Luigi Nono – La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura

Posted on February 5th, 2015 by


Rehearsing Nonp 22 2 15

Rehearsing Nonp 22 2 15

Luigi Nono-La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura
Peter Sheppard Skaerved-Violin (Amati 1629), Electronics-Tom Mudd
February 22nd 2015 (Great Hall, Goldsmiths College, london)

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This will not be a 'normal' performance, it seems to me. The 'cantando con voce' which is all over the score, and the pointing at text, has unleashed a flood of influences, which may, or may not become audible, including Boiardo, Walpole, Dee, Colonna, Tasso, Racine....'the door on the left hand, the distance'...(Horace Walpole 'Castle of Otranto')  Peter in a field in Bavaria (long time ago) Photo Bernd Noelle

This will not be a ‘normal’ performance, it seems to me. The ‘cantando con voce’ which is all over the score, and the pointing at text, has unleashed a flood of influences, which may, or may not become audible, including Boiardo, Walpole, Dee, Colonna, Tasso, Racine….’the door on the left hand, the distance’…(Horace Walpole ‘Castle of Otranto’)
Peter in a field in Bavaria (long time ago) Photo Bernd Noelle

Works by Luigi Nono, Helmut Lachenmann, Heinrich Biber
Violin-Peter Peter Sheppard Skaerved
Electronics-Tom Mudd

Sunday February 22nd, 230pm
Admission Free
http://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=8328

Great Hall-Goldsmiths College
Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

Luigi Nono-La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura
Helmut Lachenmann-Toccatina
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber-Der Schutzengel als Begleiter des Menschen

This afternoon concert is part of the ‘Compositional Aesthetics and the Political’ conference, hosted by the Contemporary Music Research Unit

Nono becomes encrusted,  plus some help from a Geode from the Sierra Madre 5  2 15

Nono becomes encrusted, plus some help from a Geode from the Sierra Madre 5 2 15

7th February (Captain’s log)…over the past week, I have become more fascinated by the layerings, which the provisional nature of this piece challenges me to make. As you can see from the page above, this initially took the form of texts which started to ‘float’ towards the piece, and in one case, texts buried in images in another text, the extraordinary 1504 Hypnertomachia Polyphiliae  by Colonna, which lead me to Boaiardo, to T H White, to Marx, to Aesop, to a 12th Century Bestiary, to Hegel, to the Psalms, to Tartini, to Dr Dee, to Horace Walpole .. answering the implied question in Nono’s ‘cantando dolcissimo con voce dove possibile’… . The question being ‘Sing what?’ (I won’t sing ‘ooh’ or ‘mm’)

Progess...7 2 15

Progess…7 2 15

16th February-New York City. -15 temperature, deep snow in Central Park and Brancusi offer inspiration

Ice. Central Park 16 2 15

Ice. Central Park 16 2 15

Pathway 16 3 15

Pathway 16 3 15

Ice, water, fresh snow 16 2 15

Ice, water, fresh snow 16 2 15

East of the Reservoir 16 2 15

East of the Reservoir 16 2 15

Brancusi-Bird in Space. Metropolitan Museum, 16 2 15

Brancusi-Bird in Space. Metropolitan Museum, 16 2 15

Performance

Rehearsal: working with filmmaker Immo Horn

Rehearsal: working with filmmaker Immo Horn

 

Composer Paul Pellay writes about the performance, about Nono: ‘Went up to London today to catch up with Peter Sheppard Skaerved as he let loose with another of his uncategorisable showcases, this one at Goldsmiths. The main work was Luigi Nono’s “La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura”, for violin, 8 pre-recorded tapes and several music stands. The player had to move from one stand to another to continue the work as the stands were not positioned contiguously – and that’s no accident: Nono required the violinist to be a “caminante” – the player had to “travel” from one stand to another to continue the work, thus journeying through the piece literally as well as figuratively. Cards on the table: Nono is one of those composers whose music has mostly been a locked door to me – Elliott Carter, Boulez and Henze are easy game in comparison, at least in my experience! Part of the problem may well be the fact that up to now my exposure to Nono has been exclusively through recordings. A visual element clearly plays a vital role in experiencing his work. And the problem may well have been mine, too: as a composer I tend to approach any music analytically – it’s a tendency I find myself having to curb more and more these days, because a lot of music actively resists this approach, Nono’s especially. So for me, the only way I could find myself on some kind of wavelength with this work was to simply lose myself in it and experience it as a stream-of-consciousness experience somewhere between wakefulness and a sort of trance (short of an outright “doze”!). As a listener I felt I was stretched to the limits of my capabilities, and maybe I needed to be in that position. The trick lies in being willing to be stretched – most people shrink away from the challenge because they labour under the hopelessly limiting belief that music is just “entertainment”! It’s something far more complex and, yes, often far more disturbing than that: it can force the listener to face up to oneself and realise that what one sees one may not necessarily like. And that’s all right. Really it is. Nono’s music brings me face to face with my limitations as a listener, and forces me to try to find a way to overcome them. And if any success on that front only brings me up against new limitations? Then I have to find a way to overcome them too. A lifelong process. Nono’s work is part of a series of works which on one level (as I perceive it) operate on the notion that life is a journey that one has to travel. And if there’s no road? You must travel all the same. The one work of his out of that series I have liked enough to listen repeatedly up to now is in fact titled “No hay caminos, hay que caminar” – which roughly translates as “there is no road, yet you have to walk”. Life itself, really.
As for Peter’s………….I hesitate to call it “performance”; undergoing as complex and undefinable a process as represented by the way “La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura” unfolds in a space such as the Great Hall in Goldsmiths College isn’t something I can pigeonhole with the term “performance”, somehow. But the whole experience with him as both guide and traveller left me feeling a little differently about that locked door with the name “Luigi Nono” on it. I don’t think that door has opened. Not yet. But this experience has at least left me feeling that the door might eventually open of its own accord, even if only by the narrowest of cracks………….’23 2 15