56. Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea + EXTREME –

The 56th International Festival of Contemporary Music is titled +EXTREME- and refers to the musical minimalisms and maximalisms of our times. From 6th to 13th October 2012, eight intense days of events featuring concerts, sound installations, ateliers, audio-visual performances and works of musical theatre that will offer the public 51 premieres, including 28 world premieres.

“What is particularly striking in the musical landscape of our day – says the new director Ivan Fedele – are the extreme orientations: minimalisms and maximalisms that seek out the outlying regions of musical language, apparently antithetical approaches that share the radical nature of their aesthetic-poetic intent, de facto abandoning the political correctness of pieces that work well or sound good”. The 56th Festival will present some of the significant actors of these “excessive” practices, contextualized and examined in relation to the “classics” of radicalism: from Brian Ferneyhough’s counterpoint tangles, for example, to the saturation achieved by forty-year olds Franck Bedrossian and Raphaël Cendo, to the dematerialization of sound by Salvatore Sciarrino and the mystic striving of Sofija Gubajdulina, the music built on the minimum unit of a single bit by thirty-year-old Tristan Perich, and the hypnotic fixedness of Kirill Shirikov or the expressive urgency of Nikolai Popov and Alexander Khubeev, intriguingly audacious Russian composers just barely over the age of twenty. The 56th International Festival Contemporary Music will be inaugurated on Saturday 6 October with the winners of the Lions awarded by the Biennale di Venezia: Pierre Boulez who, as previously announced, will be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, and the Quartetto Prometeo, a young but recognized Italian chamber music ensemble, which will be awarded the Silver Lion, a prize conferred by the Biennale to new musical groups. With a repertory that ranges from Bach to Sciarrino and a recognizable performing quality, chosen as the resident ensemble at the Britten Pears Academy in Aldeburgh in 1998 and invited to perform in the finest Italian and international concert seasons, the Quartetto Prometeo will play in the Sala delle Colonne at Cà Giustinian (6:00 PM) in a concert that cuts to the quick of Extreme. The static soundscapes of Phil Niblock, born in 1933, one of the pioneers of American minimalism, will be followed by the melodic minimalism of German composer Carola Bauckholt, ending with the distorted sounds of French composers Franck Bedrossian and Raphaël Cendo, exponents of a real aesthetic movement known as “saturationism”, an “acid” derivation of French spectralism. The concert at the Teatro alle Tese (8:00 pm) will feature an indivisible duo: Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble Intercontemporain. On the programme is Sur incises by Pierre Boulez, composer, conductor, theoretician, a fervent advocate of twentieth-century music, in one of the most spectacular pieces of his recent production: following a module the composer is fond of, it develops and expands the original matrix Incises, a fragment for solo piano. The two pieces will be separated by the equally irresistible Sonata for two pianos and percussions by Béla Bartók.

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