Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Studies for Tuning the Sea

Michel van Goethem (countertenor)
4 flutes, 4 saxophones, percussion and Orchestras of 100 flutes & 100 saxophones/Stefano Venturi & Marco Angius
Stradivarius STR 33583 [39.18]
Stradivarius e-mail

This extraordinary community music project took place at the festival of Nations in the Cathedral of Castello, the home in Umbria of Salvatore Sciarrino, master of pianissimo. It commemorated the restoration of a Basilica after it had collapsed in an earthquake, with words of St Francis, seeking stones to restore his church and was recorded live in August 2000.

The music celebrates the multiplication of tiny natural sounds to grow into gigantic phenomena, a ripple becoming a wave, wild winds growing to a storm. The audience believed that it was real rain, which was actually being simulated. Four flutes, one of them Mario Caroli   (who drew my attention to this unique creation) inaugurate the process of realising the elusive images, with words sung to texts by Thomas Wolfe. It is strange and indescribable music; one can only hear, listen and let the spell take over. Had a hundred flutes and a hundred saxophones ever been gathered together, and to make music which is at the edge of experimentation. It is thought of as 'a universe of sound, conceived as if alive, and not as preconceived data, 'environmental music' to present an image of St Francis. We are assured that it won over an initially sceptical audience to unreserved enthusiasm. More descriptive writing cannot help; try to hear it and find whether it speaks to you?

Peter Grahame Woolf

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