Aldo Clementi | For Saxophones | Amirani Records

Transcribed works for saxophone quartet by Manuele Morbidini.

Pasquale Laino _ soprano saxophone (alto saxophone on track 4 and 9) | Manuele Morbidini _ alto saxophone | Pedro Spallati _ tenor saxophone | Rossano Emili _ baritone saxophone (tenor saxophone on track 4 and 9)

Recording _ September 2012, Castello di Pissignano, Perugia, Italy, except track 5, August 2014, Jambona Lab Studio, Cascina (Pisa), Italy. Sound engineer _ Angelo Benedetti. Assistant _ Federico Ortica. Sound engineer track 5 _ Antonio Castiello. Mixing _ Manuele Morbidini. Mastering _ Maurizio Giannotti, New Mastering Studio, Milano, Italy. Graphics _ Nicola Guazzaloca. Production _ Gianni Mimmo for Amirani Records

Thanks to Gabriele Bonomo, Mario Bortolotto, Anna Clementi, Dan Kinzelman, Roberto Prosseda, Ann Wood, Guido Zaccagnini. © Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Galleria del Corso 4, Milano, Italy. Tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 edited by Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milano, Italy

Tracklist: 1. Canone [1:53] 2. SATZ 2 [4:54] 3. Blues (Fantasie su frammenti di Thelonious Monk) [4:16] 4. Momento [8:22] 5. Texture [11:59] 6. Vom Himmel hoch [3:08] 7. Blues 2 (Fantasie su frammenti di Thelonious Monk) [4:25] 8. SATZ [2:21] 9. Canone Circolare [3:05]

ALDO CLEMENTI (Catania, 5 May 1925 — Rome, 3 March 2011)

ALDO CLEMENTI (Catania, 5 May 1925 — Rome, 3 March 2011)


Aldo Clementi has been a central figure for the evolution of European New Music since the Fifties. A student of Alfredo Sangiorgi and Goffredo Petrassi, he began to build his own identity as a composer starting from post-Webem serialism coordinates, by elaborating the influence of both attending Darmstadt and acquiring technical skills thanks to the relationship with Bruno Madema.

Deeply influenced by contemporary painting (especially by the “informal” art of Fautrier, Tapies, Tobey and Burri, but also by Perilli’s and Dorazio’s works), and by the relationship with John Cage (with whom he shared the passion for chess), Clementi has achieved, since the early Sixties, his own aesthetic, gradually shifting from the structuralist categories to a personal dimension and style. Since the Informel cycle, Clementi’s works feature complex and rigorous contrapuntal textures, resulting from graphic processes and designed to dissolve internal dialectics by saturating the sonic space.

Even if the contrapuntal construction (obtained by specular canon forms and their transpositions) and the idea of the composition as a anti-narrative static circle are key elements in Clementi’s compositional style, a new phase begins in the Seventies when Clementi reconsiders diatonicism: by replacing dodecaphonic materials with tonal fragments, the dense texture impact gives way to an effect of ‘absorption’ and ‘evidence’, where diatonic elements emerge from crowded parts as fleeting transparences.

Aldo Clementi’s belief is that “Music as art must simply accomplish the humble task of pursuing its own end”, but his vast catalogue demonstrates an extraordinary and creative vitality. This freshness, in David Osmond-Smith’s words, far from spiraling down into silence, testifies that “The steady flow of pieces from his pen shows the music ability to re-birth, phoenix-like, from the ashes”.

Clementi’s sonic space, made by highly precious craftsmanship and conceptual strength, undoubtedly represents one of the most original and fascinating results in the late twentieth century music history.

ALDO CLEMENTI (Catania, 5 May 1925 — Rome, 3 March 2011)

ALDO CLEMENTI (Catania, 5 May 1925 — Rome, 3 March 2011)

I met Aldo Clementi in his last years

and sought his company as though hoping to discover from him the solution to an enigma. Thus, the transcriptions presented in this recording are, above all, an attempt by an enthusiastic student to come to grips with the work of the musician he unhesitatingly adopted as a mentor – and what’s more, a mentor whose influence caused a complete and profound transformation of one’s point of view.

Aldo liked these transcriptions, certainly much more than I had hoped or expected. He wanted them to be published; we listened to and discussed the recordings on this album, but his worsening health forced us to suspend work. In reality, this was never intended to be a hommage a la memoire. Although it will inevitably be viewed as such.

All the works belong to Clementi’s last creative period, in a time span ranging from 1997 to 2005. and almost all of them were originally conceived for string quartet or piano solo. Many of them consist of nothing more than the contrapuntal projection of a seminal melodic fragment — derived from the music of the past or from the letters of the dedicatee’s name – in a static rotational space, whose circular motion is, however, progressively exhausted by continuous rallentando and diminuendo.

