Concert for the second edition of the European Day of Early Music promoted by REMA (European Early Music Network) with the patronage of Unesco.

Recital by Francesco Gesualdi, accordion


Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 – 1643): from Secondo Libro di Toccate (1627):

                                                     Toccata I

                                                     Toccata IV da sonarsi alla levatione

                                                     Toccata II

Carlo Gesualdo (1566 – 1613): Canzon francese del principe

Aldo Clementi (1925 – 2011): Ein Kleines (1998)

Stefano Gervasoni (1962): Album di figurine doppie, prima esecuzione assoluta (2014)

Sofia Gubaidulina (1931): De Profundis (1978)

The accordion in concert, of a wider scope.

There are many definitions to explain the accordion. Certainly the accordion is a key instrument, an organ in a reduced format: two keyboards, reed ranks, register switches – independent and interactable – which have an overall range of seven to eight octaves, based on the different existing models played today. The accordion is – also for its timbre richness – various wind instruments, with “free reeds” that vibrate blown by the bellows. The accordion is a bowed instrument: as for a bowed instrument, the sound of the accordion is very dynamic and is managed by a “bow” – the bellows of the accordion – which defines its expressive strength and type of articulation.

As such a multiform instrument, various musical characteristics can gravitate around it, some of which are present here in this program.

The nature of a mystical and intimate music of Sofia Gubaidulina’s De Profundis, original composition for accordion – moved by a strong conception of the author, deeply spiritual and expressive of the music – written by the Tatar composer in 1972 and linked to the Psalm of Ascents. A large composition that presents a formal structure characterized by three wide periods, in which three great images of the spirit are depicted, the depth of suffering, the painful ascension and the splendor of grace. But the accordion can also appropriate the nature and style of Early Music, for organ and harpsichord (given the ancient and pre-Bachian indistinction between different keyboards) by Frescobaldi, with its own autonomous interpretation – well outlined – without, however, freeing itself from the playing style of that era in which the keyboards of the organ, clavichord, and harpsichord reached their apogee. The part of the program dedicated to Early Music will include the  performance of three Toccatas by Girolamo Frescobaldi, taken from the Secondo Libro di Toccate of 1627. It will be accompanied by the Canzon francese del principe of Carlo Gesualdo, composer known for the tortured and experimental chromatism of his madrigals (a language that makes it seem futuristic for the time when Gesualdo used it).

The “Canzon” is here in its meaning as an instrumental piece for organ, harpsichord, lute, for instrumental ensembles of strings and winds, rhythmically characterized by a dactyl timbre and the balance between counterpoint, cadential moments and chordal homorhythm. These examples of pages of contemporary and early music, intertwined with each other, very well exemplify the meaning of this program, which has been given, in agreement with the artistic direction of the Pietà de’ Turchini, the denomination of Anti-con-Temporary. Musical styles temporally so distant but often so close, able to mutually evoke each other, both for aspects related to the conception of sound, and for aspects more strictly related to compositional practice. And the accordion is the most interesting instrument to carry out an operation of this nature. Musical instrument of the post-modern era ( as an instrument of the cultured class), able to act as an intermediary between the present (temporary) time and the ancient time of classical music. A sound synthesis instrument of traditional keyboards, with an organ sound and the expressive sound of the harpsichord. The program is completed by an absolute first performance of a composition for accordion by an important Italian composer, Stefano Gervasoni, Abbiati prize 2010. It is a cycle of four short compositions that the well-known composer from Bergamo – professor of composition at the Conservatoire supérieur de Paris – he originally wrote for piano of which he entrusted Gesualdi with a critical transcription for accordion. Each of these short compositions presents a specific compositional peculiarity. In the Album di figurine doppie (2014) – this the title given to the composition – you can find the “figurina” that explores the phonic and timbral characteristics of the instrument, you can find the figurina that explores a style of writing – rather than another – suitable to be well done with the accordion or, again, you can find a figurinea that deals with musical conceptual aspects closely related to the interpretation of the sound nature. Due to the qualities of “performer” required in some of these figurine one could speak of “theater of executions”, of Kagelian memory, processed by Gervasoni with its own compositional identity, very autonomous and personal. The side-by-side work with Gervasoni is destined to expand, in fact the composer is beginning to write new original compositions for accordion – “new figurine” – which will enrich the cycle – intended for the interpreter – performed here for the Pietà de’ Turchini. Finally Ein Kleines… by Aldo Clementi, composition from 1998: a distillation of polyphonic writing, which enriches, in my opinion, the original 20th-century literature for accordion. From a compositional point of view we are faced with four short inventions based on the elaborate polyphony of two-part counterpoint. Four two-part counterpoints that could be read as derived from two four-part counterpoints. In addition to all the contrapuntal artifices, Ein Kleines… proposes a differentiated, irregular rhythmic scan, because it is staggered in the chronometric time common to the two sound levels of the counterpoint. The origin of the use of this rhythmic way of proceeding is to be found in the literature of the authors of the French Ars Nova of the 14th century (Zacchara da Teramo, Filippotto da Caserta), based precisely on some series of rhythmic modules from which entire compositions were generated .

