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Harmonia Artificiosa

BIBER – BERIO – PANNI

Elicia Silverstein & Marco Bianchi, violins
Francesco Cera, harpsichord & chamber organ

Program

H.I.F. Biber: Harmonia Artificiosa-ariosa: Partia n. 3 in A Major (1696)

L. Berio: Duets n. 15 “Tatjana” (1980), n. 9 “Marcello” (1979)

M. Panni: Duets n.1 “Luciano” (1981), n.2 “Oskar” (2014), n.3 “Gaia” (2022)

L. Berio: Duet n. 10 “Giorgio Federico” (1979)

H.I.F. Biber: Harmonia Artificiosa-ariosa: Partia n. 1 in D minor (1696)

L. Berio: Duets n. 1“Béla” (1979), n. 6 “Bruno” (1979)

M. Panni: Duets n.4 “Jordi”, n.5 “Boris”, n.6 “Elicia”, n.7 “Marco” (2023)

L. Berio: Duet n. 24 “Aldo” (1981)

H.I.F. Biber: Harmonia Artificiosa-ariosa: Partia n. 6 in D Major (1696)

Program © Elicia Silverstein 2023 all rights reserved

"Il concerto di Harmonia Artificiosa è stato splendido, sia per l'esecuzione molto coinvolgente - e a tratti travolgente - oltre che ineccepibile che per l'architettura sapiente con cui l'intero programma è stato concepito e che rappresenta a mio avviso un modello perfettamente riuscito di connubio tra musica antica e contemporanea, tra loro in serrato dialogo. Sarebbe anche un ottimo progetto discografico a mio avviso. Spero che il progetto avrà, come sicuramente merita, lunga vita!"

Franco Masotti Artistic Director of Ravenna Festival

"The concert, "Harmonia Artificiosa" was splendid, both for the performance, which was extremely engaging - at times to the point of being overwhelmingly moving - in addition to being impeccable, and for the wise architecture with which the entire program was conceived, and which, in my opinion, represents the most perfectly successful model for the union between early and new music - a sharp dialogue between the two. It would also be a terrific recording project in my opinion. I hope that this project will have, as it certainly deserves a long life!"

Franco Masotti Artistic Director of Ravenna Festival

In his author’s note to the 34 Duetti per due violini, Berio refers to these pieces as a sort of “private folklore” in which, beyond rigorously exploring various timbral possibilities and violinistic techniques, each duet refers to memories and fantasies linked to and inspired by the person to whom it is dedicated (each duet is dedicated to a person, many to [famous] composers and violinists, who gives name to its title). I found something complimentary in the profound lightness of these miniature Duetti, written between 1979 and 1983, and the Biber partitas of the extraordinary Harmonia Artificiosa-ariosa, published almost 300 years earlier in 1696. Anything but miniature, the Biber partitas are rather almost monumental in scope, but the spirit of intimate timbral experimentation and the type of dialogue between the two violins (even if, in the case of the Biber partitas, the violins are accompanied by a basso continuo) is very similar. Both the Biber Harmonia Artificiosa-ariosa, with its fascinating technical and expressive challenges posed by the various scordatura tunings, and the Berio duets, with their extraordinary lightness, which, as Berio’s friend and collaborator Italo Calvino put in his Six Memos for the Next Millennium, “is not frivolity but a lightness of touch that allows the writer and reader to soar above the paralyzing heaviness of the world” (it is sufficient to replace “writer and reader” with “performers and listeners”), formed my points of departure in creating this program. In June 2022, I asked Marcello Panni, composer most esteemed not only by my colleagues and myself but also by his historic friend Berio, to compose something that could link the Berio duets with the Biber partita (which seem, contrary to the Berio, almost to rise up from a great depth). Panni had already written one duet – Luciano, as a gift to Berio for his 61st birthday. This duet, which took Berio’s own duets as its model, was the starting point that Panni had in mind for his new Duetti per due violini soli, which Marco and I had the honor of premiering at the 2023 Ravenna Festival. Faithfully following the example set by Berio, each of Panni’s duets is dedicated to a person for whom it is named (including Elicia and Marco). What a delight to be able to contribute to transforming Berio’s 34 Duetti into the “kaleidoscope made up of about a hundred Duetti,” that he dreamed of writing, while following his belief that the future should be “remembered” in having his music encounter the marvelous early music of Biber alongside the brand new duets by Panni in a sort of sound mosaic that links past, present and future.

