Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring – Transportation and reservations: www.magazzino.art
This two-part performace inspired by the work of Primo Levi features the world premiere of Piombo (The Periodic Table), a solo work by Luciano Chessa written for the legendary cellist Frances-Marie Uitti. The program also includes Quest[o], a work conceived by Chessa and Uitti for Cello, Dan Bau and Piano.
QUEST[O] – Una meditazione. For cello, piano, dan bau and voices by Luciano Chessa and Frances-Marie Uitti on texts by Primo Levi.
“Questo” and “quest” are false cognates that this musical work connects. Whereas “questo” is the wronged humanity to which Primo Levi points us to look at, “quest” is the search implicit in making everyone a witness, someone implicated and prompted to respond and resist.
PIOMBO (world premiere) – For solo cello based on Primo Levi’s short story in The Periodic Table. Written by Luciano Chessa for Frances-Marie Uitti.
Using the two-bows technique that Uitti introduced and has used since the 1970s—a technique that reveals unexpected polyphonic virtues of the cello—the piece alternates a primordial rhythmic obsession with an expansive diatonic sound world. The interspersed sound of obsidian and lead objects conjures Sardinia’s sights, which initially sparked Chessa’s fascination with Levi’s text.
Levi sets Piombo in the Nuragic Sardinia of the Bronze Age, in a mysterious yet innocent Bacu Abis at the very beginning of its long history of mining defloration. The choice of this location was not coincidental and carries a historical resonance. During the 1930s the mines of Bacu Abis became a pilot of Fascism’s autarchic project leading to the creation of the worker’s model city of Carbonia where mining plants and the living quarters of the workers and their families were concentrated in a modern planned structure. During the war, Bacu Abis and Carbonia became concentration and labor camps for prisoners of war.