Saturday, April 14, 2007 6 p.m.
erratum musical #5
Gabriele Bonomo, curator

Mario Bertoncini
Solo aus dem "Klavierquartett Nr. 4"

Mario Bertoncini is one of the most original and inventive presences on the experimental music scene. He has had huge international career and was a former and unforgettable collaborator of the "Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza", alongside Franco Evangelisti. He has also been one of the most influential figures in the radical redesign of the geography of sound in the contemporary music experience; his work has with exceptional consistency explored the links between the dynamics of the production and expansion of sound in space and the exaltation of its perceptive qualities, in a dimension that forms part of the aesthetic current of informal music. Mario Bertoncini will be a guest of Borgovico 33, performing an exclusive concert comprising two of the works most representative of his poetics: Solo aus dem "Klavierquartett No. 4", performed for the first time in Italy, and Alleluia.

Solo aus dem "Klavierquartett Nr. 4" (1993)
(Italian premiere)

Solo aus dem "Klavierquartett No. 4" is the fourth composition in the series entitled Streichquartette ("String Quartets"). Like the previous Klavierquartett No. 3 it is principally based on two procedures that obtain continuous sounds from instruments such as the piano or from idiophones, e.g. the tam tam and suspended cymbals, which have on the contrary a brief and percussive entry: 1) resonating systems (piano, tam tam, Tibetan gong, bronze sound plate and wood panel) are linked to each other by long slender lines and excited by a single performer using various techniques; 2) bronze and steel bars, and also bronze springs in various sizes, are stimulated with violin bows, sheaves of bow hair and single hairs. The first procedure dates from the '60s and Bertoncini first applied it to the piano (Cifre, 1963/67) and suspended cymbals (Quodlibet, 1964, and Tune, 1965). In 1965, he introduced it into the everyday use of the "Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza". The second is derived from the first composition in this series, Streichquartett No. 1 (1992). The installation's time development is traced by a sort of tablature, while a plan indicates the position of the various zones of resonance, linked by long nylon strands in different thicknesses. The sound material consists principally in a microtonal texture partially organized by canon patterns. The installation's time development, i.e. its execution, revolves in a circle around the various resonance zones with the piano at the core. The performer's on-stage gestures and often rapid movements 'contrapuntally' and 'stereophonically' coordinate the contemporaneous actions that seem prompted by the actions of various performers in different parts of the hall. The sound ought ideally to be distributed 'acoustically' in space, i.e. without the aid of electronic amplification. However, proper amplification is essential if the performance is in a theatre or large hall. In these cases, the eight resonance zones have to be served by as many separate microphone channels.

Alleluia (1982)

Seven ancient Japanese gongs arranged horizontally in a semicircle and resting on a special revolving structure are made to vibrate by a grand piano. The slow rotation is controlled by the performer and combines the various 'harmonic' zones of the gongs precisely (thanks to the exact percussion of the piano hammers), allowing the juxtaposition of complex and rapid rhythmic constellations that generate a constant flow of changing sound colours. The work was premiered at the La Rochelle Festival in July 1982.

Mario Bertoncini

composer, pianist, musical constructivist, was born in Rome on September 27, 1932. He studied the classics and music at the Conservatory and the Accademia di S. Cecilia in Rome, gaining a diploma in composition under Goffredo Petrassi (1951/60) and piano under Rodolfo Caporali (1948/56). In 1960 he attended the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt (seminars by Bruno Maderna) and in 1962 he went to Holland (Utrecht) with a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; there, he attended the electronic music courses of Gottfried Michael Koenig at C.E.M. In 1956 he embarked on his career as a concert pianist (playing for B. Maderna, M. Rossi and P. Hupperts, among other conductors) and has since then alternated music from the classical repertoire (from the Elizabethan virginalists to D. Scarlatti, Satie, Stravinsky, Schönberg, Bartók, Stockhausen, Cage, Brown, Feldman, etc.) with his own sound installations. In 1962 he won the "Nicola d'Atri" prize of the Accademia di S. Cecilia for Sei pezzi per orchestra and in 1965 the "Fondation Européenne de la Culture" award for Quodlibet. In 1962 Bertoncini started to experimentally 'prepare' acoustic instruments with brand new techniques, with and without live electronics (Quodlibet, Cifre, Tune, Scratch-a-matic, Epitaffio). From 1965 to 1972 he was active with the "Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza" and for three years (1969-1972) directed the association of the same name. From 1973 to 1975 he was in Berlin as a DAAD 'artist-in-residence'. During that time he started designing and building sound objects ('sound sculptures' that liberate the concept of sound form from time development) based on the principle of Aeolian sounds. These notably included Vele, large Aeolian harps (seven metres tall), Chanson pour instruments à vent, an assemblage for Aeolian harps and gongs for a single performer and Venti, for 20 Aeolian sound generators and forty performers. In 1997 he obtained a grant for electro-acoustic studies from the Heinrich Strobel Foundation (SWF in Baden Baden). From 1969 to 1972 he lectured at the G. Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro. From 1974 to 1976 he held an experimental composition course (Musical Design Course) at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, and founded the MUD group, later known as "Sonde". From 1977 to 1998 he was a professor at the Universität der Künste in Berlin (UdK) while, at the same time, holding seminars and cycles of lectures/concerts in various countries (USA, Canada, Europa, Korea, Israel). In the second half of the 1960s he moved towards the musical theatre with a series of works (including Spazio-tempo, performed at the Venice Biennale in 1970) that proposed a functional link between all the elements contributing to the development of the stage action, which he called "Teatro della Realtà". In 1986 he patented Choreophon, an interactive system that transforms dance gestures into sounds. In the same year he co-founded the VIE theatre group with the dancer Martina Schaak and the director Roberto Capanna. In 1992/93 he constructed and patented Stabdämpfer a device that alters the acoustics of string instruments. As well as composing, constructing and performing, Bertoncini is active in the literary sphere. Near the end of his time at school, he worked on the Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo Sansoni as 18th Century musical-theatre editor. He has also produced for Radiotelevisione Italiana rhythmic translations of works originally written in English, French and German (Lindberghs Flug by Brecht and Weill, among others), and wrote more than 80 reviews of operas of several epochs. In 1976 he started devoting time to essays written in a dialogue form inspired by Plato's classic dialogues. They were originally written in Italian and in two cases _ out of nine dialogues so far _ in English. These essays focus almost exclusively on musical subjects. 1978 also marked his unexpected emergence as a poet and he has now written approximately 450 sonnets in the Roman dialect, 200 of which published in 1990 by Äolus Verlag in Berlin. Bertoncini left Berlin in 2004 and moved to Cetona in Italy.