L’ARTE DEL PAESAGGIO (“The Art Of Landscape”, 2000). Radio piece for harpsichord and landscape sounds. In a quiet, neoclassic landscape, a slightly out of tune harpsichord plays an Arcadian melody.A soft wind shrouds the harmony; the landscape is swelling, becomes breath, and the breath merges with the heart of the earth beating. The heart stops beating. It starts. It stops again. Wild boars, hornets, sheep and frogs converse and multiply around a little child’s singing. The child’s singing turns into a bird’s flight. Birds change into ethereal sound waves melting into wind and thus into breath. At the end all the elements of the landscape speak to each other in a surreal telephone conversation.
L’ARTE DEL PAESAGGIO is conceived as a sort of concert for harpsichord and orchestra, in which the traditional orchestra is substituted by an orchestra of natural sounds. The structure is based on counterpoint and is reminescent of J.S.Bach’s DIE KUNST DER FUGE. The piece develops on the borders between game and sound-mirage, between irony and the twisted irony of fate. The landscape becomes a language, sign and score; it becomes a mirror of the fragility of the existence when the heart stops beating, and at the same time it takes the form of mother earth giving birth to a child’s singing. The piece is composed entirely in Wiepersdorf, a little country village 80 kilometres south of Berlin. The sounds used have been recorded between February and May 2000, during my Residence in the Bettina-Von-Arnim Castle. This is the structure of the piece:
- Exposition. A field with sheep – harpsichord (main theme) – wind, wind elaborated, heart beating and breath – the heart stops beating.
- 1st Development. Harpsichord (isolated sounds) – my daughter Matilde’s singing (2 years old), breath, the wild boars of Hohenkuhnsdorf (a little village in the neighbourhood) – choirs of hornets and sheep (elaborated) in crescendo.
- 1st Cadenza. Dialogue between Matilde and the wild boars – harpsichord (a variation on the main theme) echoed by the previous elements (sheep, hornets, Matilde, boars, breath).
- 2nd Development. Breath changing into wind, wild boars eating, frogs, harpsichord rubbing sounds, hornets – Matilde’s shout changes into bird cries – harpsichord (isolated sounds – pizzicato) – crescendo of all the elements (elaborated) – wind sounds elaborated like in the Exposition.
- 2nd Cadenza. Telephone conversation between Matilde, the wild boars and the heart.
- Reprise. Harpsichord (main theme) on the telephone dissolves back into the original landscape of harpsichord and sheep.