VITO PALUMBO (b.1972) : Violin Concerto (2015) - Francesco D’Orazio violin, London Symphony Orchestra Lee Reynolds conductor. Chaconne(2019—20) for electric violin (five strings) and electronics - I. Woven Lights for electric violin, sampled sounds and electronics [electronic part realized by Francesco Abbrescia (b.1972)], II. The Glows in the Dark for electric violin and 30 pre-recorded electric violin parts. Francesco D’Orazio electric violin, Francesco Abbrescia live electronics.

Catalogue Number: 01Y041

Label: BIS

Reference: BIS-2625

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: Palumbo's compositional career has been one of constant inquiry and innovation, leading to an output of great diversity, while always remaining accessible even at its most experimental - as he says: "I want the meaning of my music to be apparent from listening, without the need for verbal justification." Early works were postmodern and theatrical, with timbral experiments and research into voice emission and the study of phonemes influenced by his teachers Azio Corghi and Luciano Berio. More recently he has concentrated on large-scale orchestral works drawing on various aspects of tradition, united with his ongoing researches into the phenomena of sound production. The three concerti that we offered previously (04T076) for harpsichord (a postmodern view of the Baroque), cello (serious and neoromantic) and recorder (utilising a recent redevelopment of the instrument) point to the composer’s versatility and his fondness for new combinations of sounds. The 31-minute Violin Concerto is more recent than any of these, and explores a wide range of timbral and textural novelty within the context of a large-scale virtuoso vehicle (and the violin part is very virtuosic indeed, not least in its requirement to meet the large orchestra on equal terms; the orchestra makes no concessions to this, with massive, overwhelming structures interspersed with sections of stasis while the violin responds in kind, energetic and impetuous in the climaxes, melodic when reacting to the orchestra's calm, iridescent textures). Extended timbres and techniques are employed by the orchestra, though apart from some brief microtonal inflections not by the soloist, but at no point is tonality abandoned altogether, with even the orchestra's most cataclysmic outbursts and thunderous fusillades of rhythmic vehemence consisting of piled-up chords, not sonoristic textures. The 2015 concerto seems to represent a kind of watershed in Palumbo's output, a summation of his previous work and the beginning of a transition to his more recent style, exemplified by Chaconne (2019-20), for 5-string electric violin and live and sampled electronics, a work that elucidates Palumbo’s ongoing research and the results he has achieved more recently. Sonically, Chaconne, making extensive use of the latest computer techniques, occupies an unfamiliar world, but interestingly, in keeping with the composer’s aim of retaining intelligibility and emotion in his music, it is by no means harmonically forbidding or dissonant; much of the time its expanded sonic universe is as accessible to the ear as "ambient" music, and even the enlarged palette of the processed timbres of the solo instrument plays material which is conventionally notated and, were it to be adapted for a standard instrument would sound like an extension of the intricate melodies and harmonies of Enescu or Bartók (the extended cadenza that ends the first section of Chaconne, replete with every conceivable electronic distortion that every electric guitar player has ever wished they had access to, is a case in point). The work is divided into two distinct sections, the 18-minute-long "Woven Lights" and the shorter "The Glows in the Dark" (which can also be performed separately). In the first, the computer builds an increasingly dense texture in dialogue with the violin, using transformed live sound and sampled sounds of bells, glass, and metal, generated by the computer from a complex graphic score of shapes, colours and lines realised by Francesco Abbrescia. In "The Glows in the Dark", thirty pre-recorded violin parts form a dense "virtual ensemble" in an incandescent swarm in which the overlapping of different rhythms and tempos creates a dense polyrhythmic, polymetric and polychromatic background to the solo instrument's acrobatics.

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