Interview with Alberto Mesirca (April 2019)
Welcome back to the blog Neuguitars.com, Alberto. You have recently released a new cd in duo with the flutist Daniele Ruggeri, “Music for flute and guitar” by Brilliant Classic. This record sees your return to contemporary music, do you want to talk about it?
Thank you very much Andrea, certainly: this record is the result of a collaboration, already started some years ago, with the great flutist Daniele Ruggieri. Thanks to my work with Claudio Ambrosini I came into contact with the members of the Ex Novo Ensemble, and after a first concert at the Sale Apollinee in Venice I started a great friendship with Daniele, and together we are trying to develop a research work, rediscovering the unusual repertoire and development through the request to contemporary composers to compose for the flute-guitar duo. This project in particular is dedicated to American authors who have ventured into writing for this duo, from Terry Riley to George Rochberg, and around their monumental works (in my opinion, “Muse of Fire” and “Ora Pro Nobis” by Rochberg are real masterpieces) we have created a program that also involves the American solo repertoire dedicated to our instruments.
Why did you choose Brilliant Classic as a label for this album?
We have both collaborated with Brilliant for the realization of other past projects, and we found an enthusiastic support in Pieter Van Winkel, chief of the label. In my opinion, Brilliant is an excellent label, with worldwide distribution, at reasonable prices, and present in all the major digital platforms: it covers a very wide range of users, and therefore, if we already know that today you don’t get richer from selling records, at least we know that through Brilliant the visibility of the program we present is excellent.
How did you choose the repertoire? Apart from the Cantos Desiertos by Terry Riley, they are mostly not well known music …
We based ourselves on a choice of territory, in particular the American one (North American, excluding only the Golijov piece). Rochberg’s “Muse of Fire” and “Ora Pro Nobis” had not yet had an official studio recording, despite having been a great composer. Riley has also written interesting solo pieces, but this Suite is characterized by a particular melodic beauty, although the writing and the interlocking of the voices are very complex. Daniele had the brilliant idea of including the Diaphonic Suite by Ruth Crawford-Seeger, and from this idea I thought I would include some solo pieces by American authors who wrote for guitar, but that were not related to the known and already visited avant-garde , as “Changes” by Elliott Carter.
On the record, in fact, there are also three tracks for guitar only: Elegia by Mark Delprirora, Hexadactyl by Charles Wuornen and Bateau by Marc Ribot, do you want to talk about them?
Certainly. Mark Delpriora is a great American composer, guitarist and teacher, professor at the Manhattan School in New York. He has written numerous and very interesting pieces, including this Elegia, dedicated to Basil Keizer, a student of Delpriora, from a wealthy New York family and “board chairman” of the New York Philharmonic for many years, the first who had hired Boulez. The piece is linked to the poem “Lake Isle of Innsfree” by Yeats. Marc Ribot, as you know, was a very important figure for me, because thanks to his collaboration I managed to complete both the recording and the publication of the works of his master, Haitian Frantz Casséus. I thought I’d pay homage to him through the interpretation of his beautiful piece, Bateau, which I heard in an acoustic version. Charles Wuorinen is surely, among these three, the composer who prefers mostly atonalism, and his composition, with a dodecaphonic style, is very interesting, both for its melodic angularity and its rhythmic emphases.
How is your collaboration with the Berben Music Editions proceeding?
It is progressing well, depending on the pieces published or in the process of being published. We are waiting for the printing of a piece by Marcelo Nisinman, but in the meantime I have published, in collaboration with Michael Macmeeken and Chanterelle-Schott, a book, “The Chanterelle Guitar Anthology”, which includes 40 songs by authors from Sor to Segovia , with registration attached, and which will be presented at the Frankfurt MusikMesse in the coming days.
What are your next projects? Are you still working on the meeting between John Zorn’s Book of Heads and Carlo Boccadoro’s Book of Faces?
Now I’m preparing the next concerts, the next one will be with Luca Scarlini at the OGR of Turin, while Boccadoro’s work will be included in a recording project dedicated to contemporary Italian music for Edizioni Da Vinci. For Zorn I need to research again, the recordings already made are very interesting and I would like to try to give new light to the scores, without repeating the inventions of the great predecessors.