in: News & Features

September 3, 2009

Harvard Musical Association Grant Funds New Work by Gandolfi on Program for Concord Chamber Music Society

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The Concord Chamber Music Society starts its 10th anniversary season on September 20 with the world premiere of a new Gandolfi work, Line Drawings. The commission was funded in part by a grant from the George Henschel Community Awards Committee of the Harvard Musical Association.

Lest the commission seems a path-breaking step for Gandolfi, it follows in somewhat chronological order many other ones, from Tanglewood Music Center, Boston Musica Viva, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Concord Symphony Orchestra, Melrose Symphony Orchestra, St. Botolph Club (for the BSO Chamber Players), The Koussevitsky Foundation, The Paul and Buttenweiser Foundation (for Collage New Music), Boston Modern Opera Project, and, outside the bailiwick of the Boston Musical Intelligencer, the Los Angles and Atlanta symphonies,… et al.

A 2009 Grammy nominee, Gandolfi is chairman of the composition department at New England Conservatory of Music, where he received his formal education. According to composer Robert Kirzinger, publications associate for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, “The breadth of Gandolfi’s musical interests encompasses not only contemporary concert music, but also jazz, blues, and rock…. The span of his musical investigation is paralleled by his cultural curiosity, resulting in many points of contact between the world of music and other disciplines, including science, film, and theater.”

Gandolfi explained that he based his piece on Picasso’s line drawings, those made by a single, continuous stroke. “Each of the movements is written in the spirit of linearity; … I did not make explicit connections to any individual Picasso drawing.” What impressed him is the artist’s”sureness of stroke, immediacy, clarity, and conciseness.”

So he applied the same principles to composing the work. “Each work written in no more than three days, and some in a single session. Interestingly, composing in this visceral and exhilarating manner brought a freedom that belies the strictness of my self-imposed limitations.”

Gandolfi, like many modern composers, has shunned the usual tempi notations for movements with more descriptive titles: Canon: Cut and Paste; A Farewell to Old Friends; Hidden Variable; Obbligato Aria; and Chickens.

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