Enjoy the music, Francesco Gesualdi

Francesco Gesualdi

is acknowledged  by critics and the musical environment as one of the leading Italian accordionists involved in the development of the concert accordion and in the performance of contemporary music. Master of a wide repertoire – ranging from Frescobaldi, Bach and Carlo Gesualdo to Berio, Donatoni, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Gubaidulina, up to W. Rihm, Hosokawa and the Kagel Theater of Music – he conducts his concerts  in some of the most important musical centers, playing for organizations, concert societies, associations, theaters, radio. His interest in the study and interpretation of contemporary music led him to achieve, in Italy, Europe and Australia, the first performances of many composers of the contemporary music scene: S.Bo, D. Bogdanovic, M.Cardi, G.Cardini, M. D’Amico, M.Franceschini, S. Gervasoni, A.Gilardino, S.Gubaidulina, T.Hosokawa, M.Kagel, R.Laganà, A.Magini, JTMaldonado, F.Nieder, R Pascal, M.Pintscher, T. Reiner, W. Rihm, G. Ulivelli, A.Solbiati. Furthermore, in the main concert contexts (at the Piccolo of the Teatro Comunale in Florence – XXX season GAMO; Auditorium in Rome; Teatro della Pergola in Florence – Tempo Reale Festival; at the Piccolo of the Teatro Regio in Turin – Settembre Musica; GAM in Milan), performed the absolute premieres of works by some of the most interesting young composers: V.Montalti and F. Verunelli (Silver Lions at the Venice Biennale 2010), M.Franceschini, A.Sarto, S.Shimura, M.Giuliani.

His collaborations in the sphere of today’s chamber music are numerous and important: he played with the guitarist L.Attademo, the violinists M.Kanno and D. Ceccanti, the cellists F. Dillon, A.Ivashkin, the oboist F. Bagnoli, the pianists M. Fossi and G. Nardi, the Savinio Quartet, the singers S.Bergamasco and M.Leoni, the European Ensemble “Antidogma” of Turin, the “Freon” ensemble of Rome, the “Contempoartensemble” of Florence , the PMCE Ensemble in residence of the Parco della Musica in Rome, with the research and production center “Tempo Reale”, with the ZKM Center in Karlsruhe.

He is also acknowledged  specific qualities of “performer” and in this role he has developed personal interpretations of two important works by M. Kagel, linked to his very personal Theater of musical performances: Pandora’s box (Teatro Romano of Fiesole – Festival Estate Fiesolana) and Pas de cinq (Fabbrica Europa Festival in Florence; Biennale di Venezia). He also played and performed live in the following productions: La Stanza della Memoria (Scena Veriticale, directed by the Ubu S. La Ruina prize); Crave (Murmuris, directed by L.Croce, text by Sarah Kane); Il lettore a ore (Metastasio Theater, directed by J.S Sinisterra, with Maya Sansa).

He conceived and developed  the “Futurism in periferia” project, supported by the University of Cosenza and the Academy of Denmark in Rome, for accordion, oboe, baritone and reciter, with world premiere music by Cardi, Magini, Montalti, Cesa, Solbiati.

