Musicality, energy and life in Gaslini's total music
Giorgio Gaslini is unique in the contemporary music panorama. Composer, pianist, recognised leader and invited all over the world, both as concert artist and as innovator of the European-style jazz language. To date he can boast tours in more than 50 countries, 80 records and 9 critical awards, publications and numerous prestigious artists who have been influenced by his teachings. His compositions, ballet, symphonic and chamber music, the songs and film music (with the famous sound-track for La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni) all bear his personal hallmark. His experiences as a musician involved in an everyday contact with the public and those as a high-culture musician, push towards a synthesis which Gaslini calls ‘total music’, both in his Manifesto of 1964 and in the homonymous book published by Feltrinelli in 1976. This move was already apparent in the late Fifties. The extraordinary thing is that in the last few decades, the music born in various fields all over the world, has generally gone in the direction wished for by Gaslini and first followed by him. All this makes the Maestro a true forerunner of today’s music /…/ his chamber music compositions, written between 1955 and 1995.
Logar, for flute with piano interventions, is an unpublished work of 1955, characterised by wide musical intervals, with jittery bursts, in line with the stylistic methods of those years, though with more flexibility and softness.
Chorus, for flute, dedicated to Severino Gazzelloni, who played it all over the world, was composed in 1965, and published by Universal of Vienna. It is an extremely original piece, with a lyric epic character, based on serial and non-serial elements, with the improvisation by the performer on a sequence of sounds taken from Palestrina, in the finale. In the central part of the composition, the Author makes explicit use of gestural expressiveness, asking the flautist to tap on the keys and to beat time with his feet.
The unpublished piece Chants-songs, for flute and piano, dedicated to Roberto Fabbriciani, is a work of 1995. It is made up of five sections springing one from the other, like Chinese boxes, entitled: Lyric Song, Rock Song, Epic Song, Blues Song, Musical Song. Gaslini is the only artist, in the Italy of today, who successfully undertakes a synthesis, bringing together different languages, not simply thanks to his vast international experience, but above all to his open receptive mind, and to his acute humanity which enables him to participate in, and respect, the most varied cultures.
After an Asian tour, Gaslini composed, in 1994, a suite of Burmese inspiration, Myanmar Suite. Later he produced a revised version for harp quartet, performed for the first time on this CD. The piece can be placed within the ethnic trend cultivated by Gaslini. The sound fascination is extraordinary, fresh, playful, dry, with no cheap effects. On a tip tap rhythm, obtained by tapping the fingers on the harp case, a soft oriental kind of melody flows, with tender tones and delicate perfumes. Questions and answers between the instruments create entrancing antiphonies. The motions are light, and as free as butterflies. The feeling of freedom is one of the most beautiful sensations that Gaslini’s music can offer.
The playful aspect, together with visual stimuli, noise-effects and gestural expressiveness are the basis of Open Music for two pianos. In this piece six playing cards are made use of, painted by Maestro Gaslini himself. On each card there are two notes on which the pianists improvise, making a complete chromatic series. A stratification of two sound levels takes place, through the polymetries, polyrhythms and polyharmonies created by the two pianists, who give life to a kind of musical theatre. It is an unpublished composition of 1993.
Battiti (1994), for solo violin and chorus, is divided into three movements: Lento, Moderato, Mosso. It contains texts written by Gaslini himself. The first movement is called Silenzio and starts with a violin solo, followed by the chorus whispering these words: “silence. Creating silence / I am in silence and listen / to the silence within the mind”. Fluted sounds intensify the surprise of the second lyric, Esco da me, where Gaslini handles the theme of the journey and the play. The third section is called Le nuvole and comes to life after a quick cadenza by the soloist. It is a positive music which ends with the lines: “The child smiled, joy in his eyes”.
From: R. Cresti, cd Giorgio Gaslini, Chamber music, La bottega discantica, 1996