Text & Music - Parola & Musica

Diction - ‘Fraseggio’ (Phrasing)

 

Ma bisogna aver dell’anima e capir la parola ed esprimerla.

Giuseppe Verdi

It’s no good just singing the music.
You have to sing the words, and sing them from your heart.

Giuseppe di Stefano

 

Over time my interest in music has been focusing more and more on the role of the word:
“In principio erat Verbum.”

The word as concept and thought —the poetical text as source of inspiration for the Lied composer— gains prominence because it is also sound, being the spoken word what leads me to the poetic and musical phrase.

Those who know me have heard me repeatedly emphasizing my concern for overshadowing the voice and making it fade behind the poetry, so that the word may relive on the wings of music and at a unique moment the spirit of the composer.

Singing has given me the possibility to combine these two worlds, literature and music, which have been always basic pillars of my life. That’s why I have focused much of my artistic activity in the study of the Lied as of the whole literature which forms the intrinsic part of its essence. The sort of Lied that shows me the way in my wanderings, as Hölderlin saw it after his painful separation from Diotima, singing as a refuge for those who do not belong to any part, for those seeking protection and care in a often hostile world.

And along with Hölderlin I remember the wise words of Hans-Georg Gadamer (our most famous neighbor in Heidelberg), when he says that the focus of Hölderlin's poetic aesthetic is to find the secret of the word, what exactly is at stake, and seeking this secret brings the poet real suffering in the search of the adequate expression.

That secret, locked in the word set to music, is for me the reason for searching, the way, only the way, because that search is endless, the end is precisely that, the search itself. That's why, when I have a chance to talk to young singers, I always insist on the importance of good articulation of the text, and on the error of giving prominence to the voice, than the sound is transformed and shaped by the word.

In the poem transformed in music I have found my workplace, my roots, my world, “mein Dasein… Gesang”, the Lied, Carmen, poema, canción, as Rilke understood it and “sung” (Sonette an Orpheus), and as also did it at first Rückert and then Mahler, my favorite composer: "Ich leb’ allein, in meinem Himmel, in meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied ".

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