Salvatore Sciarrino’s Sounds of Silence @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]
Existing at the edge of what can be heard, the music of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino is identified by whispers of sound that punctuate a canvas of silence. It’s music that demands a pristine listening environment to be presented properly. On Thursday (April 14), the rare pairing will be achieved when a program of chamber works by Sciarrino is presented in the concert hall of EMPAC at RPI in Troy.
Often touching upon Italian medieval and Renaissance culture as an inspiration, Sciarrino distills the sounds he uses in his compositions down to their essence to create music that exists outside of the noise of daily modern life. For his new approach to old ideas, he has become one of the best known and respected European composers working today, with more than 100 recordings to his name. His fragile music requires exceptional focus from its performers, stretching their technique and control to extremes.
Rensselaer faculty Nicholas DeMaison has been working in residence at EMPAC this week rehearsing three of Sciarrino’s best-known works (composed between 1985 and 2009). Working with a nine-piece ensemble and featured vocalist Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, the program will consist of “Infinito Nero,” a piece that draws its inspiration from the vocal outbursts of 16th-century mystic St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi; “Lo Spazio Inverso,” a piece that creates islands of sound in a sea of silence; and the most recent, “L’Altro Giardino,” an elaboration of his earlier work “Il Giardino di Sara.”