The other pieces are mainly structured in a similar way, but they are based on an isochronous pulsation – hidden by the overlapping of several meters as in the case of Vom Himmel Hoch or. by contrast, marked by a glockenspiels reiterated note like in Texture. The exceptions on a compositional level are the two Blues, among the most singular works in Clementi’s catalogue both in terms of the material and the method used – in which Thelonious Monk’s language is anatomized by a sort of collage-decollage of short fragments framed by silence.

The choice of the compositions did not depend on the adoption of a systematic criterion, but on the intuitive preference for works that seemed more “suitable” to the timbral reconfiguration I had in mind.

A reconfiguration that was not limited to the replacement of an instrumentation with another one, but that would involve turning to performers who are able to bring into play new aspects not foreseen in the original compositions: therefore, the four saxophone players for whom the transcriptions were realized were not conceived as “neutral” players, but as active interpreters with their own background as jazz musicians and improvisers – that includes an idea of sound, a way of involving physicality in the performance and an aptitude for manipulating the syntactic dimension of music, which are essentially different from those of a “classical” musician.

The sense of such an operation comes from the desire to articulate an answer, among the possible ones, to the hard question that Clementi’s regle du jeu constantly poses to the performer: how to fill the space between a sort of Beckettian scene and an unexpected, poignant, illumination.

A somewhat abnormal interpretive task, one that can be honestly undertaken only at the cost of hard work – work that, analogous to the circular course of almost all Clementi’s music, does not theoretically end, if not arbitrarily. What you thus find in this CD is nothing but an arbitrary snapshot of a single moment along the way, probably not far removed from the starting point, but through which we hope to share with the listener something of what we happened to receive during the journey. — Manuele Morbidini

ALDO CLEMENTI (Catania, 5 May 1925 — Rome, 3 March 2011)

ALDO CLEMENTI (Catania, 5 May 1925 — Rome, 3 March 2011)

Pasquale Laino

Graduated with Honors in Perugia in 1991, he played on regular basis with the RAI Symphony Orchestra of Rome, the Orchestra of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the Rome Symphony Orchestra, the Sentieri Selvaggi ensemble. Co-founder of the band Klezroym and the Arundo Donax saxophone quartet, he extensively tours in Italy and abroad, involved in concerts and recording sessions. He also composes for cinema and television. Both as performer and composer he worked with Franco Piersanti, Paolo Buonvino, Ascanio Celestini, Ulderico Pesce, Carlo Cecchi, Mango, Carmen Consoli.

Manuele Morbidini

Saxophonist, composer, improviser, he completed his musical studies at the Conservatory of Perugia, while studying philosophy at the University of Siena and musicology at the University of Bologna. His meetings with Roscoe Mitchell and composer Aldo Clementi have been extremely important in developing a personal approach to composition and performance. Mainly interested in inter-connections among jazz, contemporary classical music and improvisation, he performed in several festivals as Umbria jazz, Crossroads, Vicenza Jazz, Sagra Musicale Umbra and has composed for theatre and multi-media performances. Beyond leading his own bands, he’s a member of Dan Kinzelman’s Ghost and Society Vesna collective.

Pedro Spallati

After graduating under the guide of Mario Raja, he perfected his studies at Berklee Summer School (Umbria Jazz), Siena Jazz, Tuscia in Jazz, and with Ramberto Ciammarughi, Maurizio Giammarco, Gabriele Mirabassi, Pietro Tonolo. He’s a teacher, a jazz tradition expert and performed in several music festival as Vienna Jazz Festival, Cartagena Music Festival, Umbria Jazz, Barge Jazz, playing with Gil Goldstein, David Sanborn, Dr. John, Paul Chambers. In 2007 he gained his Music Degree with Honors, at the Conservatory of Music of Perugia.

Rossano Emili

Saxophonist, arranger, composer, considered one of the leading specialists in baritone sax, he has been active since the Nineties, both in classical contemporay music – with the RAI Symphony Orchestra, the Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Louis Andriessen, Sentieri Selvaggi and Artisanant Furiex ensembles – and in the jazz scene – working, among others, with Kenny Wheeler, Tony Scott, Willem Breuker, Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, the Lydian Sound Orchestra and many Italian groups. In 2002 he played with Paul Motian’s Electric Be Bop Band in a tribute to the “Town Hall Concert” by Thelonious Monk. He is saxophone teacher at the Conservatory “A. Buzzola”, in Adria, Italy and “Limine”, released in 2014, is his first album as a leader.

Aldo Clementi | For Saxophones | Amirani Records

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