Stabat Mater by Gaetano Panariello
Lia Scognamiglio, soprano
Leopoldo Punziano, tenor
The Pietà de’ Turchini Choir
Gennaro Damiano – Christian Di Meola, Giuseppe Lettiero, Domenico Monda, Sandro Verlingieri, percussion
Fabio Cesare – saxophone
Davide Troìa conductor
And higher up, the stars. New ones. The stars of the Land of
But in the southern sky, pure as the palm
of a hallowed hand, the clear sparkling “M”
which stands for Mothers …
(R. M. Rilke)
The dazzling constellation of the “mother” shines stainless over the millennia and Western culture – and not only – questions and exercises on this myth declined in its most remote recesses. In every latitude the image of motherhood evokes kaleidoscopic suggestions, all reassuring and fascinating: enchanting and beneficial spells procure only the progression of the “word”. Changing affections invade the semantic field of this unparalleled “refuge”, dissimilar feelings, the result of an unparalleled, exemplary and complex path, are enclosed in the Christian imagination in the exceptional story of Mary. Chosen to design and inspire an invulnerable and admirable model of motherhood, it is, finally, a configuration that goes beyond any creed and latitude.
The enviable “journey” – magnificent and exclusive – leads to the “writing” of an admirable “book” on the world of femininity. The meanings that invest it are all sublime and listed in those radiant visions ringed in the litanies: dazzling “representations” for an enviable catechesis. The culminating moment of this earthly “wayfarer”, devoted to celestiality in an amazing Assumption, is the experience of the pain of losing one’s “fruit”. The stages of her life as a mother generate spiritual texts of extreme poetry that culminate with the Stabat Mater sequence attributed to Jacopone da Todi, author of the no less heart breaking lauda, Donna de Paradiso. The 13th-century “prayer” starts from the contemplation of the “affections” contained in the suffering of the Virgin in the presence of the crucified son to arrive at the orator’s desire to be made a participant in those same pains, so that he can finally participate in that cathartic bliss presaging paradisiacal scenarios.
The succession of triplets since their appearance, becomes a common and legendary patrimony, influencing the imagination of many artists who incessantly intone the “favorite” text covering it with suitable notes to arouse the right fascination of the faithful; shapes and styles from time to time return the high weight of the dramatic page, creating the right sound atmospheres capable of involving the onlookers in this path of suffering, presage of a heavenly landing.
Over the centuries the twenty stanzas – variously used – inspire music of undoubted suggestion inspired by the most advanced compositional requests – think also of the continuous changes inflicted, during the first century by the composition, to the widespread Pergolesian Stabat so that it would always be “updated” – aimed at moving and shaking the most dissimilar “audiences”. Gaetano Panariello is part of this long tradition, bearing witness to the modernity of the theme that has neither time nor “place”. The composer’s trial constitutes a further musical reflection on the text, revealing new and obsolete perspectives thanks to surprising choices, in which varied experiences and cultured suggestions are added.
The stylistic code is the one consolidated by the long compositional militancy aimed at a stratification of knowledge, complex and learned, elaborated following a project of adamant linearity in which those barriers that had caused the irremediable fracture between the artist and the public seem to have now fallen. Where only a milieu of elected people was able to “decipher” and interact with the work of art. The healed wound and the resumed communication, recreates that empathic dialogue under the banner of a common feeling. Panariello knows the expectations of the public and urges them without ever neglecting the right margin for experimentation that becomes “reassuring”, stimulating. The composer from Campania participates fully in that ferment that now invades the arts all aimed at re-establishing the “relationships” with the “spectator”, actually with the “spectators”: in a transversal way, the needs of heterogeneous groups are met by building new aesthetic strategies and branding.
