Interview with Andrea Monarda (September 2016)
When did you start playing guitar and why? What did you study and what is your musical background? With that guitar sounds and with what you played?
I began studying the guitar at 11 years with the teacher Francesco Zizzi, guitarist and cellist, who even now reckon with much affection: among other things he has always transmitted and continues to transmit to his students the importance of first reading and constant and daily study. A few days before starting the lessons I had a dream in which I was in front of a guitar played by a guitarist who only saw his left arm touching the strings at a very high and indefinitely rate for me.
Since I was young, I listened to some of the arias from works by Puccini, Verdi and Mozart that my mother listened to catch inspiration before singing them in public. She often took me to lessons from her teacher Agostino Di Ciaula (http://www.somsmartinafranca.it/news/il-maestro-agostino-di-ciaula), where I listened to the warming voice moments and to the long conversations between teacher and student about the repertoire selection. At 18 years old I was lucky to meet Maestro Alirio Diaz, who enthusiastically listened to the Capriccio Diabolico then that I played for him. Later, I graduated from the School for Interpreters and Translators in Trieste, a flagship of the University of Trieste and the most prestigious of all schools for interpreters in Italy. Since then, I have continued to perfect myself in Italy and abroad, and for more than a couple of years I studied alone, always looking for new projects.
Currently I play with luthier Fabio Schmidt’s guitar, built in 2012 which I love for its depth sound. I also played (and still play) with a Sergio Abreu guitar (1991) and a Paulino Bernabe (2009).
How did start the idea to produce the cd Dieci Minuti all’alba Omaggio a Giorgio Gaslini? Why this choice, did you already know Gaslini’s music?
Knowing personally Maestro Giorgio Gaslini, who had agreed to write a piece for solo guitar and invited me to take personally my copy. He talk about Berio and moments of four hands studio, so I thought that in this record, the two friends could enclose the collection (in the disc, Dieci minuti all’alba is the first track, Sequenza XI the last). Then I met two great Maestri, really great: the Giorgio Colombo Taccani, who wrote the score Erma and Maestro Gilberto Bosco who, after a first meeting, and from there a week later, composed the Fantasia (alla Passacaglia). About Giorgio Gaslini I only knew the name and some of his music for solo piano, as improvisations on Sicilienne by Gabriel Fauré and his soundtracks Profondo Rosso and Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni.
Why did you choose the Stradivarius to produce this record?
Stradivarius had already released other CDs with music by Gaslini and contemporary authors such as Luis de Pablo, Giulio Castagnoli, Gilberto Bosco and Luciano Berio among others, what better record company could I have chosen for a new music production?
What does improvisation mean in your music research? Can we go back to talking about improvisation in a repertoire so encoded as the classic or we’re forced to leave it and turn to other repertoires, like jazz, contemporary, etc?
In the classical repertoire there are many examples of invitations by the composer to improvisation (as happened in the cadences of Baroque concertos for solo instrument and orchestra). In the guitar music of the last century there are micro residues of those improvisations requests by the same composers, such as, for example, in the Scherzo of the Sonata op. 47 of Ginastera, when the composer offers a “very fast but discontinuous improvisation sul ponticello”, and in Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XI too, where the composer proposes boxes to be repeated ad libitum, or even in Pour jouer à deux by Leo Brouwer, where the composer in the Prologue and Epilogue II invites the performers to change the order of the notes within certain box.
How does your music methodology is influence from the community of people (musicians or not) you work with? Do you change your approach in relation to what you directly or indirectly receive from them? If you listen to a different interpretation of a passage you already played or you want to perform, do you take care of this listening or do you prefer to proceed in complete independence?
Kurt Lewin asserted that the behavior (B) is a function governed by the personality of the individual (P) and the environment (E), which surrounds it.
B = f (P, E)
Surely, people with whom I have reported in recent years (I talk about especially of composers, conductors and musicologists) have influenced me in having a broader and deeper musical imprint of what I could have, alone or with others performers, and I’m very grateful for this.
Each new musical vision is a stimulus to which we can’t remain indifferent, and even if our vision sometimes doesn’t reflect the other one, nothing costs to respond to the stimulus and discover new horizons.
About listening to, you can be swayed by any music’s listening, with the right personal elaboration based on a serious in-depth research.
I sometimes have the feeling that in our time music’s history music flow with no particular interest in its chronological course, in our records collections before and after, past and the future become interchangeable elements, could this a risk for an interpreter and a composer of a uniform vision? A music “globalization”?
I believe that the before and after are, sharing your thoughts, interchangeable elements, and precisely because of this changing perspective that we can find new phenomena, without looking at the future or the past as crystallized elements… I think about Escher’s spatial vision and Bergson’s real duration’s concept, which our states of consciousness are not external to each other as the moments of homogeneous time, ordered according to before and after, but interpenetrating each other.
What are your favourite five records, always to have with you? .. the classic five records for the desert island ..
Bach Cantatas directed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Beethoven’s Piano Concertos interpretated by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and by Krystian Zimmerman as a pianist and conductor, Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky (Petrushka, Le Sacre du Printemps, Symphony in C, Violin Concerto and Symphony of Psalms ), Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Claudio Abbado, although I think I would bring a larger suitcase on the island, not to hurt the sensibility of other great musicians.
What would you like to play and who would you like to play with? What music do you plays usually?
It would be wonderful to play a concerto for guitar and symphony orchestra written by a contemporary great composer, if you try to think that John Adams and Steve Reich (or maybe Ades) could write and direct his own concerto for guitar and orchestra, it would be a wonderful opportunity. I listen to everything, from Josquin, Machaut, Bach, Mozart, Debussy and Schoenberg to the Queen, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits and the italians Area …
What are your next projects? What are you working on?
After the “Dieci Minuti all’Alba” album, I finished a collection of “Sette miniature” for solo guitar recently published, and now I’m looking for new music !!