FIRENZE SOUNDS CONTEMPORARY
“Here space becomes time” Richard Wagner
Firenze Suona Contemporanea is a high-level contemporary music festival which takes place in Florence in the magnificent National Museum of the Bargello. Each year the festival invites major ensembles and international soloists, commissions numerous works, organizes the "Call for Scores" for young composers, holds meetings with the public "Eyes on the music", and forms an ensemble in residence.
Firenze Suona Contemporanea is not only a challenge to the ears of classical music lovers but also an inspiration to the thought (and way of thinking) of the Italian cultural world as a whole. The name of this festival reflects the need, clearly apparent in today’s musical and artistic world, to reconcile spaces (physical, but even more, mental) devoted to works from the present - that hard-to-define “contemporary”, the soon-to-be now or the immediate past. Cohabitation between the masterpieces of yesterday and those of today often appear impossible in cities that have been the cardinal points of our culture since antiquity, filled to the brim like vases with our highest artistic traditions. Here it may be feared that the weight of contemporary art could cause the vase to overflow, or even crack and break. But this fear should not impose a strictly uniform view of architecture and conservative collections, even when the “vase” lies within the exclusive circle of Italy’s greatest museums.
The Bargello, originally a prison and law court dominating the centre of medieval Florence years before the Renaissance, soon became the collection of art we know today. This splendid building houses the matchless sculptures of a mythology in stone, along with luxurious objects from Renaissance palaces. In its stratification of epochs and styles, it resembles both a theatrical set and an atlas of Mnemosyne at the heart of the Western World’s collective unconscious. The programme of the festival presented at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello meets the needs of the contemporary music with another proposal: by bending the ends of an imaginary bow, we can bring together in the same place the natural seat of sculptures from the past, a refuge for the musical masterpieces of tomorrow, and a home for the musicians and composers who are writing the history of our own times. Hence a musical headquarters, home to musicians and composers dedicated exclusively to defining the language of modernity. Living music and 20th-century composers are presented by the London Sinfonietta, the percussionists of the Royal College of Music in London and We Spoke (Ch), the soloists of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the John Cage Foundation of NYC; and from Italy, the Quartetto Paul Klee, the ensemble FLAME, Tempo Reale; as well as the brilliant virtuosity of Ian Pace (piano), Jonathan Faralli (percussion), Michele Marasco (flute) and the voice of Frauke Aulbert. These musicians have received international recognition for their interpretation of the twentieth-century repertory and their ongoing commitment to the creation of works to be performed for the first time in public. The programme alternates pieces by contemporary composers in national premiere with music that is the non plus ultra of the last century; without forgetting that the keystone linking the events is a day dedicated to the world premier performances of the “Call for scores” for young composers - true custodians of musical research. Major space is dedicated to in-depth analysis. Under the name “L’occhio sulla musica” (Eyes on the Music) we group the presentations and afternoon meetings with the public that serve as introduction to the evening’s concerts. These are occasions for participating in musical analysis with the composers and interpreters of the programs, and for listening to outstanding figures in contemporary culture discussing the dialogue between music and the other disciplines. If it is true for the Museo del Bargello that, as in Wagner’s Parsifal, “here space becomes time”, then in 2013 the Florentine museum will welcome under its arches a new time, while contemporary music will find here its own space of expression. Visitors to the museum and listeners to the festival will receive a special invitation, to approach and observe "the boundaries of the fertile country" (Klee, Boulez), where the perception of art and time is
Festival's concept: Angelus Novus
Angelus Novus (by Paul Klee) is a reference image of modern European culture, and its particularity is to be born twice: by Paul Klee, who imagines and paints it along with a large series of other angels painted in those years; and by Walter Benjamin, who falls in love with this word, and creates it a second time giving it the role of a terrible allegory of history: the angel is described as irresistibly dragged back by a wind that never stops, a storm called progress, while he is forced to look back on the past. The ambiguous interpretation of this icon is quite representative of all the works of Paul Klee, animated by an inalterable figure, but extremely dynamic and a formal structure so perfectly abstract, when open to a game, and inhabited by the wonder of landscapes, characters, fantasy machines. Yet the imagination that sustains these constructions is so detailed, supported by consistent laws, and such balance of logic to leave the viewer restlessness of a very realistic dream - or rather unreal and possible. The imagination of Paul Klee, as evidenced by his sketches of lectures at Bauhaus, is supported by idealistic and imaginative abstraction that is obtained by a conscious control in the realization of pragmatic ideas; and the presence on a hypothetical level of the rational will and the imagination is the topic that has accompanied Pierre Boulez in several pages of his essays, giving us among other those of "The fertile country. Klee and music." Which is the territory of the invention? According to Pierre Boulez, the artist and musician share the effort to position themselves "within the limits of the fertile land", in an area in which the rigorous implant and the analytical study of its own means is in contact with a freer and transgressive ground. If austere laws are those on which a cohesive universe of sounds stands up, they are waiting to be deliberately transgressed: without wobbling, the system comes to life thanks to imperfection.