On the possibility of cultivating shadows


Commissioned by Quartetto Maurice for Musica in Prossimità Festival 2021 organized by Associazione Metamorfosi Notturne with the support of Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung.
Instrumentation: String quartet, feedback cones quartet.
Prémiere: 2 July 2021 Teatro del Lavoro, Pinerolo, Italy. Quartetto Maurice.
Duration: 20 min.

“It is imperative that we carve out some spaces beyond the hyper-bright instant. This instant is insomniac, amnesiac; it locks us into a reactive time, which is always full (of outrage and pseudo-novelty). There is no continuous time in which shadows can grow, only a time that is simultaneously seamless (without gaps: there is always “new” content streaming in) and discontinuous (each new compulsion makes us forget what preceded it). The result is a mechanical and unacknowledged repetition. Is it still possible for us to cultivate shadows?” (“A time for shadows”, in Fisher, 2018)

The above quote from Fisher becomes the starting point of a reflection that involves the role of the composer, of the performer, and of the listener in the composition and listening activity, and the rumination of if is it still possible – today – to carve out a private space for cultural and musical reflection, a protected area in which to let our shadows grow, as opposed to the imperative of instantaneity and of massive and ephemeral production.

In this piece, the four cones are set in feedback with themselves via contact microphones and all the feedback material is generated live and is self-regulated. The entire piece has been written using the delicate and intimate feedback sound material as starting and arrival points, thereby driving the composition process both formally and timbrically.