ponedjeljak, 23. prosinca 2013.

Stefano Scodanibbio – Oltracuidansa 1997/2002 (2010)

Kontrabas na Marsu.


Oltracuidansa is the radical questioning of the relation between the performer’s body and instrument: What is the language of the contrabass? How to give voice to the thought? In the variety of the contrabass voices, how to find “The Voice”? And finally, if “the voice’s flight in the language must come to an end”, if “the achieved thought has no more thought”, doesn’t one arrive at the abyss of silence?
Stefano Scodanibbio — regarded as one of the great interpreters of the contemporary contrabass as well as a composer — uses his instrument to ponder these thoughts. Oltracuidansa digs into the bowels of the instrument, revealing the primal, animal sides of the contrabass through unorthodox techniques in bowing, pizzicato, left and right hand, etc.
Scodanibbio recorded almost 6 hours of contrabass sound materials. The taped sounds, all produced solely by the contrabass, are the result of 26 different methods of sound production — they were then cut and used in a polyphonic way via multitrack editing. The amazing sounds which result are not filtered or modified, just a small reverb unit has been used. The tape was created at CCMIX (Centre de Création Musicale Iannis Xenakis) in Paris.
Oltracuidansa (1997-2001) is a composition for contrabass and eight-channel tape – though this version is stereo only. Through it, creator Stefano Scodanibbio, one of the great contemporary bassists, ponders the relation between the performer’s body and the instrument. He digs into its bowels, revealing what he calls its “primal, animal nature” through extended arco and pizzicato techniques. The tape was created at CCMIX (Centre de Création Musicale Iannis Xenakis) in Paris, entirely from sounds produced by the bass, treated in a kind of polyphony through multitrack editing, with no filtering or modifying, just a small reverb unit. Throughout its almost hour-long duration, this quiet drama of fugitive sounds exhibits a sustained intensity, its understated virtuosity not quite establishing the memorability of the work. Nonetheless, it’s a challenging composition by one of the great thinkers of the contrabass.  - Andy Hamilton, The Wire, January 2011

With this recording, Italian contrabassist Stefano Scodanibbio offers a sonic investigation of the relationship of voice to language. The voice in question is his own, as expressed in the language of his instrument.
The idea for Oltracuidansa began with a brief text by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben on the nature of thought. From the text, Scodanibbio derived a series of questions concerning language, voice and thought and their complex interrelationships. Translated to the bass this meant, as he puts it, a “radical questioning of the relation between body and instrument.”
“Oltracuidansa” is an Italianization of the Provencal “ultracuidansa,” which Scodanibbio defines in part as “to think beyond” the limits of thought. This is an apt metaphor for what Scodanibbio is doing with his instrument on this recording. In questioning his physical rapport with it, he plays it beyond the limits of standard classical technique.
Scodanibbio recorded nearly six hours of various sounds produced by twenty-six different methods of applying hands, hair and wood to the instrument’s strings and body—the roster of techniques is meticulously catalogued in Scodanibbio’s liner notes accompanying the CD. Once recorded, the sounds were assembled via multitracking into a layered work nearly an hour long. No processing of the sound was used beyond the addition of some reverb.
Over the course of the track Scodanibbio sets out the extensive sonic vocabulary that can be pulled, rubbed, struck and otherwise coaxed from the bass. The result is an extended sound environment composed of constellations of colors and textures of differing intensity and duration—required listening for anyone interested in the state of the contemporary contrabass. The overall atmosphere is restrained and thoughtful, with much hanging on the nuances that differentiate the sounds.
One of the questions Scodanibbio asks with Oltracuidansa is whether language hides voice. The answer is ambiguous: The voice which expresses thought necessarily is both enabled and constrained by the language that gives it its distinct material form. By exploring the language of the bass as he does here, Scodanibbio shows that the performer’s voice is inseparable from the instrument through which it comes to life. - avantmusicnews.com/

Reinventions (2013)

The “Re-inventions” heard here comprise the last dream project of Stefano Scodanibbio (1956-2012), new arrangements for string quartet of three Contrapunctus from Bach’s Art of the Fugue, plus popular Mexican songs and Spanish guitar music, brought into a compelling unity. “What is intriguing about these arrangements is that they are indeed ‘Re-inventions’ as Stefano manages to impinge his own personal style of writing, in harmonics, so that they are unmistakably the work of his hand” (Irvine Arditti in the liner notes). Scodanibbio’s writing for strings was informed by his extraordinary prowess as a player, a virtuoso bassist, interpreter, improviser and a composer whose own work was beyond the “traditional” avant-garde. - www.ecmrecords.com/