Elicia Silverstein, Bologna 2023

Marco Bianchi

Violinist Marco Bianchi has been one of the principal players and soloists of the famed Italian baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico since 1989. Born in Milan, Italy, Bianchi studied the violin under the guidance of Professor Aldele Riva Toffoletti at the Civica Scuola di Musica of his city, eventually graduating in 1987 from the “Conservatorio G. Verdi”. He continued his studies under the guidance of Renato Zanettovich and the Trio di Trieste and with Mariana Sirbu, receiving prizes in both national and international competitions. Active as a chamber musician on the international concert scene (with his sister – the harpist Cristina Bianchi, with Trio Sforza, Pianist Pierre Goy, La Gaia Scienza, l’800 Ensemble), he has recorded for Nuova Era, Amadeus, Tactus, Dynamic, Stradivarius, Arts, Winter&Winter and Claves.

He has collaborated with world-renowned artists such as Gustav Leonhardt, Gerhardt Schmidt-Gaden, Diego Fasolis, Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli, Ottavio Dantone, Carlo De Martini, Enrico Onofri, Giovanni Antonini, Corrado Rovaris, Cecilia Bartoli, Eva Mei, Philippe Jaroussky, Magdalena Kozena, Max Emanuel Cencic, Bernarda Fink, Alexander Lonquich, Victoria Mullova, Maurice Steger, Franco Gulli, Katia and Marielle Labeque, Vaclav Luks, Giuliano Carmignola, Gabriele Cassone, Mario Brunello, Anthony Pay, Christophe Coin, Albrecht Mayer, Giovanni Sollima, Julia Lezhneva, Isabelle Faust, Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Anna Prohaska, and Justin Kim.

With Il Giardino Armonico, he regularly performs in prestigious concert series, halls and theatres in Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, South America, Australia and New Zealand, making recordings for major international radio and television broadcasts and for important record labels such as Teldec, Decca and Naïve. His interest in historical performance has led him to collaborate with groups such as E.B. de Limoges, Accademia Bizantina, I Barocchisti, Accademia d’Arcadia, and notably the Ghislieri Consort, where he has been concertmaster and soloist since 2001, and with whom he has recorded for Sony (Deutsche Harmonia Mundia) and Arcana. An eclectic musician, Bianchi was previously part of the group “Matt Deer and the Beale Street Band,” with whom he performed music of various genres from country and blue grass to blues and jazz, with musicians such as Vince Tempera, Franco Battiato, Nello Salza, Andrea Cacciapaglia, Sergio Scappini, Mariano Nocito, and Gianluca Littera. He is a tenured professor of violin at the Conservatorio “Maderna” in Cesena, Italy, and he previously held the same position in the conservatories of Messina, Cosenza and Foggia.

Francesco Cera

The Italian harpsichordist, organist and conductor Francesco Cera, is internationally recognized for his performances of 17th and 18th century keyboard music, and as a leading specialist of Frescobaldi’s keyboard works.

A student of L. Ferdinando Tagliavini and the famed Gustav Leonhardt, Cera received his diploma from the Amsterdam Conservatory in 1991, the same year in which he became the harpsichordist of the ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, with whom he made various recordings for Teldec and performed concerts throughout Europe. In 1996, Cera founded the Ensemble Arte

Musica, specializing in Italian vocal music from Gesualdo and Monteverdi, to the cantatas of the 18th century. Cera has performed, both solo recitals and as the director of Ensemble Arte Musica, in such venues as the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the Festival of Flanders, Resonanzen in Vienna, Baroktage Melk, Philarmonie Köln, Tage Alter Musik in Herne, Lådegard in Oslo, Festival in Maguelone, Abbaye de Saint-Michel en Thiérache, Les Sommets Musicaux in Gstaad, Musica e poesia a San Maurizio in Milan, Accademia Filarmonica in Rome, Festival Monteverdi in Cremona, Bologna Festival, Sagra musicale Malatestiana in Rimini. He has also performed recitals on historical organs throughout Europe, Scandinavia, and the United States. From 1995 until 2005, Cera collaborated regularly with Diego Fasolis and I Barocchisti in Lugano, recording with the ensemble for Arts, Virgin and Decca. He has also collaborated with singers Guillemette Laurens and Letizia Calandra, violinists Enrico Onofri, Marco Serino and Elicia Silverstein, the lutenist Francesco Romano. His vast solo discography on both organ and harpsichord includes repertoire ranging from sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian music to the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, the French Suites, harpsichord concertos and the Well-Tempered Clavier of J.S. Bach, works by D’Anglebert and Correa de Arauxo. His most recent discography includes an album of works by Girolamo Frescobaldi, interpreted on nine rare historical instruments, published by Arcana.

