martedì 12 novembre 2013

Interview with Elena Càsoli by Empedocle70 - first part

How did the love of Elena Càsoli for the guitar start?

Perhaps as happened to many others, it was the chance that permit me to meet with the guitar, through my elementary school teacher. It was a lucky occasion, and maybe not so common in the 60's as it could be today, thanks to her I started playing when I was seven years. Less random was the encounter with the music, thanks to the cultural passions of my father. In our house there were many old vinyl records that we listened to the evening, many books, and when I was old enough to attend a concert hall or theatre, I found myself to go in those places in many of our evenings. So the guitar and music soon became a natural and constant presence in my life.

“I play an instrument which today is enjoying one of the happiest periods in its long history. Its structure and sound have evolved and kept pace with changes in attitudes to music, culmination in a range of forms and expressions in the twentieth century unheard of since the renaissance and the baroque eras.” I admit that I was very touched by this declaration of intents: I often read about guitarists complaining about the "poverty" of the guitar repertoire, in comparison with the reportoire of other instruments like the violin and the piano. It seems to me that you reverse this issue .... emphasizing the "contemporary" of the guitar ...

I don’t think that my vision is overly optimistic, but a real one, confirmed by the huge amount of beautiful music for guitar written and published. Without any criticism, I shall say that I am truly amazed when I read or hear of guitarists who complain about a lack of repertoire. In my study I have accumulated scores of new pieces and not, that I happily receive by composers and publishers, but unfortunately I don’t have enough time to play and prepare for concerts, because I study every year a large number of other new pieces. It’s a mine of music for which I ask help to my students in Bern, so they shall read and play in their concerts.

In the booklet that accompanies Changes Chances, you make several references to "New Music", especially referring to Terry Riley. The same Riley in some of his records speak about "New Music", but I could not understand what really is, a new kind of music? A different attitude?

I think I could say that with this definition of New Music I join the international community of musicians, musicologists, critics and the public that recognizes it such as all the music that is written with an intention of research and artistic creation. The results could be more or less experimental, depending from the path of each composer, but the attitude is common. In particular, in this definition we recognize composers that have links and derivations with the poetic and cultural history of European classical music, of course this definition is imperfect and limited, considering the vastness and variety of music research at the international level. It’s a world of pure creation, fascinating and multifaceted, in which composers invent, develop, transform the field of music with an attitude of profound freedom and independence. Their thoughts will materialize on paper or in the tracks of a computer in total independence from any unbridled rule or influence, which does not arise from their inspiration.
One thing that always amazed me is your versatility with which you approach easely different types of guitars from classical to acoustic, from arciliuto to electric guitar with the aim to be as much as possible to the service at the composer ... how can you manage this "park" of guitars? What are the difficulties encountered from one instrument to another?

Sometimes I also wonder how composers think that I can be so much flexible and they write me in the score to pass from arciliuto to the electric guitar in the space of a few seconds! You can imagine how much time is necessary, before this kind of concert, only to change the strings to three or four instruments. But that is, and in the years following the demands of composers and my curiosity, the classic guitar has joined two decades ago a Blade Electric Blue guitar with various effects, then it came a splendid acoustic Taylor one for a work of John Adams, the 1846th Panormo guitar, an elegant lady on which i play Takemitsu and Paganini, and the Arciliuto. Some years ago I studied the Chinese pipa for two works by Philip Glass at the Piccolo Teatro Regio in Turin with Sentieri Selvaggi and I recorded for a Stradivarius Y Despues by Bruno Maderna a 10 ropes classic guitar made by Carlo Raspagli. The differences are considerable, both technically and timbre. I try to "feel" the instrument under my fingers, to grasp as much as the possible its vibrant nature, its physicality, acoustic or electric that is, and then work on them until I feel in confidence, to find the "sound ".

to be continued...
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