Michele Marco Rossi, cello
Michele Marco Rossi's video footage by Melquart production.
Audio and post-production by Edison Studio.
A big thanks to Valeria Cuffaro and Curva Minore
Little Studies on Background Checks - I&II (2018-2019)
for cello and video
Michel Marco Rossi, cello
On January the 5th 2016, in a speech that veered from somber to outraged, President Barack Obama unveiled a new set of executive actions aimed at limiting gun violence. The efforts largely center on more stringent background checks.
Little Studies on Background Checks I & II translate the melodies, the rhythms and the timbres of part of that speech to create an intensive interplay between Obama's voice and the cello. The ideal goal has been to amplify the emotions and feelings expressed by his prosody.
These two short pieces have been composed as preparatory studies for Background checks: a twenty-five minutes work for orchestra, pre-recorded voice and video based on the same speech.
[...] Opened with noises, rustles and vibrant fillets – almost in a scientific research of what happens from nothing to the first phoneme – the music is realized gradually in the encounter, in the reflection and in the intersection with the voice of Obama [...] The tension builds up to the point that a strong dramaturgy between music and speech emerges, making them interchangeable with each other. A well-thought-of piece of musical theater.
Monique Ciola, 29/01/2020, www.lesalonmusical.it
Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento
Marco Angius, conductor
On January 5, 2016, President Obama marked his final year in office with a last-ditch call for US gun control, following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in which 20 of the 26 victims were children. Obama certainly had notes, but didn't seem to look at them and he didn't used the teleprompter either.
The resulting speech as been described by the Washington Post as "amazingly emotional". "Background checks" aims at projecting into the orchestra the energy of Obama prosody, pauses and visual expressions.
It's a tribute to his thought on US gun safety laws and to the many innocent victims of misused weapons. "Background checks" has been commissioned by the Bolzano and Trento Haydn Foundation upon the proposal of the Artistic Director, Daniele Spini, for the 60th anniversary of the Haydn Orchestra.
for tenor voice and piano (2020)
Mark Milhofer, tenor
Marco Scolastra, piano
Festival di Nuova Consonanza
live streaming, 19 Dicembre 2020
Carlo Delicati, shooting & editing
Tommaso Cancellieri, audio
Edison Studio, post-production
During the protests over George Floyd’s death, a not-so-hypothetical president is in front of the cameras.
(Un)fortunately, his address is breaking up. Is he singing an anthem or is he giving voice to an involuntary flow of consciousness? Finally taking the hints of his accompanist, he will quit the scene by singing a (strangely autobiographical) “Povero Napoleone”: an old Italian folk songs collected by Gianni Bosio e Roberto Leydi in 1962.
Icarus Ensemble - Yoichi Sugiyama, conductor
with Gad Lerner, journalist
Teatro Cavallerizza - Reggio Emilia, 19/10/14
A commission of Festival Aperto 2014.
Producted by Fondazione ITeatri Reggio Emilia, Società dei Concerti Barattelli L'Aquila.
The stage is set with a journalist, an ensemble and a throng of voices and faces: Italians that bring shames about their ever-recurrent tragedies, screaming words of hatred filled with emotions. It’s the voice of indignation the media bring everyday to Italian homes: a force as well as a weakness arising from pleas, illiterate tirades of extrovert tongues. How close are we to such voices?
It’s a hard-to-describe phenomenon wavering between genuine witnesses and misleading stances. How to investigate these voices, attenuating the muddling buzz that surround them? How to fetch a meaning while avoiding easy judgments? By a proper translation.
Fabio Cifariello Ciardi has collected and classified hundreds of video interviews according to the age, gender and regionality of the participants and the reasons for their hardship. That is, he tried to bring order from disorder at first. Secondly, he channeled such a flood of words by transcribing the intonation, the rhythm and the dynamic of each spoken-voice. Thirdly, he orchestrated the data for an ensemble of seven musicians playing acoustic as well as odd sounding objects. Finally, he integrated the original voices into a multilayered sonic texture articulated through arias, recitatives, strettas an other forms inspired by the Italian Opera.
