|Luciano Chessa||Benjamin Kreith|
Local New Music Champions Luciano Chessa and Benjamin Kreith perform Garrett — Confusing Salon Music and Noise since 2013 for violin, piano, bullhorn, saw, piano, Aardvark synth app, harmonica and voice. A concert-length program consisting of original pieces, Erik Satie transcriptions, Futurist noise poetry, Robert Schumann, a Fluxus piece, Carlo Prosperi’s “Chant”, delicate improvisations, and Albeniz/Kreisler.
Especially noteworthy are:
Piedigrotta (1913): considered to be the pinnacle of Futurist sound poetry: Cangiullo’s epic poem about the yearly Neapolitan street party dedicated to the Madonna di Piedigrotta. The explosions of firecrackers, the cries of street venders, the tenori battling at the annual song competition and, more in general, the sound of an entire city presented as a living organism, all reach a sudden jolt when the procession of the Black Madonna takes over the stage. By brilliantly hijacking onomatopoeic techniques typically found in Futurist poetry to mimic the explosions of mortars and shrapnels, and by forcing them to recreate the complexly articulated noise of a wild street party, Cangiullo truly succeeds here in celebrating-and synthesizing-life.
Analfabeta (Illiterate, 1989/2013): Capo Caccia is a promontory punctuated by dramatic limestone cliffs. Under it, only a few miles from my hometown Sassari, caves run for miles by the Mediterranean coastline. As I utter the words “Capo Caccia,” something specific resonates in the cavity. The exploration begins. With the marine sonar of the mind I locate a place at the heart of the deepest cave, and thus I name it: because it is a primordial, pre-cultural, pre-linguistic place. A retired Aleph-like situation where language is just as unnecessary as it is irrelevant. There, in my childish mind, I picture everything being unchanged since the Creation. Illiterate. I’m in search of the land of the water-filled men./Of arguing colors./Maybe you know/where it is located?/Capo Caccia, waterbeds, interconnected natural channels merges:/water, rocks, pools of warm water. Shells…/In between webs and ravines/there is a maze of pathways and subterranean springs,/labyrinthine caverns of stalactites,/limestone caves, meeting of waters./While freezing, guys, my urine turns blue./Poisonous giraffes, tropical fishes,/squirrels, spiders, scorpions and gnus,/cobalt blue monarch butterflies on their own wings,/river crickets, ocean cormorants,/what do you all know about all his problems?/Am I illiterate?/What “thing” means?/What “home” means?/You are illiterate./A rainy day, playing cards./Who was the first to utter “Z”?/Men filled with waters,/Laughing colors,/All the plane trees are in a good mood,/children and bunnies play bridge,/spheres smile while changing colors./A rainy day, playing Chess,/poisonous giraffes, tropical flowers/waves are breaking, reeds are rustling/a web of pathways and subterranean springs./Capo Caccia, groundwaters, interconnected natural channels merges:/water, rocks, pools of freshwater.
Improvisation for Vietnamese Dan Bau, Aardvark Synth App; Benjamin Kreith, Violin, Harmonica
Erik Satie: Le Piège de Méduse (1913) – Transcribed for Violin and Piano by Luciano Chessa and Benjamin Kreith (2012)
Benjamin Kreith: O! Never Mind the Moon (2009) – for solo violin
Robert Schumann: Intermezzo from the F-A-E Sonata (1853)
Francesco Cangiullo: PP. G to N from Piedigrotta (1913)
Luciano Chessa: Preludio e Siciliana (1987/2013) – for solo violin
George Maciunas: Solo for Violin (for Sylvano Bussotti) (1962) – Score realized by Luciano Chessa
Virgil Thomson: Alice Toklas, portrait No. 3 from Five Ladies (1930)
Javier Arias Bal: Filipina para violín a la memoria de Felipa Martín (2009)
Isaac Albeniz: Tango, No. 2 from the Suite España op. 165 (1890) – Transcribed for Violin and Piano by Fritz Kreisler (1927)
Luciano Chessa: Analfabeta (1989) – Transcribed for Violin, Voice, Piano and Aardvark Synth App by Benjamin Kreith and Luciano Chessa (2013)
Luciano Chessa is active as a composer, performer, and “conductor”. His scores are published by RAI TRADE and Carrara and have been performed in Europe, U.S., and Australia. Recent compositions include “Squeeze! Squeeze! Squeeze!,” a large-scale work written for the quartertone vibe/quartertone electric guitar duo The Living Earth Show, and “A Heavenly Act,” an opera with video by Kalup Linzy commissioned by SFMOMA for the Ensemble Parallèle. Chessa is the author of “Luigi Russolo, Futurist” (University of California Press), the first English monograph dedicated to Russolo’s Art of Noises. His Futurist expertise resulted in a commission by NYC’s Biennial PERFORMA to direct the first reconstruction of Russolo’s intonarumori orchestra and to curate/conduct concerts which received a ‘Best of 2009’ mention in The New York Times. In March 2011 Chessa conducted a sold-out intonarumori concert for Berliner Festspiele-Maerzmusik Festival; in December, for Art Basel | Miami Beach, he conducted the New World Symphony + Lee Ranaldo in the premiere of Ranaldo’s “It All Begins Now!” Chessa teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, serves in the Advisory Board of TACET, the international research publication dedicated to Experimental Music from the Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, is a member of the Steering Committee of the SF Electronic Music Festival, and collaborates with SF’s Italian Cultural Institute.
Violinist Benjamin Kreith has performed as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestra player throughout the US and Europe. He has premiered solo works at the Strasbourg and Marseille festivals and performed as a guest artist with the Ying and Muir Quartets. Ben helped to found the Ensemble CGAC in Santiago de Compostela, and has also performed with sfSound, Barcelona 216, and the Harvard Group for New Music. Recently he spent several years in Montana as a member of the Cascade Quartet and concertmaster of the Great Falls Symphony. He has had the privilege of working directly with composers including Francisco Guerrero, Gunther Schuller, and Magnus Lindberg. His live recording of Christian Lauba’s Kwintus for violin solo is available on the Accord/Universal CD Morphing. Ben also plays the harmonica and experienced a brief moment of renown when his improvisations with Leonard Bernstein were broadcast on international television. He has taught at the Escola de Música de Barcelona, and served as artist-in-residence at the University of California, Davis.