Mario Bertoncini - Arpe Eolie Boxed (CD + Book Die Schachtel)

Those of you following the label's releases will know of the recordings of The Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza which they put out as a 2cd+DVD box set with extensive and highly informative sleeve-notes.  This release can be seen as a sister release following up on the work of a key member of the Gruppo. 

The Gruppo had a sort of 'performance' aspect to the shows,  like an intensely cerebral work of theatre that formed unexpected sounds which they reacted with/against. Listening to Bertoncini's work on this new cd has an all-together different feel to it. With this collection of 6 recordings, he builds the extraordinarily beautiful instruments - such as the Aeolian Harp- and composes the pieces with what appears to be mathematical precision. And yet, when you hear the resulting sounds, there's no sense of a composer's hand present. Although some are manipulated by use of electricity or  the imposition of an artificially created air current b the musician, by their very nature these instruments convey a sense of Natural Sounds beyond the grasp of composition and musician. Perhaps that's the mark of a great composer - one who cannot be noticed. The music unleashes itself. So where does the work begin? By the production of the sounds or the composition using sounds that have already been produced? 

Between the rush of sounds is the slow building ebb and tide that flow around the room. These are large in scale; delicate in metallic detail. They reflect the scale of their physical presence within a room. Rather than grate, they skim and slide in small sounds that slowly amplify themselves forming more complex harmonies inherent to the metal substance of the objects -their very being. 

It's this release of sonic Nature that becomes the piece in itself. A glorious tumble and drift of complex tones produced by these quite incredible looking instruments. Some are enormous at 7 metres high, some employ light frequencies, some are pure sculpture. That's it, they are sculptural by design, but musical by Nature. Like an aural Rosetta Stone, these musical object allow Bertoncini to weave himself with Nature.

The set comes boxed with a 32 page booklet featuring notes in Italian and English, with very impressive black and white shots of the instruments. However, it also comes with a 196 page book - a proper book- chock-a-block with info on Aeolian Harps and their use, a discussion on experimental music and a whole load of black and white pictures of the instruments and Bertoncini's sheet music that reminds me of John Cage's sheet-music. Titled 'Arpe Eolie and Other Useless Things', the book's been written by Bertoncini as a dialogue between a jaded old master and his pupil. As you do. As expected of the label, the book is beautifully bound as a rigid paperback with textured covers featuring their familiar silver printing. A fetish object indeed. HM