Review of Solare Fausto Romitelli, Stradivarius, 2018
1. Solare (1984) per chitarra sola
2. La lune et les eaux (1991) per due chitarre
3. Seascape (1994) per flauto dolce Paetzold
4. Simmetria d’oggetti (1987 88) flauto dolce e chitarra
5. Highway to hell (1984) per chitarra sola
6. Trash TV trance (2002) per chitarra elettrica
“At the center of my composition is the idea of considering sound as a material in which to sink to shape its physical and perceptive characteristics: grain, thickness, porosity, brightness, density, elasticity. Therefore, sound sculpture, instrumental synthesis, anamorphosis, transformation of spectral morphology, constant drift towards unsustainable densities, distortion, interference, also thanks to the use of electroacoustic technologies. And increasingly important given the sounds of non-academic derivation, to the dirty and violent sound of prevailing metallic origin of certain rock and techno music.”
Born in Gorizia on February 1, 1963, Fausto Romitelli graduated in composition at the “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatory of Milan, attending courses at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and at the Scuola Civica in Milan. In 1991 he moved to Paris to study new technologies at Ircam’s “Cursus d’Informatique Musicale”, an institute with which he collaborated from 1993 to 1995 as “compositeur en recherche”. His attention turned to the most important European musical experiences (in particular, György Ligeti and Giacinto Scelsi), but his main source of inspiration was Spectral French music, in particular Hugues Dufourt and Gérard Grisey, with whom he knew create a kind of formal evolution. Romitelli was a composer somewhat out of the usual academic canons, partly because of his interest in rock and pop sounds and a little for his creative attention towards the classical and electric guitar.
This record, which comprehensively collects almost all of his guitar production with seven tracks, four of which in “world premiere recording”, effectively represents his musical aesthetics and his critical attitude towards society.
Seven pieces which also include his most famous “hit”: Trash TV Trance for electric guitar (2002), where the rock soul of Romitelli takes the total upper hand, annihilating the conservative aura, and where the hendrixian emphasis actualizes the lesson of the Seattle guitarist in the perspective of the aesthetic recovery of the noise generated by guitar feedback. The other pieces include the use of classical guitar, starting with “Solare” (1984), a difficult piece, with thick writing and many experimental sounds, says Elena Casoli in the interview with Michele Coralli, included in the booklet that accompanies the CD . A piece with a complex, articulate score that requires constant research and attention by the interpreter. Elements that we find in the subsequent “Coralli” (1987), where research continues on sound density and timbric complexity, while indeterminacy and combinations games (I hate the term “alea”) are placed in the path in “Hightway to Hell” ” (1984) (the title does not allude to AC / DC)
“La lune et les eaux” was composed in 1991 and it’s a rediscovered piece, found among the scores present in the composer’s family home, a piece for two guitars where he continues the study, the use and the interaction of the loops, of synchronism, of the overlap in the search for a changing and multiform sound paradigm. There are not only the guitars but also the flute played by Teresa Hackel that we find in “Symmetry of objects” (1987/88) always together with the classical guitar and lonely in “Seascape”. Solare is a CD that not only has the merits to bring together Romitelli’s guitar compositions, but above all to bring attention to an atypical composer for the Italian melodic scene. Fausto Romitelli was not a “harmless” composer, but not for merits that once were called political or rather ideological, but for his intimately expressive qualities, above all because even expression can succeed and become a political instrument, that is, necessary to fight social aphasia, conformism, the misery of our media system, the cultural apnea, the musical mystification produced by cultural shortcuts that eliminate years of effort.
So I consider Romitelli one of the innovators of a language that at the end of the twentieth century showed all the signs of deterioration, with certainty left an important mark within this depressing periphery of the cultural empire that we live every day in the disarray of a society that is happy of the television / cultural / political trash. A sad and poor society that, far from being threatened by its existence, seems to be disinterested in anything that is not the pure adulterated replication of itself, of its distorted and grotesque projection, deformed by an altered approach of sensory relationships and communication.
The image is suggested to us by Romitelli himself in a brief but illuminating essay entitled The composer as a virus (present in his essay The Electric Body). In a few lines we illustrate the present reality of contemporary music as a place of “survival on the periphery of the cultural empire”, as a child of technologies that release sound emancipating noise (“composing sound rather than sound”), finally as result of a reflection on the entire sound universe that also includes, and not as purely accessory and ornamental, techno and rock music. An important stance was taken by the collection in this 2001 presentation essay, which is recommended to be carefully read especially to those who often talk about urban sedimentations and new sound scenarios. At the end of the essay, these brief words: “I sometimes feel like a virus too isolated to attack such a strong and well-nourished body: so that the virus is quiet and dreamy in the body that it would destroy, waiting for better times.”