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John Harbison

Publisher: AMP

Il Saliscendi Bianco (from "Mottetti di Montale") (1999),
Text Writer
Mottetti from “Le Occasioni” by Eugenio Montale
Publisher
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Category
Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Sub Category
Sinfonietta
Year Composed
1999
Duration
13 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
mezzo soprano


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Programme Note
John Harbison Il Saliscendi Bianco (from "Mottetti di Montale") (1999),
Composer note:

Twenty years after composing Mottetti di Montale for mezzo-soprano and piano (1980), the last installment of its orchestration for chamber ensemble was completed. My interest in this piece has persisted 1) because I like the music, 2) because I am deeply interested in Montale's poetry and have found that the piece serve to interest others as well, and 3) because breaking the 56-minute span into shorter segments and transforming it into a mixed-ensemble format (vocal recitals being nearly extinct) promises more hearings for both the music and the words.

I expect these arrangements to be most performed as individual Libri of four to six songs. But only the entire span can provide the cryptic narrative, the "novel in verse" that Montale described when he published the sequence in 1950 as part of his collection Le Occasioni.

In 2000 came Libro II, The White Swallow, commissioned by Collage. The arrangements impart an individual color to each section (divisions decided by the composer, not the poet). It was my good fortune to experience the Ligurian surroundings of the poems a decade after I had set them for voice and piano, in time to involve their sights and sounds in the orchestration.

— John Harbison


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