Friday, February 23, 2007
at the REDCAT theater
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles
8:30 pm


Carlo Alessandro Landini (Milan, 1954), began his music studies at a very young age. A pupil at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music in his native city, in 1978 and 1979 he graduated in Composition (with Bruno Bettinelli) and in Piano (with Piero Rattalino), obtaining full marks in both cases. In 1972 he was awarded a scholarship by the Hungarian government to travel to Esztergom and do research on the Kodály method. In March 1981 he was awarded a second diploma in Composition (unanimously winning the Prémier Prix “ŕ l’unanimité du jury”) at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris (with Ivo Malec), where he lived for two years. Before that and since then, Mr. Landini attended masterclasses in Siena at the “Accademia Musicale Chigiana”, with Franco Donatoni, in Aix-en-Provence with György Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis, and in Groznjan with Witold Lutos?awski. In 1981 he received the prestigious Fulbright award from the US Department of Education, thanks to which he spent two years (1981-1983) in the United States, studying and teaching at the University of California in San Diego. A winner of numerous national and international competitions including the Valentino Bucchi competition in Rome, the Ennio Porrino competition in Cagliari, Mr. Landini is the only composer to have won two consecutive editions of the W. Serocki Warsaw Competition in 2002 and in 2004. He is regularly invited to teach at the “Ferienkurse für Neue Musik” in Darmstadt. He has published scores for the Milan-based houses Rugginenti and Sonzogno, the Rome-based Edipan, and the French music publisher Alphonse Leduc (Paris). Three monograph CDs have been issued featuring all his piano sonatas (the First and Second Sonatas performed by Carlo Levi Minzi, the Third Sonata performed by Massimiliano Damerini, to whom it was dedicated) and Changes for string quartet (the Arditti String Quartet); in addition, four anthology CDs have also been released, two by Edipan featuring pieces for piano (A. Ramacci) and guitar (P. Bonaguri) and two by Rugginenti (Rusty Records). His works have been broadcast by RAI, BBC, Radio Koper, Radio Warszawa, KPN, Radio France, WDR, NDR and NBS (Japan). He got a degree in Modern Letters, and in March 2002 he was nominated an honorary member of the “American Academy for the Advancement of Science” (AAAS). In the spring of 2003 Mr. Landini was nominated Fellow of the Italian Academy of New York and Research Scientist at the Music Department of Columbia University in New York. He held seminars at the University of California, at the Department of Graduate Studies of Columbia, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and a Master Class at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In November 2004 he held a seminar on musical aesthetics at the CNSM in Paris based on the “Phénoménologie de la forme musicale”. In 2006 Mr. Landini was appointed Visiting Professor at UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), where he taught the entire Fall Semester. He also has lectured at UM College Park in Washington, D.C. He is the author of an essay on the clinical aspects of religious ecstasy (Fenomenologia dell’estasi, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1983) as well as on Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio (Ivrea: Ferraro, 2001). A member of the “A.N. Skrjabin” Scientific Committee in Bogliasco, since 2002 Mr. Landini has been also a member of the executive board of the “I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano” Foundation. Mr. Landini presently holds the teaching chair in Composition at the “G. Nicolini” Conservatory in Piacenza.



Elegy for solo clarinet was composed in 1998 and does not, by all means, consist of just “long tones, arpeggios, and more runs” as someone recently wrote (S. Evans, The Retriever Weekly, Nov. 21, 2006). A piece of mourning, of grief, of despair? There isn’t anything of a “sad and somber” attitude, I suppose, in Rainer Maria Rilke’s (accomplished in 1922) Duineser Elegien, in which angels “cry out” all the time, and where the poet’s delicate inspiration gives pace to a more consistent desperation. Yes, there is some mourning, some evoked darkness weighing on Strawinsky’s Elegy for solo viola, written for Germain Prevost. Am I allowed to quote the titles of some musical Elegies written in the past? Liszt wrote an Elegy for cello, piano, harp and harmonium (in 1860). Fauré, Mascagni, Tschaikowsky, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Glazunov, Busoni, Elgar, Casella, Ives (his Elegy to Our Forefathers was written in 1911), Poulenc, Rota, Morricone, Henze, Scelsi are only a few names which I feel tempted to quote. Are Puccini and Rota “elegiac” authors in the common sense of the term? They are obviously not. Nor are Mascagni and Busoni. Again, what have “long tones, arpeggios and more runs” to do with sorrow and grief? Let me reverse the question and put it in another way: is it possible for someone to express grief without that “sense of static” which is nothing but an attempt to inject a whimsical note of artificial calmness where there isn’t any? Also, would it be possible to manipulate pitch and rhythmic components, so to simulate a value-independent change in the individual sense of time, in the individual expectations and, in one word, in the inner world of the listener? In this case, couldn’t it be possible to write an Elegy where our comfortable, grounded world of musical orientation is turned into its opposite, i.e. into a musical environment in which the old rules no longer apply and give forth to an “elegiac” world? When the clarinet part is marked “comme un oiseau” (“like a bird”) in Messiaens’ Liturgy of crystal (one of the five movements which the Quartet for the End of Time is composed of), could this remark possibly sound disruptive to some of the audience? I think not. Rather, the sense of static temporality that a listener experiences in hearing Messiaen’s piece – an elegy indeed – is “a musical experience that may correspond to a parallel spiritual experience” (John Covach). To “falsify feelings” by means of a simulated anguish, doesn’t this sound more outrageous than doing what the great director Federico Fellini does in all his movies, that is to openly, mockingly claim indulgence for mankind dealing with the doings of ordinary people? So my Elegy appears to me to be written, if not out of the purpose to solely entertain, at least for a literary coterie. Failing to satisfy the more knowledgeable listener would mean, for me, a personal success. If, on the other hand, someone is willing to find in my Elegy multiple layers of space created by overlapping form over form, interlacing negative and positive shapes, and interplaying form and background, I nevertheless shall be happy. A fragmented work – in spite of a subliminal, profound unity, ça va san dire – becomes in any case a pattern of reality, a fragment of our inner reality (which is apparently fragmented, which is always scattered in pieces, as one learns from Joyce’s, Proust’s, and Dostoevsky’s novels and writings) where each fragment is nothing more than a faint, abstract sense (or glimpse) of the truth.

Carlo Alessandro Landini (February 1, 2007)


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