Omaggio a György Kurtág
- Luigi Nono
The piece is based on improvisations by Roberto Fabbriciani, Ciro Scarponi, and Giancarlo Schia ni at the Experimentalstudio of the Heinrich Strobel Foundation in Freiburg i. Br. Under Nono's guidance and supported by electronic devices, the three soloists discovered how some tones in extreme registers (close to the limits of human hearing range) come close in sound to sinus tones (without harmonics) known from electronic music. In group performance, it was no longer possible to distinguish the identity and location of the sound source. To these static and indefinite sounds, Nono added an alto voice which uses its entire vocal range to sing phonemes from the name and surname of the work's dedicatee.
Formally speaking, the composition consists of fourteen episodes of various length, separated by a grand pause or a long general pause (the longest of these should last more than a minute, though this indication is rarely followed in practice). The individual episodes are governed by different principles: micro-intervallic oscillations around one note, reaching selected components of the spectrum; chromatic expansion from the base interval (frequently a h); colour modulations attained by overlapping trills. The part of the alto voice is characterised by the same "static virtuosity" which Nono developed in his writing for winds. Its difficulty lies not in acrobatic intervallic leaps and in fast or rhythmically complicated figures, but in achieving the smoothest possible transition from breath to sound, between sound "with air" and pure sound, in precise microintervallic intonation, and in crescendos performed in a narrow pianissimo dynamic range. The voice comes as if from a considerable distance and is frequently indistinguishable from the instrumental sound. One of the most riveting moments is one in which the alto voice, previously exploring the low and middle registers, sings a sustained G#5 tone and then leaps a h below. The new tone gains stability on a fermata and dies down, which Nono indicates in the score as "come sospeso, interrotto" ("as if suspended, interrupted"), alluding to the climate of Il canto sospeso, composed in 1956 to texts by European resistance fighters executed by the Nazis.