Cera has held masterclasses and seminars at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Yale University, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Smarano Organ Academy, Piccola Accademia Montisi, Academia de Organo J. echevarria and at the Frescobaldi Akademiet a Grimstad. He is active as a consultant for the restoration of historical organs in Italy. Cera holds the chair of harpsichord professor at the Conservatorio “E.R. Duni” in Matera and currently teaches at the Conservatorio “A. Pedrollo” in Vicenza.

Other projects

Leipzig Metamorphosis

Elicia Silverstein, violin
Accademia dell’Annunciata
Riccardo Doni, harpsichord, chamber organ & conductor

In this program, Elicia Silverstein, Riccardo Doni and his Accademia dell’Annunciata offer the listener a window into a dialogue between the musical world of J.S. Bach and that of his Leipzig compatriot, the young Felix Mendelssohn, who, through his knowledge of the music of Bach is able to “remember the future,” as Luciano Berio later put it, forging a new musical language, informed, colored and perfumed by the past.

E se sei solo?

BACH SONATAS & PARTITAS

Elicia Silverstein, violin

Revered as the “holy grail” of the violin repertoire, the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, which Silverstein explores in this project, highlight her personal, nuanced, historically informed approach to music making. From both the concert stage and the classroom, Silverstein shares her participation in, what she describes as, the “wonderfully rich living history of the infinite source of inspiration, invention, beauty, humanity and Music,” that these works embody, in an ongoing masterclass-recital tour dedicated to curious, aspiring, music-loving “students” at all stages of the journey.

BIBER MYSTERY SONATAS

Elicia Silverstein, violin
Francesco Cera, harpsichord & portative organ
Silverstein and her esteemed musical collaborator, harpsichordist and organist Francesco Cera, explore the highly spiritual world of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas (also known as the “Rosary Sonatas”), some of the most fascinating music ever composed for the violin. Rich with symbolism, each sonata depicts one of the fifteen Mysteries of the Cross described in the Catholic liturgical tradition. With unusual scordatura tunings and symbolically charged harmonic and rhythmic devices, Biber brings each Mystery of the Cross vividly to life. The fourteen different scordatura tunings help establish the unique character of each sonata by varying the tension on the violin and thereby eliciting from the instrument a distinctive resonance, color, and affect matched to the Mystery depicted. In order to equip themselves to recreate for both themselves and modern listeners the scenery, action, and emotions of each Mystery, Silverstein and Cera have delved deeply into the liturgical texts associated with each.  Their aim is nothing less than the fully immersive meditative experience they believe Biber envisioned when he composed the sonatas in the seventeenth century.

THE REVOLUTIONARY WORLD OF J.B. VIOTTI

CHERUBINI - VIOTTI - MOZART
Elicia Silverstein, violino
Atalanta Fugiens
Vanni Moretto, conductor
Elicia Silverstein, conductor Vanni Moretto and his phenomenal period-instrument orchestra Atalanta Fugiens celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of J.B. Viotti, a musical figure of immeasurable impact on the critical transition that took place in music history at the turn of the nineteenth century. Though undervalued today, Viotti had a profound influence, both as violinist and composer on the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and his lifelong friend Cherubini, as well as François Xavier Tourte, with whom he developed the modern violin bow. This program seeks to create a sort of sound “photograph” of the musical world in the years that directly surrounded the French Revolution, with Viotti as the protagonist at the center of one of the most important transformations of the western European musical language in modern history.

The Dreams & Fables I Fashion

BIBER - SCIARRINO - MONTANARI - BERIO - BACH

Elicia Silverstein, violin

This highly personal program, which Silverstein recorded to critical acclaim for Rubicon Classics in 2018 and which won her the BBC Music Magazine’s “Best Newcomer” Award in 2020, takes its title from a 1733 sonnet by Pietro Metastasio, which poignantly expresses the emotionally-charged, sometimes inevitably solitary nature of creating art. Moving seamlessly between works that span from the 17th to the 20th centuries by Biber, Sciarrino, Montanari, Berio and Bach, Silverstein ‘traces the mental circuits that capture and link points distant from each other in place and time’ (Italo Calvino), and aims to highlight the universal nature of the inner human experience, connecting us in ways that transcend the boundaries of time and place.