The INCROCIorchestra is ready in the hall of the San Leonardo theater, waiting for the director to begin the performance with his gesture. The hand that will lead the orchestra for the AngelicA international music festival along a 55-minute journey is Giorgio Magnanensi’s. Erroneous would be to think that the listening experience, of which the audience and the musicians are going to benefit, is the product of the moment and ends in it: the composer’s Theatre for the Ear has much deeper roots both in time and space and a projection into the future far beyond the moment that sees it realized. Magnanensi left Italy after spending years as a teacher of composition at the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma, moving to Canada, a land that, not being a slave to a dated and pigeonholed musical tradition, shows the desire to open up to the world of sound experimentation. Once crossed the ocean, the figures of Barry Truax and Chris Rolfe appear in the musical and artistic life of the Bolognese composer wearing the clothes of Virgilio, spurring him to take important steps for his musical research and for his professional career such as apply for the position of artistic director of the Vancouver New Music Society, a role that he still holds since then. In addition to North America, the experimenting wind of Magnanensi also touches Northern Europe and Japan. Knowing these different realities was an illuminating experience for the composer from many points of view.
“I happened to talk about it with other composers and directors of the place: walking around I might be listening to the noise and sounds around in a very selective way: I heard a noise coming from one room, another coming from another direction. Instead, we must strive to listen to everything, to all sounds as a collectivity, like in an instant, without asking questions about music, noise, natural sound, artificial … This very different sensitivity is then also manifested in different ways of playing and writing“.
What struck Magnanensi in interfacing with these new and distant realities was “freshness, tranquility: they were all very available, curious, all available to listen. This has contributed to make the word “dialogue” the paradigm of my activity. I would like to establish a dialogic relationship, in which personal development is born of exchange and the fertility of the encounter”. Dialogue is the summary word of many musical experiences and workshops at the center of the Bolognese composer’s work: it is certainly the fulcrum of his collaboration with the Vancouver-based Plastic Acid Orchestra. Dialogue is the foundation of the One-Page Score, a project that aims to connect non-musicians with music professionals, trying to develop in the former an artistic awareness that passes not through theoretical and academic learning but through experiential and hands-on learning. The non-experts, coordinated by Magnanensi, take on the role of the composer engaged in the elaboration of a graphic scores that will then arrive to the music stands of the orchestra that will perform them. It is a dialogue on several levels but the relationship that must be highlighted here is the one between the world of music and those who actively participate in it, and the world of those who are usually outside of it; it is an exchange that wishes to break down the barriers of timidity and misunderstanding that separate these two universes, by seeking first and foremost “a dialogic relationship in which personal development is born of exchange and the fertility of the encounter“. What stands out is the image of Giorgio Magnanensi not only as a musical experimenter but also (and above all I would say) as a pedagogue.
The Bolognese composer stands at the center of a growth process for the community that passes through sound and music understood both as a “field of communication and growth“. What does activate this dialogue besides the energies spent in the project by Magnanensi? The creativity of each individual. Just this very last one, wisely stimulated creates dialogues and the possibility of fruitful exchanges. So here we have a re-assessment of the role and the idea of concert and audience: here the latter has no longer a passive but an active role (!); “They are people who are welcomed in a space and this space is offered to them as a chance to discover what is there“.
It is precisely the same spirit of curiosity that hovers in the hall of the San Leonardo theater that makes the wait for the conductor’s gesture almost unnerving. Here is Giorgio Magnanensi, who after the applause from the audience, stands before the orchestra, raises his arm, “three four…” and the chronometer starts. THE EXPERIMENTATION BEGINS. The orchestra of students of the G.B. Martini, made up of voices, saxophones, flutes, electric guitars, electric basses, percussion instruments and electronics, explores six types of sound objects in the fifty-five minutes that follow. The performance comprises various combinations where all the ensemble simultaneouysly explores, and moments in which Walter Zanetti’s guitar rises to a solo voice counterpointed here and there by the interventions of the three percussionists of the ensemble. Another element that articulates different balances is the video projected in the room: this does not have only an aesthetic function but rises to the role of a second conductor! The performance ends with a last crescendo that when does go off, leaves some traces of electronic sound. Everything returns to the initial silence leaving both the interpreters and the listeners in a state of calm after the storm, with the awareness that what has just been co-created is now part of everyone, it is an empirical demonstration of creative power: not of any specific individual but of the entire community present in the room.
(in collaboration with Tobia Bandini)