commission: Festival “Synthese 90” Bourges
1990 – Bourges, Festival International de Musique Experimentale “Synthese 90”
Oct 31, 1990 – Boston (USA), New England Conservatory of Music, Electric Wednesday
Nov 11, 1990 – Oslo, NICEM
“Preludio al Terrore” was created in 1990 on commission of the “XX Festival de Musique Experimentale” in Bourges on the occasion of the bicentenary of the French Revolution, and is conceived as a prelude to Robespierre’s rise to power, which culminated in the so-called period of “terror”.
In the debate held at the “Assembly” on May 30, 1791, on the need to maintain the death penalty or not, Robespierre made a heartfelt speech in favor of its abolition, mainly supporting two propositions: “la première, que la peine de mort est essentiellement injuste; la deuxième, qu’elle n’est pas plus répressive de toute les peines, et qu’elle contribue beaucoup à multiplier les crimes qu’à les prevenir “.
Contrary to these arguments, however, the “Assemblèe” will pronounce
definitively in favor of the death penalty, also deciding that for the execution of the condemned an instrument conceived with humanitarian purposes should be used to avoid unnecessary suffering to the condemned: “the guillotine”. Just three years later, in contravention of the previous position, Robespierre will make extensive use of the guillotine, contributing not a little to perpetuating its sinister charm and procuring for himself a place of respect in the ranking of the proponents of political executions: it is assumed that during his reign, in ten months of revolutionary terror, 16,594 heads have fallen. In consideration of these facts, the rereading of Robespierre’s speech, especially in some passages, is revealed today in all its particularly sinister and disturbing light.
The narrator who plays Robespierre is by Giovanni Riccioli.