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PHANTASUS

for cello and piano
duration: 14’ approx.
year of composition: 1995
I perf.: Milano, Palazzina Liberty, 26.10.1995, cello R. Filippini, pf. B. Canino
work property of the author
available in the computer edition
available the live recording on CD
WORK REGISTERED AT SIAE (Italian Authors and Publishers Association)


Springing from groups of notes, each of which is bound by a numerical ratio with that which precedes it and that which follows it (the ratios most commonly used are 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 2:1, 1:1), Phantasus splits into two movements. The first, conceived after the second and with respect to which it has a slower pace, re-plays the second and becomes a punctual variation of it.  The original sense is translocated, however, and pushed towards rhapsodic soaveness. The second (matrix of the first) winds itself into a broader formal itinerary which is characterised by plasticity and by instrumental gestures of a more lively and serried dialectic.

The compositional technique used in Phantasus is influenced by Pythagoric thought the the consequential privelidge accorded to the number: the intervals are discriminated as either 'odd' or 'even' with on the latter having a 'centre'. But far from affirming a kind of scientific philosophy, this recourse to numbers is a means for damming that kind of pseudo-subjectivity which passes off rigurgitation as spontaneity, roaring banality as ideative fluxes and unashamedness as expressive urgency. One might as well oppose the fiction of being subjectively free in order to enclose oneself in a numeric prison: in this way one can better see the boundaries of ones own freedom. Outside, those of the prison could not be perceived. The ancient and contrappuntal artefices of inversion, retrogradation and inverse retrogradation are amply used. The ratio between the intervals of those figures to be inverted or retrogradated and those of the figures already inverted and retrogradated is not limited to 1:1. As stated above, for the first time in compositional practice, other ratios are used.

Within this last technique, which the composer thought up in 1984 and successively elaborated, the physionomy of Phantasus is animated, with respect to whose performance difficulty listening is correspondingly simple and rewarding.