In addition to the alto saxophone, the score includes a large amount of percussion entrusted to five highly skilled performers who, with virtuosity, must pass from one instrument to another with a certain rapidity. Fixed sound keyboards (two vibraphones, one marimba, one glockenspiel), kettledrums, a serie of tom-tom (high, medium, low), drums, three different types of gong, tam-tam, bass drum, three woodblocks, tubular bells, little boats, whip, metal plate. These are the instruments provided by Panariello for his Stabat, an ensemble destined to undergo some changes during the concertation phase, re-proposing scenarios of a completely different season in which the performance needs, can lead to unexpected “improvisations”. The solo voices and the choir complete the ensemble of the complex and refined score, built on the identical textual choices of Pergolesi – same as the author from Jesi, Panariello divides the sequence into twelve sections – and relying on a varied musical memory, in which disparate languages meet and coexist.
Eloquent signs of a “high” and “low” tradition converge within the twelve parts with astonishing balance and persuasion, daring procedures are “offered” by resorting to due “contempt” for which nothing appears uncomfortable or “abstruse” but everything seeks to design, in a “simple” and “natural” (in the higher sense) way, a progressive process of elaboration of pain, in fact of mourning. This transfiguration is unequivocally recognizable from the merciless initial “meteorology” to the corrusive final force of “Paradisi gloria” entrusted to the soprano and the choir supported by the two vibraphones, the sax and, of course, some percussions that draw a scenario (or a path ), in fortissimo, reassuring and salvific.
The “intense rain” with which the score opens draws an atmosphere that refers to the scriptures, the “landscape” is gradually circumscribed to investigate the drives of the one who occupies an ancillary space at the foot of the cross. Her voice is contained in the tragic interjection of the short glissandi entrusted to the solo soprano- a sort of micro passages extorted from the tradition of the saetas – that emerge from the whole, and above all come out of the atypical sequence – mi / fa / sol / lab / sib / do / reb / mi. A sequence initially entrusted to the sax in short semiquaver triplets (sort of reminiscing the woodwinds announcing the street liturgies of the Holy Week) soon emulated and then increased – half-notes and whole notes – in the choir part, subjected to a series of artifices.
Contrapuntal procedures dear to madrigal literature with imitation sections and other similar things, testify to the historical fabric of the page and the knowledge of a musical writing that, without hesitation, feeds its artifacts to that legacy transmitted by a noble and “ancient” “craftsmanship” “. The conduct of the parts “severe” and yet so modern, is the brand of a workshop in which musical “knowledge” is masterfully mixed. For example, obsessive, reiterative minimalism makes a fine show of itself in the “notes” entrusted to the instruments in the “Cuius animam gementem”, where the choir proceeds according to dictates of great rigor, or the a cappella choir with which the “Fac ut portem” begins , soon contaminated by sounds that amplify the verses flow.
No less sophisticated expedients are found in the third section, “O quam tristis”, where, among other things, the line “Mater unigeniti”, for six voices, is broken down in a scalar manner between the voices in crescendo (“Ma-ter | u -ni- | ge / gen- | ni- | ti / ti || Ma-ter ») with all in a sudden “pianissimo”for the repetition of / Mater / while the accent of / unigèniti / is safeguarded by the long note (half-note) in the alto, strengthened by the quaver of the soprano who is preparing to close the verse (bars 24-25 and 27-28).
Estranged dance rhythms and distant echoes of ancestral sounds, linked to a “folklorist” devotional practice, twist and turn, creating a multitude of sound “stations” that refer to a “living” representation. Images chase each other, arousing a whirlwind of sensations such as those stimulated by the darting ascending and descending notes, entrusted to the vibraphones in the eighth section under the words “Christum Deum” (m. 65-73), although the burning of the heart is entrusted to the ” chromatic precipices ”descending from the voices that chase each other more and more compact (bars 1-27 and then 48-56).
Once again the spiritual theater of Gaetano Panariello speaks to the world with the language of conciliation and universality that goes beyond any predefined identity, the painful funeral “band” emerges with force bringing with it “other” experiences that merge into dissimilar and conflicting memories, soon frustrated by the radiant «Paradisi gloria».
Gaetano Panariello, Neapolitan composer and teacher, was mentored by Aladino Di Martino and Franco Donatoni for composition and by Carmen Gambardella and Tita Parisi for piano.
Lecturer in Italian Conservatories since 1982, he helds the chair of Composition at the “S. Pietro a Majella” in Naples, since 2008. He was adjunct professor of Musicology at the University of Salerno. From 2000 to 2005 he was Director of the “D. Cimarosa” Conservatory of Avellino.
