Irma Ravinale – Recherche

Posted on January 18th, 2021 by

‘At the beginning of 1986, when i was 19, I learnt a piece by the Italian composer Irma Ravinale ( 1937 – 2013). I never had the chance to meet the composer, but this was the first contemporary solo work which I learnt in close detail ( I used to play it from memory). I have not touched the piece since I was 20, but have often taken it from the shelf, and looked over the score, with great affection.  So, today, I decided to confront my 19 year old self, and to play the piece, from the scores, without adjusting any of my teenage technical procedures. It was a fascinating exercise for me. I needed to get past my frustration at the lack of really integrated detail marked in on the score. I think that it is fair enough to say that I learnt the piece well enough at the time, that the comparative paucity of information on my part was ameliorated, to a degree by my memory of the piece, once it was in under my hands again. There was no doubt, in my mind or body, what I had done.  But, and it’s a big but, I have two criticisms of my youthful self. Firstly, everything was sequential – all that I was trying to do at the time, was to string notes and phrases together, sequentially, as if music is ‘…and…and…and….and…'( You get the picture -not pretty, technically or musically). The second criticism is that I did seem to have given any thought to colour or timbre. Everything was as interesting as a dull dy at a motorway service station. It was impossible for me to play the piece, now, without addressing that. I hope that the new reading ameliorates that.  For all that, it was exciting to return to this fascinating, and very beautiful piece, which is, in some ways, and elegant modernist improvisation, eschewing repetition or traditional structures. At the time, I had no idea how much this piece would lay the foundation for a lifetime fascination with solo writing. ‘