Studio 19

for viola

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for viola

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Year of Composition 2020
Duration 9' 20"

Instrumentation Viola
Categories (all composers) , , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-dv1sn1


Studio 19 is an exceptionally large and articulated composition written for the talented Italian violist Maurizio Barbetti, who the song itself is dedicated to.

It is a real study on the main instrument techniques. From a formal point of view, the piece has a very unified structure. This composition may thus be described as a kind of single theatrical act. The musical writing used by Venturi is very varied and articulated, while maintaining its cantability as a red thread and an element of continuity with other works.

In this piece there are many executive techniques borrowed from the music of Twentieth-century and contemporary composers, such as the use of natural and artificial harmonic sounds, even the double ones, the various passages and pressures of the bow on the strings, Bartok pizzicato, even double or quadruple, percussive sounds, double strings, etc.

Techniques themselves, however, are revisited by the composer through personal poetics and musical writing, and within this complex form of Study.

Although it is a very virtuosic piece from a performative point of view, it is a work that requires even more attention, commitment and dedication from an interpretative point of view.

Circus elements are proposed again in this composition, like in his last works. Thus, certain musical figures seem to draw inspiration from the techniques of acrobats, jugglers and especially mimes. It may be said that this piece, written in the terrible and dramatic moment of the Covid-19 pandemic, suffers from a musical poetics which tends to a kind of expressive implosion.

It is a composition with dramatic and melancholy shades, in which the musical language changes with the passing of the minutes. This is truly clear and obvious, in particular, according to its inter-interval organisation.

The first large area (measurements 1-49) in which the composer uses a language based on the chromatic total, a chromatic scale of 12 sounds, contrasts – in strong dialectical antithesis – the second area (measures 50-92), in which the use of non-tempered sounds is very strong.

In this area, the composition is organized on a scale of 36 heights, in an interspersed system where 24 non-tempered sounds are added to the 12 chromatic sounds. It means that they are 24 more or less increasing or falling sounds compared to the 12 representing the chromatic scale.

Then follows the final area (measures 93-112) which, from a formal point of view, is a kind of tail with a conclusive character.

The strongly theatrical and dramatic aspect of this composition is present from the very beginning, in which the violist is required to play on the empty strings of the instrument.

Symbolically, it is as if a kind of mental void, from a poetic and psychological point of view, gripped the performer’s mind from the first moments of the performance.

This is strongly evident from the initial musical writing in which the first two musical figures with a percussive character are contrasted with two other figures with wider rhythmic values in the acute and very acute register of the instrument, which project the listener into a dimension of space-time zeroing where time and space seem to stop. Finally, it may be said that throughout the piece there is a kind of ‘gravitate’ which makes each musical figure extraordinarily rich and full of drama.