Active since 1980 as an author of opera, symphonic and chamber music, he has been featured in the programs of the San Carlo Theater in Naples since 1992 with the ballet Immago. He immediately becomes one of the main composer-guests of the theater: Il Guarracino, Biancaneve, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pinocchio, I Cantori di Brema, Al lupo, al lupo, Viaggio in Italia, Peter Pan, Un bambino di nome Gennaro. Some of the works expressly composed for the Neapolitan “Massimo” (San Carlo Theater) and replicated with success and critical acclaim at the Nuovo Piccolo in Milan, in the La Scala seasons, at the Palazzo Tè in Mantua, at the Giuditta Pasta Theater in Saronno, at the Scuola Civica in Milan, at the Piccinni in Bari , at the Rendano di Cosenza, at the Verdi in Salerno, at the Gesualdo in Avellino, at the Ravello Festival, at the Nuova Consonanza Festival in Rome …
His international career, as well as in Europe, brought him to the United States with important commissions (inauguration of the CAC Centre of Tulsa in Oklahoma in 2006; celebration of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the John Hopkins Orchestra of Baltimore in 2008 (Triple Piano Concerto , oboe, bassoon and orchestra and subsequent touneè in New Jersey in 2009) and in Brazil (Il libro degli esseri immaginari).
Author of sacred music (two oratorios – Nativitas and Sacrum Opus – a Requiem, a Magnificat for three choirs, numerous Motets and sacred compositions that have become part of the repertoire of prestigious choral associations all over the world), he has published and recorded music for the Casa Musicale Sonzogno ( Milan), Simeoli (Naples), E.S.I. (Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane), Gruppo Elettrogeno Publishing House (Rome).
Davide Troìa, graduated in Choral Music and Choral Direction with C. Pagliuca, Composition with A. Di Martino and G. Panariello, Instrumentation for Band, Piano with A. Di Donna and Singing with V. Profeta. He attended the two-year specialization course in Choir Conducting with Norbert Balasch at the National Academy of S. Cecilia in Rome; the course of Choir Conducting, Choral Practice and Early Vocality “R. Goitre ”with G. Acciai and Stephen Woodbury; courses on contemporary choral music with B. Zanolini, G. Hollerung, G. Graden. He has attended numerous early music seminars with C. Cavina, G. Banditelli, C. Ansermet, R. Invernizzi, A. Florio, and at the Civic School of Music in Milan with R. Gini and C. Miatello.
He is the founder and director, since 1990, of the “Exsultate Deo” Polyphonic Choir, at the helm of which he has won prizes in national and international competitions.
Davide Troìa combines his activity as conductor with that of countertenor, carrying out solo and in group activities.
He has made numerous elaborations for choir and held the role of juror in Choral Composition competitions.
He is professor of Choir Direction and Choral Composition at the “L. Canepa” Conservatory of Sassari.
The Pietà de’ Turchini Choir
Born in 2012 from the “liberi di cantare” project for the enhancement of the Church of San Rocco in Chiaia, the choir gathers 40 members and is entrusted to the direction of Davide Troìa. The repertoire explored is very vast: sacred, profane and popular, a cappella and with instruments, from the Renaissance to the Contemporary. Participation in the Choir is open to all and takes place through periodic auditions, its main objective is to approach music and concert activity in a joyful way. In two years of activity, the Choir, has already completed several projects and performed concerts for the season of the Early Music Centre and for other festivals in Campania.
It was born from an idea of Gennaro Damiano, professor at the State Conservatory of Music “Nicola Sala” in Benevento, and his students. The ensamble has held concerts for various festivals including Benevento città spettacolo, Ravello Festival, Autunno musicale in Caserta, Musica experimento in Rome, Convivio Armonico in Napoli, proposing repertoires that cover the entire 20th century and performing songs specially composed by some of the most representative contemporary Neapolitan composers, including Patrizio Marrone, Gaetano Panariello, Walter Baccile, Livio de Luca, Claudio Gabriele, Alessandra Bellino.