The result is a constant struggle between spoken-voices and speaking-instruments that capture and amplify the emotional intensity of the speaker while withdrawing speaker’s words. Cifariello Ciardi aim to shed a ‘musical light’ on supra-segmental phonological information supremacy over semantics bonding together voices, instrumental and concrete sounds in an audiovisual contemporary “Passion” about the most up-to-date social and cultural typicalities of Italian people.
"Voci vicine" is not a self-righteous opera, nor purely informative, nor political. It’s a contemporary work that engage at first and leave us with food for though then as we leave the hall.
(Mauro Mariani, Giornale della Musica, 12/11/2014)
[...] the author balances between chance and necessity, planned structure and instant improvisation and mixes everything with a playful component that makes you listen/look at the performance with the playful expectation of the unpredictable event.
Fabio Cifariello Ciardi & Uri Caine
Nasdaq Match 02 (Trailer)
for piano and sMax toolkit
Reggio Emilia, Festival Aperto 2010 - Teatro Cavallerizza, 28/10/2010
[...] the stock market data has some intrinsic “musical qualities” – musical time in the first place, and thematic imitation as a more subtle characteristic – which can be put on display with no transformation whatsoever. This means, in turn, that the “sonification function” is not jeopardised by compositional decisions and that it may still be taken up for display purposes independently from the compositional purposes of the installation. At the end of the day, these are the characteristics that make the NASDAQ works musically interesting and convincing in the first place.
De Götzen, A., Bernardini, N., & Vidolin, A. (2014). Musical perspectives on composition, sonification and performace. In Proceedings - 40th International Computer Music Conference, ICMC 2014 and 11th Sound and Music Computing Conference, SMC 2014 - Music Technology Meets Philosophy: From Digital Echos to Virtual Ethos (pp. 371-378). National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Cifariello Ciardi, F. (2004). sMax: A multimodal toolkit for stock market data sonification. In S. Barrass and P. Vickers (eds), Proceedings of ICAD 04 -Tenth Meeting of the International Conference on Auditory Display. Georgia Institute of Technology.
Beunza, D. (2006). New artistic engagements with the capital markets. economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, 7(3), 29-33.
Piccoli Studi sul Potere - Barak H. Obama 06_04_2009
for cello and video
Michel Marco Rossi, cello
On 6 April 2009, President Obama held a memorable speech at the University of Cairo in which he stressed the need to overcome negative stereotypes on the clash of civilizations after years of “fear and mistrust”.
“Piccoli Studi sul Potere” (Short Studies on Power) is a collection of pieces for solo instruments and video based on the instrumental transcription of the melodies, the rhythms
and the timbres of highly significant spoken voices. The aim of these works is to translate historical political speeches into music to emphasize the role of speech-melody in building consensus-searching strategies. Up till now, speeches delivered by Adolf Hitler, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Emperor Akihito have been ‘translated’ for violin, bass clarinet, flute, cello and harp. “Piccoli Studi sul Potere” has been commissioned by Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi (Florence) and Ex Novo Ensemble (Venice).
Does it make sense to sonify information that refers to an already audible phenomenon such as prosodic data? In order to be useful, a sonification of prosody should contribute to the comprehension of paralinguistic features that may not otherwise attract the attention of the listener. Within this context, this paper illustrates a modular and flexible framework for the reduction and processing of prosodic data to be used for enhancing the perception of a speaker's intention, attitude and emotions. The model uses speech audio as input and provides MIDI and MusicXML data as output so allowing samplers and notation software to auralize and display the information. The described architecture has been subjectively tested by the author over many years in compositions for solo instruments, ensembles and orchestra. Two outcomes of the research are discussed: the advantages of an adaptive strategy for data reduction, and the auditory display of the deep pitch and temporal structures underlying prosodic processing.