Pappano, Rundel and Storgards conduct Francesconi

Pappano, Rundel and Storgards conduct Francesconi

On October 2, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne will perform the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Macchine in Echo at the Philharmonie in Cologne under the direction of Peter Rundel in collaboration with the piano duo GrauSchumacher. The piece was commissioned by the WDR, the Strasbourg MUSICA festival, and Wiener Konzerthaus. (The Strasbourg MUSICA festival will present the French premiere on 3 October at the closing concert of the festival’s 33rd edition.)

In his presentation of Macchine in Echo Francesconi explained how he has always been fascinated by the piano because of the wide range of frequencies the percussive action of its strings offers, and because of the instrument’s sophisticated technical mechanisms that allow for speed and delicate subtleties. For Francesconi the piano’s sounds hang in the air in a state of tension between natural forces and the structured sounds. When two pianos are involved, we can imagine them as two, frighteningly powerful, fiendish machines. With this piece, in addition to the two pianos, there’s also a symphonic orchestra. Francesconi writes: I love the play of mirrors and the spell-binding multiplications of two pianos in unison with an orchestra. It’s an infinite source of meanings: meanings that I need to find, in spite of the destructuration of reality all around us. In a small gesture towards this powerful resistance, I have incorporated a brief homage to Luciano Berio’s Concerto for Two Pianos, one of the pieces that have left a profound mark on my life.

On October 3 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, Sir Antonio Pappano together with the soprano Pumeza Matshikiza and the Orchestra and Choir of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, will perform the world premiere of Bread, Water and Salt on texts by Nelson Mandela. This piece by Francesconi has been chosen to inaugurate the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia’s 2015-16 concert season and will be dedicated by the orchestra to Ludwig van Beethoven. Presenting Bread, Water and Salt for soprano, choir and orchestra the composer writes: … the piece was commissioned and programmed together with the 9th Symphony. I was asked to draw a parallel between Beethoven and Schiller’s idea of fraternity and what that might mean today. I chose Mandela because of his simple adherence to the profound spirituality of the body, of bread, and of suffering that can be overcome… to defeat the livid cynicism that corrodes our relations. And that’s where fraternity comes in: words that in politics and in the media make people scoff.  But in fact, from there you can arrive at joy. 

These world premieres will be followed by a performance of Fresco, a piece for five orchestras of wind instruments in movement (October 4 in Milan), and a performance of Hard Pace, a concerto for trumpet and orchestra (October 14 in Gothenburg), to be performed by the Göteborg Symfoniker conducted by of John Storgårds with the soloist Håkan Hardenberger.