This unearthly, ethereal, half-heard sequence of arrangements is by the little-known composer Stefano Scodanibbio, a friend of the violinist Irvine Arditti. As a double bass player, Scodanibbio perhaps yearned for higher frequencies; much of this writing for string quartet is based on harmonics so that the music appears to float out of the stratosphere. What comes across is the composer's intense love for his material, which alternates between haunting Mexican folk songs (including the bewitching Bésame mucho), pieces originally for guitar, and dislocations of three of Bach's Art of Fugue. Totally original sounds, wonderfully realised by Quartetto Prometeo. - 

Where human creativity and musical acumen are concerned, there never will be the last word (read note) on anything, so long as we still live. That was brought home to me on the recent release of music by contrabassist virtuoso Stefano Scodanibbio (1956-2012), namely his Reinventions (ECM New Series B0018083-02) for string quartet. Besides working with composers like Riley, Xenakis, Cage and Nono on music that extended the possibilities of the contrabass, he was a composer in his own right. Reinventions looks to a full spectrum of string resonances and playing methods in the reworking and re-timbred recomposition of Bach contrapuntal music, Spanish classical guitar works and popular Mexican songs. As Arvo Part discovered, the judicious use of string harmonics can extend radically what string groups sound like. Scodanibbio in these arrangements for string quartet, played by the very capable and sympathetic Quartetto Prometeo, in essence dissects every intervallic overlapping of every sequence in time and carefully reconceives the sound worlds possible.
Webern years ago did something analogous for chamber orchestra in a reworking of Bach. In his case he made pointillistic part shifting a regular metered event and articulated every Bachian note for a different instrument or combination of instruments. Here Scodanibbio limits it to the four string instruments in the quartet. The comparison is fascinating to me, but what matters is how Scodanibbio's timbre manipulation dexterity and clear musical vision allows him to rework melodic-harmonic sequences and make of them something much more 21st century than the music with conventional articulations.
The music is mostly taken slow, deliberately, so that every nuance becomes clear. It's entirely lovely in result, aurally adventurous yet sonically accessible to all ears. Quartetto Prometeo take pains to achieve the uncanny sounding result Scodanibbio was after, and they very much succeed. And of course the ECM spaciousness is perfect for this music. This may be a sleeper. It's a sleeping giant in a way. It has magic built-in. And it will charm the most reluctant modern-pomo sceptic. -

Six Duos (2001)

Stefano Scodanibbio, contrabass soloist and composer (Macerata, Italy, June 18th 1956 / Cuernavaca, Mexico, January 8th 2012).
In the 1980s and 1990s his name has been prominently linked to the renaissance of the double bass, playing in the major festivals throughout the world dozens of works written especially for him by such composers as Bussotti, Donatoni, Estrada, Ferneyhough, Frith, Globokar, Sciarrino, Xenakis.
He has created new techniques extending the colours and range of the double bass heretofore thought impossible on this instrument. In 1987 , in Rome , he performed a four hours non-stop marathon playing 28 pieces by 25 composers.
He collaborated for a long time with Luigi Nono ("arco mobile à la Stefano Scodanibbio" is written on Prometeo's score) and with Giacinto Scelsi.
He regularly plays in Duo with Rohan de Saram and, furthermore, with Markus Stockhausen.
Since the 1990's, Stefano Scodanibbio has taught Master Classes and Seminars at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Universityof California Berkeley, Stanford University, Oberlin Conservatory, Musikhochschule Stuttgart, Conservatoire de Paris, Conservatorio di Milano, etc. In 1996 he taught Contrabass at Darmstadt Ferienkurse.
Active as a composer his catalogue consists of more than 50 works principally written for strings (Sei Studi for solo contrabass, Three String Quartets, Concertale for contrabass, strings and percussions, Six Duos for all possible combinations of the four strings, etc.) and he was chosen four times for the ISCM, International Society of Contemporary Music (Oslo 1990, Mexico City 1993, Hong Kong 2002, Stuttgart 2006).
In June 2004 he premiered the Sequenza XIVb by Luciano Berio in his own version for contrabass, from the original for cello.

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