Two new works by Milanese composer Paolo Coggiola are released by Preludio Editions: Responsoria in Sabbato Sancto, for mixed a cappella choir, and Quatre Chansos de Ronsard, for ensemble.
In this short interview with Paolo Coggiola, here is how he describes his two new works.
Paolo, with the first work you set the Holy Saturday Responsories to music. Can you tell us from the point of view of compositional technique how you worked?
“In setting the texts of the Holy Saturday Responsories to music, I gave myself two guidelines: to preserve the rigorous liturgical form of the genre, with its literal repetitions of large portions of the text, which become even more pregnant in the circular form required by the concluding passages of each of the three 'nocturnes', with effects that are perhaps almost hypnotic for our contemporary sensibility, and, on the other hand, to try to interpret the texts, with their impressive verbal force, in a narrative manner, I would dare say almost cinematographic, also welcoming sonorous echoes of a Middle Eastern music that could be simply imaginary. In doing so, I have done nothing more than place myself in a dimension of continuity with the ancient techniques of 'madrigalism' that permeated the polyphonic music of the past.”
Is there something that inspired you in particular?
“Certainly, in addition to this, there is also an expressive link that runs through all the passages of the cycle: from this point of view, I have allowed myself to be guided by a particular suggestion - I do not want to say "interpretation", which would be completely out of place - of the "script" of the last part of the extraordinary Holy Week "film": that whereby the frequent violence and desolation of the images and verbal expressions betray a misunderstanding of the events on the part of Jesus' friends, who in the aftermath of the crucifixion seem to indulge in the very human feelings of anger and mourning over his death, without yet understanding the message of redemption. In this perspective, I also like to think of an appeal to contemporary man, to his often remaining tied to the pure immanence, materiality of existence, albeit in a way that is sometimes emotionally, dramatically intense, but struggling hard to place himself in a dimension of pure transcendence.”
Can you tell us something about the Quatre Chansons de Ronsard instead?
“In this vocal cycle there are three pieces for solo voices and one, the concluding one, in which they are united. In setting to music some texts by the French Renaissance poet Ronsard, who starts from a Petrarchist position to arrive at an almost sensual (and sensual!) idea of verse, I tried to create real songs suspended between past and present, as I had already attempted to do in my Due sonetti di Dante. But here the game is more uncovered, with rhythms that closely recall today's popular music, overlaid, albeit in filigree, with ancient compositional patterns such as the 'romanesca', the 'follia', the 'passamezzo'. Time and the time of music, two recurring obsessions of mine, in the conviction that contemporary classical music can still speak to everyone on the sole condition of dialogue with the memory and imagination of today's man, as alien as possible from any form of isolation and self-referentiality. To speak a frank, comprehensible, everyday language on the one hand, while pursuing expressive intensity, always, at all costs, on pain of failure to compose. In this sense, Ronsard's poignant elegance, placed like a veil over a palpitating desire, still seems to me very topical and suggestive.”
Responsoria in Sabbato Sancto
Responsoria in Sabbato Sancto is a work by the Milanese composer Paolo Coggiola consisting of 3 nocturnes in 10 responsories for mixed a cappella choir.
Quatre Chansons de Ronsard
Quatre Chansons de Ronsard is a work by composer Paolo Coggiola for soprano, contralto, bass and piano inspired by Pierre de Ronsard's opera 'Nouvelle Continuation des Amours', second collection, Paris 1557.
Two new works by Paolo Coggiola
Paolo Coggiola's works for mixed-voice choir include the Missa Brevis: