Chessa, Luciano – “Petrolio” – [stradivarius]
composer, sound artist, musicologist: Luciano Chessa is a highly prolific figure in the avant-garde / modern classical / experimental sound world grossly underrepresented in our library for the fact that he has been active for decades and is based out of the Bay Area. anyways, what we have here is a collection of compositions ranging from 1987 to 2013 covering a huge expanse of compositional styles and formats:
-the first piece (1-4) a percussion-piano duet reinterpreting Pier Paolo Pasolini’s final unfinished novel, an examination of gender politics and identity psychology.
-the second piece (5-8) a selection of free compositions commissioned by the Bologna Conservatory where he studied in the 90s set to vocals performed by Chessa himself and controversially incorporating his popular music influences resulting in a more playful, almost catchy delivery.
-the third piece (9-11) a string quartet commissioned by and dedicated to a couple for their wedding tells the story of Italy’s most prominent post-WWII luthier.
-track 12 is a piece for solo guitar/voice, based on a poem about Amadou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant murdered by NYC police officers in 1999. this piece, he explains, carries a nihilistic tone resulting in a “painful overdose of silence.”
-the fifth piece (13-15) is a series of “salon dances”, piano compositions for four hands that involve intersections of actionism outlined thoroughly in the liner notes”
-the final two pieces are a repurposing of earlier compositions for solo violin requiring the performer to wear two green “jingle-bells” bracelets.
the compositions contained here are serene, cerebral, provoking, challenging, surprising, playful… a wonderful sampling of Chessa influential compositional styles and a wonderful introduction to his work.