tristan Murail, George Benjamin and Jonathan Harvey.

This information is important to specify that this CD is meant for those who are passionate about contemporary and experimental music. The CD contains five works composed between 2013 and 2019. In these works, new sound potential is experienced. The compositions originate in part from a cycle of lectures entitled 'sound lessons' held in Padua with the aim of introducing the public to the infinite potential of music with expressions that dig into emotions. A common feature of the five short scores are the nuances of the various sonorities. To enjoy the CD fully, you must listen to it through a high-quality stereo system. The five pieces, in fact, explore, with orchestra and live electronics, the limits of the potential of sound. The orchestra aims to bring acoustic space to multidimensional horizons and live electronics has the task of working on listeners' perception of sound.

The five short musical pieces find inspiration in part from external stimulation, not necessarily musical. The first, for example, Seascapes IX, Münster is very calligraphic as it is based on the photographic works of the Japanese Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Listen — Nicola Sani: Seascapes IX, Münster
(track 1, 2:03-2:53) ℗ 2021 Stradivarius :

The second composition, Deux, le contraire de 'un', is almost mystical. It is inspired by a text by Italian writer Erri De Luca where he emphasizes how the loneliness of man is interrupted by moments of intense solidarity: this translates into sweet abandons of the orchestral ensemble.

Listen — Nicola Sani: Deux, le contraire de 'un'
(track 2, 4:00-5:00) ℗ 2021 Stradivarius :

Back to visual art in the third piece, Light Red over Black; the composition gives musical expression to the American abstract expressionist Mark Rothko (1903-1970); here electronics join the orchestra almost to demonstrate it is contemporary with Rothko's period of maximum creativity.

Listen — Nicola Sani: Light Red over Black
(track 3, 2:47-3:47) ℗ 2021 Stradivarius :

The fourth piece, Gimme Scelsi, is an affectionate tribute to Giacinto Scelsi for orchestral ensemble; Scelsi's experiments on magnetic tape are re-proposed by the orchestra.

Listen — Nicola Sani: Gimme Scelsi
(track 4, 3:14-4:11) ℗ 2021 Stradivarius :

The last composition gives the title to the CD. It was born as an experiment with the Orchestra of Padua and Veneto and Alvise Vidolin at the electronic console; the experiment is part of a sound research co-produced by the Laboratory of Computational Sound Science of the University of Padua; the experiment is aimed at exploring the frontier of sound technology. It is a piece which is at the same time dramatic and tender, to enhance sound emissions.

Listen — Nicola Sani: Tempestate
(track 5, 11:55-12:55) ℗ 2021 Stradivarius :

This is a CD of undoubted interest to all those who explore the new frontiers of sound.

Copyright © 13 July 2021 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy





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