Musica per strumenti del rinascimento

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Published on: 28 November 2008

Non fatevi ingannare dal titolo, non è musica antica. Questo, invece, è uno dei miei brani preferiti nella produzione di Mauricio Kagel. Forse anche uno dei più eversivi perché qui il compositore trae sonorità inaudite da un corpus strumentale, quello della musica antica, che nessuno aveva stravolto fino a questo punto.

In realtà avevo già pubblicato questo brano del 1965/66 senza alcun commento in occasione dell’epitaffio del suo autore, ma oggi lo ripropongo alla vostra attenzione, corredato dalle note dello stesso Kagel:

This work contains neither prediction, pointers to the future, nor a comforting return to the past: the use of Renaissance instruments here has no programmatic purpose in any general sense. The only decisive fact is that these instruments correspond to my tonal concept better than any present-day stringed and wind instruments could.

The systematic alienation of conventional instrumental sound, which comes into its own in the material and methods of the most modem music, seemed to me to justify an attempt, for once, to reverse the normally accepted view on the subject of the composition of tone colour. The individual quality of restraint which belongs to the nature of these Renaissance instruments made it all the easier for me to introduce each of them in its own unadulterated tonal character. While still a student of musicology in Argentina I began to sketch a similar piece, but I dropped the project at that time, since one of the essential conditions for bringing the idea to fruition-the formation of a truly orchestral ensemble of early instruments-could not then be fulfilled. In the renaissance of the Renaissance which we are now experiencing such an ensemble has become feasible, because copies of most of the instruments have recently been made, and numerous musicians have become proficient in playing them.

Only the formation of complete families of typical instruments, played by 23 musicians, could produce a sound picture true to the period in question. All the Renaissance instruments required for my composition were represented in the Theatrum Instrumentorum of the “Syntagma Musicum” by Michael Praetorius (1619). During recent years I have become so familiar with each of the instruments used that I could think out its tonal function afresh, and have been able to develop the performing techniques beyond the conventional limits. Even an instrument such as the recorder, which is closely associated with home and school music making of a very different kind, proved to be extremely versatile, and more suitable for use in new instrumental music than, for example, the transverse flute.

Each instrumental part of this work was composed like a solo line. However, the parts were put together as a full score, written in more or less normal notation. Other versions of the work are also possible, using any number of players from two to twenty-two, in every combination of instruments drawn from the original scoring. These reduced versions are entitled “Chamber Music for Renaissance Instruments”. The concept of an ad hoc orchestra made up of whatever instruments are available–in accordance with the performing practice of the Renaissance period–is here taken literally, so that a degree of variation is possible which cannot be foreseen by the composer. This work (1965/66) was written in memoriam Claudio Monteverdi. Nevertheless it contains no collages of old music.

Mauricio Kagel – Music for Renaissance Instruments (1965/66)
Collegium instrumentale, conducted by Mauricio Kagel

Il brano è scaricabile in formato flac dall’AGP40.

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