GOT LOST (sop, pf) 2007/08
Helmut Duo (Felicita Brusoni, sop – Matteo Bogazzi, pf)
Lecture on Dull Catastrophes and Love Songs (2022), an album by Andrea Agostini
Andrea Agostini – Felicita Brusoni
Electric Voice Toolbox – A Collection of Experimental Studies for Voice and Live Electronics (voice, live el) 2023 [première]
The first concert I did in the context of my PhD program, two years ago, was focused on the concept of going beyond the limits of voice, choosing, as a gaming table, four highly demanding pieces in terms of virtuosity and “vocal acrobatics” , although different from each other. It was an instance of performative research on the physical possibilities of the “instrument voice”, aimed at pushing the boundaries of what “extended vocal techniques” are in the general environment of written music and of my performative comfort zone.
This time, however, the core of my Lecture-Recital is reasoning about a broader concept: what is at stake for a contemporary music singer as an interpreter today? Am I satisfied with that or am I envisioning an extension of the singer role into something else? We are very close to the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, and my vision is that of a singer who can not only handle the contemporary classical repertoire of written music – extended techniques included – but also enhance her creative possibilities within the negotiation with the composer and within the score, notated or not.
Thus, my starting point could have been none other than a written crazy piece, Helmut Lachenmann’s GOT LOST. This is one of the best contemporary examples of rethinking the Romantic concept of Lied and extending it beyond the year 2000 – assuming it makes sense to continue reasoning by quarters of centuries – and nevertheless still highly demanding.
Then, the menu includes a lecture about a genuine experience of co-creation inside the recording studio as an “extended” practice for a contemporary singer, the ongoing project Dull Catastrophes and Love Songs by Andrea Agostini. The initial written vocal part I received was very complex in terms of rhythm and intonation, yet at the same time impressively open in terms of musical choices. The negotiation of the musical work strategies between me and Andrea took place in the studio, continuously swapping our roles. Again, pushing the boundaries: “break on through to the other side” of the music stand; or of the mixer.
The last piece, the furthest ahead in this journey, is something less structured than a standard piece for voice and live electronics but more structured than improvisation. A toolbox, in the form of Max MSP patches, was given to me, and each patch was specifically designed for one dedicated extended technique. In a way, each patch “extends” the corresponding extended technique into something unattainable by the acoustic voice in a solo setting.
I hope you will enjoy the journey as I did. At the end, there will be time for a brief Q&A.
Photo credit: Silvia Musso