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AUSA

for great orchestra
(first prize to the “Olivier Messiaen” competition, 1973)
degree of difficulty for the orchestra: medium-high
duration: approx. 16'
year of composition: 1973
first performance: La Rochelle, Festival, 5.7.1974 – orch. ORTF, dir. G. Amy
Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milano
(the parts can be hired out)
(5.3.4.3. - 4.3.3.1. - A.: 30.0.12.10.8.)
live recording by Radio Francee and RAI
WORK REGISTERED AT SIAE (Italian Authors and Publishers Association)

At the beginning of the piece, all of the possible combinations of the three chromatic notes contained in the interval of the major 2nd, alonside those of the four chromatic notes of the minor 3rd and the six contained in the perfect 4th, are proposed in the criteria of the 'melodic' cluster until they are axhausted. The following are the different combinations of the same sounds that are obtainable from the aforementioned numbers: 3 (3x2x1=6); 4 (4x3x2x1=24); 5 (5x4x3x2x1=120) and 6 (6x5x4x3x2x1=720). On this combinatoric and ash-grey base – an overcast day permits thoughts that are unknown to the open blue sky – ephimeral acoustic ghosts come alive. In the beginning these events  fleetingly rise from the ashen base of permutations (the group of six chromatic notes present in the perfect 4th, producing 720 combinations, last approximately 6') and they return after all the combinations have been exhausted, though now inserted into another context which links them formally, while before they were un-related.

With the combinatoric game described above, the author did not wish to excercise a false numeric enticement. In proposing all of these combinations at the opening of Ausa the composer gave himself a neutral base – like an overcast sky – from which to extract ephimeral events of a most fleeting nature. Elaborating this base with mathematical rigour was a tithe payed to the author's Pithagoric tendencies, but is extraneous to the thrill of the piece. One might suspect that the 'mathematicion Jannis Xenakis (one of the panel members of the Messiaen Competition, together with Ligeti, Litislawsky and Messiaen himself) may have smiled at ambiguous mathematical component of a piece which is not mathematical. Ausa o della Memoria (Ausa or of Memory) should be the title, since its shadowy mountain-flank is forgetfullness. Also the title was involved.

G. F. Malipiero died at Asolo. Asolo reminded the author of confused etymologies extrapolated in touristic pamphlets. Thanks to an etymological regression – guided by Devoto – Anzaghi came across the Mediterranean word Ausa. After this research the word was forgotten. The author had scarce hopes that it might be re-invoked. As it was the end of an etimological chain, it was necessary to reconstruct every intermediate link to arrive at the 'source'. Only progressive mnestic riconstruction could make possible the return to the archaic word Ausa used on the Medierranean shores to mean 'source'. A good omen for he who adventured into the labyrinth of creativity.