- On the contrary,
Piranesi’s studies as an architect taught him to reflect
and continuously in terms of balance and weight,
blocks and of mortar.(1)
d'Archi” with its double-entendre title
(‘archi’ in Italian means ‘bows’ as in those used to play
string and, also, ‘arches’ as in the architectural structure)
and its implicit materials and subject matter – one of the threads
holding these elements together is explicitly manifest in the choice
of track-titles and in the combination of the images of the artwork
– it is quite impossible to give up opening and closing these
notes by quoting a few lines of Marguerite Yourcenar's meditations
on the great engraver and architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
both because of an assonance of words and because of its function as
a source of inspiration, it is impossible not to evoke the
discussion which saw the involvement of the most important artists
and thinkers of the Renaissance and spread through the major courts
and artistic centers of Europe, known as the “Paragone delle
arti” (Paragon of the arts). A theme still very much alive in this
age where multimediality imposes a widespread and necessary
examination of the relationship between the different arts and,
therefore, of their relative maturity and value.
when facing this work whose structural center is reflected in
space-time – the ‘design’ of reality and the ‘design’ of
esthetic inspiration – and which gains strength along the lines of
a robust and multifaceted conception of sound, one cannot avoid
comparing Pastor's violin and Hug's viola, just as if they were two
different Arts. The terms for this comparison do not reside in
defining them with a major or minor sign, but rather under the sign
of their own and reciprocal exponentiality.
duo is and remains by definition a relationship which is practiced
within the independence of the two parts, especially if the word
‘paragon’ comes into play. This premise implies that a voyage
will take place whose structure is cognitive, emotional,
constructive, evocative. Therefore, it becomes an itinerary. Not
to be understood as a series of preordained stops, but as something
shared and/or antithetical, something continuous/contiguous, and
directly connected to a possible element which has already been
close to experimentation, but not when the meaning of the term is
reduced to an act implying a simple improvisational element.
Fieldwork, yes, but not impromptu improvisation, since a preceding
process of study and results already exists which does not, however,
contaminate the work’s originality beforehand. A non-predetermined
process, something which in the act of taking shape, and in the very
nature of its taking shape, underlies an itinerary.
All this without giving up its capacity, theoretically, of
re-proposing itself and assuming another thousand different shapes.
As a sufficiently open work, not the fruit of a passing moment of
which are straight or curved, soft or spiky, are drawn by the
instruments and occupy space by expanding or suffocating – not in
a negative way – the music itself intended as a spatial
manifestation. In construction, of construction, construction of
music: indicating the specific meaning of the term but also, in a
reflexive way, music building itself. It is space and builds space.
It is space and becomes part of space. Poetic, musical, sound space.
Within and throughout a spectrum of geographies and geometries from
which emerge twilights and shadows, cracks and oscillations,
incisions and decisions.
of Pastor's: a bold instrumental transposition/transfiguration, by
now well known to European ears as to those across the ocean. A
violin whose sound production is akin to that of wind instruments
– especially close to sax, trumpet and flute. Its breath moves
inhaling and exhaling a sort of undefinable interior voice; this is
also thanks to the set up of the amplifying system, capable of
capturing minimum, almost imperceptible sounds, and to the
intervention on different physical planes of the instrument, to the
extent of re-stringing it with rigid electric guitar strings. It is
meaningful, at this stage, to quote Pastor's own writings: ‘The
string as tube’ – a chapter title in his treatise
and ‘The bow as reed’ – reasserted in conversations and
interviews about and around music.(3)
of Hug's: multi-perceptible shades and refractions of a spectrum of
sound and a reflection of sounds reside in her absolutely personal soft
bow technique, created and perfected over the years through the
use of a proper ‘collection’ of unique bows; the
interpenetration of voice and viola: vocal emission (the most human
of sounds) and instrumental emission adhere and penetrate one
another, generating a vast range of hybrid sounds, an unprecedented
sound combination articulated by a specific language stemming from
it and within it; lastly, her continuous scientific and image laden
confrontation with electronics' trajectories and
principles: electronic sounds from past experience are renewed by
Hug through and within the coexistence of the infinite acoustic and
‘natural’ possibilities of voice and instrument.(4)
of Pastor's and Hug's: a ‘beyond’ in the potential of ‘sound
nature and technique’. A beyond of musical thought. An
unprecedented configuration of the relationship between musical
moment and place, outlining a new form of the whole and of the
minimal distances between the sections and the angles, the margins
and perspectives of a sound design in n dimensions.
“Paragone d'Archi” we might speak of the passing of space and
the traveling of time – the concept of passing is usually applied
to time, although there is, of course, a passing of things, but
usually it is time that passes. Here time and space lose their
traditional coordinates, not as in Einstein's relativity theory, but
by poetically/musically/ architecturally becoming an ultra dimension.
To the flowing of a mythical dimension of time related to a
conception of time and space which becomes time going beyond itself
and space going beyond itself and beyond their own transcendence.
All this meant in a musical dimension, rather than one of content,
an element intimately connected to music and deeply rooted in it.
seems in particular that the passion for building, repressed
this man limited throughout his career to the two dimensions
a sheet of copper, rendered him particularly apt at rediscovering
a ruined monument the energy which originally raised it
- 1 M.
Dark Brain of Piranesi translated
by Richard Howard in collaboration with the author in The
Dark Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays, Farrara, Strauss,
Giroux, Inc., New York, 1984.
- 2 S.
Pastor ViolinJazz, analisi
degli aspetti esecutivi e tecnico-interpretativi, Casa
Musicale Eco, Monza, 2008.
- 3 “I
wrote this sentence in my treatise 'Violinjazz' (Ed. Casa
Musicale Eco) in order to emphasize some elements which are
fundamentals of my playing style. First, the history of jazz,
which remains the major point of reference in my music, develops
mainly through the use of wind instruments rather than through
bowed strings, and this is the reason I believe one must adapt
the instrument to a language which is quite hostile to strings
and bows. Second, the sentence introduced a chapter regarding
forced harmonics which I personally discovered researching a
sound similar to that of the highest register of the saxophone
(the tenor, in particular). As with the sax, where the column of
air may split in order to form harmonics, also the string of the
violin may behave in the same fashion. If the string is the
tube, then I would say the bow is the element which initiates
vibration which is then transmitted to the tube. In the sax,
this is the function of the reed. I have tried, and continue to
try, to transform my bow into a reed, in order to employ a
better “pronunciation” in a language which, as a violinist,
I've always moved in as a foreigner.” S.
Pastor in La
percezione/decifrazione dell'evento musicale, E. Dagnino,
ED. Casa musicale Eco, Monza (Italy), 2009.
- 4 See
C. Hug, Writings
and Thoughts about Bows, Acoustic Electronics, Hybrid
instruments (Of Voice and Viola), Micro-tone Structure in Music,
The Son-Icons at
- 5 M.
Dark Brain of Piranesi translated
by Richard Howard in collaboration with the author
in The Dark
Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays, Farrara, Strauss,
Giroux, Inc., New York, 1984.