He managed to get the accordion in, through the main door in Various and prestigious musical centers and concert contexts. Among these are the Auditorium of Milan, the Auditorium of the NGV of Melbourne, the Auditorium of the Monash University, live for Rai Radio3, for the Australian SBS Radio, for Radio Orf in Vienna, Amici della Musica of Firenze, Amici della Musica Music of Modena, Amici della Musica of Ancona, Sala Petrassi and Sala Sinopoli of the Parco della Musica in Rome, Tempo Reale Festival, Piccolo of the Teatro Comunale in Florence  (GAMO Season), Piccolo of the Teatro Regio in Turin  (Settembre Musica), Teatro della Pergola of Florence, Metastasio Theater of Prato, Teatro Romano of Fiesole, ZKM Auditorium of Karlsruhe, Days of Contemporary Music of Segovia in Spain, Conservatory of Oviedo, Altdorf Festival in Switzerland, etc.

He has recorded for EMA records and for Curci. He teaches at the Conservatory of Avellino. He founded the RowsEnsemble of which he is the artistic director. Since 2011 he has been Director of the Gruppo Aperto Musica Oggi (G.A: M.O.) of Florence.

Among the upcoming engagements, we note a new program for accordion and electronic composed of all original music written specifically for Gesualdi. It will also be performed for Nuova Consonanza in Rome and for the Concert Season of the ZKM Center for Music and Acoustics in Karlsruhe. Moreover, in the spring it will record a monographic program dedicated to Frescobaldi. The recording will become a Brillant classic CD which will be released in early 2015.

Stefano Gervasoni

Born in Bergamo in 1962, Stefano Gervasoni began studying composition in 1980 thanks to the advice of Luigi Nono: this encounter, as well as the one with Brian Ferneyhough, Peter Eötvös and Helmut Lachenmann, was decisive for his career. After studying at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Stefano Gervasoni completed his education in Hungary with György Ligeti in 1990, and later in Paris, where in 1992 he attended the Ircam Computer Music and Composition Course. The first three years of his stay in France created the conditions for an international career that led him to be a “pensionnaire” at Villa Medici in 1995-1996. Commissioned among others by the WDR, SWR, the RAI National Orchestra, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, Radio France, IRCAM, the Casa da Musica in Porto, the Archipel Festival in Geneva, the Divertimento Ensemble of Milan, the Intercontemporain Ensemble, the Modern Ensemble, the Contrechamps Ensemble of Geneva, the Maerzmusik Festival in Berlin, the Ars Musica Bruxelles, the Strasbourg Music Festival, the French Ministry of Culture, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Stefano Gervasoni is acknowledged as one of the most important Italian composers of his generation. His portfolio – which includes chamber, vocal, concertante, orchestral, ensemble music and an opera (Limbus-Limbo), commissioned for the fiftieth anniversary of the Percussions de Strasbourg (2012) – has been published by Ricordi since 1987 and, since 2000, it is published by Suvini Zerboni. A monographic CD entitled Antiterra, including the pieces An, Animato, Antiterra, Least Bee, Godspell, Epicadenza, was published in France by Aeon and testifies to «a sound world of great richness, subtlety, refinement, expressive but also organic, which catches the immediate attention »(Philippe Albèra).  From his discography we also mention the monographic CDs Harmonia Mundi of the Musique Française d’Aujourd’hui series, (Ensemble Contrechamps), Stradivarius (Divertimento Ensemble) and the recent Dir – released in Germany by Winter und Winter. Crowned with numerous awards, including the “Franco Abbiati” Music Critics Award (2010), his work has allowed him to receive a scholarship at the Fondation des Treilles in Paris (1994) and at the DAAD in Berlin (2006) and composer in residence at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec for the 2008-2010, three-year period.  He was also invited as a professor at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, at the courses of the Royaumont Foundation (Paris), the Toho University of Tokyo, the International Festival of Campos do Jordão in Brazil, the Shanghai Conservatory , Columbia University (New York) and Harvard University (Boston). He was composer in residence at the Lausanne Conservatory (2005) and visiting professor at ESMUC in Barcelona for the academic year 2012-13. Since 2006 Stefano Gervasoni has been Musical Composition Professor at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris.

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