Gabrieli, Svetlichny, Filanovsky. All Falls Silent

Date:
15 May 2022
Place:
Prospekt
Time:
20:30–21:40
12+
Project: 

The final concert of the Tuning musical programme will see the Canzoni of the Venetian composer and chief organist of St. Mark’s Basilica Giovanni Gabrieli sound out alongside works by contemporary Russian composers on GES-2’s Prospekt.

The Tuning programme explores the interrelation of music and architecture, and All Falls Silent will conclude this exploration through a comparison of works from the sixteenth and twenty-first centuries. Renzo Piano—the architect behind the reconstruction of GES-2—often compared the former power station to a basilica, terming what is now the Prospekt the “central nave.” In this respect, it will be perfectly fitting for the music composed by Gabrieli for the many-levelled St. Mark’s Basilica to be heard under the arches of GES-2. Composers, performers, and listeners will be tasked with feeling through the new dimensions of the House of Culture, with experiencing how living sound can work within its space.

Illustration by Masha Titova

Gabrieli’s Canzoni will be followed by two pieces written in 2022 especially for Tuning. The first of these, Boris Filanovsky’s Unterwassermusik, sees the composer set himself the unusual task of writing a piece for a small ensemble in a vast space.

Gabrieli’s Canzoni will be followed by two pieces written in 2022 especially for Tuning. The first of these, Boris Filanovsky’s Unterwassermusik, sees the composer set himself the unusual task of writing a piece for a small ensemble in a vast space.

How are the musicians to coordinate if the composer becomes effectively useless, and they themselves are unable to hear or see one another? How, on the one hand, are we to do without electronics and complex synchronization circuits, while on the other avoid transferring the responsibility for bringing the piece together to the listeners? Ultimately, how are we to translate the answer to these questions from the technical to the poetic plane? The musical answer hangs in balance between these two understandings. Musicians both play together and do not, they interact and they do not, there is a score and there is not, and Unterwassermusik can be performed with either one or with two pianos. The main character of the work thus becomes the space, which at once unites and separates.

Anton Svetlichny, whose composition All Falls Silent gave this concert its name, thinks even more broadly:

In the musical study of GES-2, a key role is played by Renzo Piano’s project’s paradoxical pairing of a “new-space” effect with a careful engagement with historical memory. The classical three-naved architectural structure of the cathedral is evident in the contours and volumes of GES-2. This allows us to make reference to religious musical practice, in particular to St. Mark’s Basilica and the musical tradition that evolved around it. At the same time, the reconstruction of the early twentieth century power plant has seen it re-created, re-written, and place in an altered context. The integration of the building in the urban environment encourages composers and musicians to explore the space not only through sound, but also through performative elements. GES­–2’S light and airy atmosphere suggests a utopian, post-industrial mode of thinking and feeling. All these givens, along with the building’s numerical proportions, shaped the idea of All Falls Silent and affected the composition’s form.

Giovani Gabrieli (Venice, 1556-1612) was a composer, organist, scholar, the nephew of Andrea Gabrieli, and one of the most influential musicians of his times. He was responsible for the musical programmes at St. Mark’s Basilica and at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.

Anton Svetlichny (Rostov-on-Don, 1982) is a composer and pianist. He graduated with a degree in Composition from the Rostov State Conservatory. He was a winner of the Saint Petersburg based Pythian games composing competition. He is a member of the Resistance of Material group of composers and a co-founder of the InEnsemble contemporary music ensemble.

Boris Filanovsky (Leningrad, 1968) is a composer and curator. He graduated with a degree in Composition from the Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory. From 2000–2012 he was the artistic director of the Pro Arte Institute’s ensemble of contemporary academic music eNsemble. He is a member of the Resistance of Material group of composers.

The Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (MCME) was founded in 1990 by the composer Yuri Kasparov, with the participation of the leader of the Russian avant-garde Edison Denisov. MCME was the first Russian ensemble aimed at promoting twentieth and twenty-first century music and supporting contemporary composers. Since its founding, MCME has overseen more than 1000 premieres.