Arturo Tallini’s music collection, “Changes”, Naxos, 2022 on #neuguitars #blog #ArturoTallini

Arturo Tallini’s music collection, “Changes”, Naxos, 2022 on #neuguitars #blog #ArturoTallini

HOME PAGE – Arturo Tallini

Changes – Contemporary Guitar Music – 8.574394 | Discover more releases from Naxos

“Measure twice. Just cut one.” This proverb seems to be the basis of the patient and solid process with which the Italian guitarist Arturo Tallini is building his career as an interpreter of research music. Tallini boasts an international career that began in 1987, after winning the first prize at the Michele Pittaluga International Guitar Competition. Two years later, in 1989, he won third prize at the Radio France International Guitar Competition. In 1992 he received the Licence Superior de Concertiste from the Ecole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot in Paris. A real journey into the contemporary world that also led him to create a new instrument: the Scelsitar. In his work he also combines the sound of midi guitar, improvisation and electronics. Many composers have dedicated new pieces to him and over the years he has become a point of reference for contemporary music, while never abandoning the classical repertoire. In December 2022 his new CD was finally released, “Changes” with music by Steve Reich, John Cage, Elliott Carter, James Dashow and Arthur Kampela, produced by the international record company Naxos. It is a careful selection of works, some already known (Reich, Carter and Cage) and others less known (Dashow and Kampela), performed here as world premiere recordings. A collection of scores that seems to have as a trade union the fact that this record deals solely with music composed by US composers. A collection of fragments, for a trained and demanding public, an incomplete collection, compared to a monothematic choice, which expresses the need to go beyond a simple series of additions and to seek a comparison with the public made up of more audacious connections, at the outside the traditional concert halls. The purpose of the CD seems to be to demonstrate how much, over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, the repertoire available to the solo guitar has gained in depth and quality, with acoustic and electronic music expressing an increasingly considerable artistic depth. This is not ‘comfortable’ music, but that doesn’t mean that the music itself is comfortable, but that composers are finding a quest to find ever more imaginative ways to explore and integrate the sonic elements at their disposal. This album explores contrasting approaches to writing for the instrument, from the dreamlike sequences of Steve Reich and John Cage to the percussive approaches of Elliott Carter and Arthur Kampela.

The CD begins with “the” quintessential piece for the contemporary electric guitar repertoire: Steve Reich’s Electric Conterpoint, work in three movements, commissioned in 1987 by the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival for Pat Metheny, for eleven guitar parts and two bass parts. In the live performance, the soloist plays the eleventh part with tape, which in this version was performed by his colleague, Domenico Ascione (who died in 2017).

John Cage didn’t wrote much guitar music. His music for prepared piano, however, often approaches the sonority of our favorite instrument, and these qualities have been taken up in two transcriptions of his early works by Tallini himself. Originally intended as part of “She is Asleep,” a 1943 duo for voice and prepared piano, “A Room” was excerpted as a standalone piece for piano. The piece displays a complex rhythmic pattern – 4, 7, 2, 5, 4, 7, 2, 3, 5 – that sounds natural during playback, also due to Tallini’s choice to use a reverberant sound for his acoustic instrument , similar to an oud.

Dream, composed in 1948 and first performed at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, has a more substantial structure. As a slow, expansive piano piece it was used to shade Merce Cunningham’s choreography, but as with much of Cage’s music its versatility yielded arrangements for other instrumental combinations, such as that proposed for classical guitar.

Elliott Carter’s Changes, one of two pieces for acoustic guitar written at the request of David Starobin, was first performed at the composer’s 75th birthday concert in New York in December 1983. Described by its composer as “music of changing contrasts of character and mood, due to its harmonic and rhythmic structure’, takes the form of a musical conversation. The exchanges take on a particularly sought-after intimacy towards the center of the piece, in contrast to Carter’s more animated writing, expressing the musical thoughts of the composer.

James Dashow is an American composer. Born in 1944, Dashow first used computers with music as an undergraduate at Princeton University. His pioneering work has led to further appointments at the University of Padua, while prizes awarded to the composer include fellowships from the Koussevitzky, Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations, as well as the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Since he visited Italy in 1969 on a Fulbright fellowship, Dashow has maintained very strong ties to the country, studying with Goffredo Petrassi and settling soon after. His catalog of works reveals a progression from stereophonic sound through quadraphonic, hexaphonic to the octophonic method chosen in recent years.

iPiece, written for Arturo Tallini in 2019, is described as “a musical satire for guitar, octaphonic electronic sounds, videos and some electronic gadgets”. Starting with the acoustic sounds of the guitar, the composer places them in a series of broader perspectives, with watery textures fueled by a series of increasingly extravagant musical processes. The guitar ceases to be a solo instrument and becomes more a part of Dashow’s highly intriguing sonic world, with special effects suggesting a futuristic script, in an environment based on electronic sound processing. Gradually the soloist regains control, his hard-hitting, energetic writing rippling outward with the help of electronics, before receding into the shadows.

Guitar has a special meaning for composer and virtuoso Arthur Kampela, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960. Kampela won the International Guitar Composition Competition in Caracas in 1995, then the Lamarque-Pons Guitar Composition Competition in Montevideo three years after.

His series of Percussion Studies for guitar, begun in 1989, has proved important in the exploration of new techniques and sounds for the instrument. In this piece the sounds are percussive in nature, but also characterized by strong melodic qualities, together with complex rhythmic structures. The third in the series, completed in 1997, begins as a struggle between acoustic parameters, ranging from subtle sounds to fuller-bodied notes, applying what the composer describes as a “squeezing” of textures to the foreground. As the study progresses, Kampela also introduces the use of a credit card and bottle neck to extract unusual sounds from the guitar, creating an undulating, immersive sound.

“Changes” is a complex album, not easy to listen to, a detailed mapping of what the guitar and composers can offer to those who want to start a path based on contemporary musical thought. A musical collection that describes a rigorous path, where the interpreter’s skills are put to the test by compositions that are not only complex, but also very different from each other. The interpreter and its strongly contemporary, research character seem to be the common denominators. “Changes” is a CD to listen to and study.


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