Soprano Susanna Rigacci- ComtempoArteEnsemble, dir. Mauro CeccantiThe hallmark of Aspern is thus the ironic stylisation and hyperbolic pretence expounded at the deepest level of the musical structure; a structure which, as in Mozart, serves both as a mask and as an illumination, and that stands in this game of light and shadow as a metaphor for the sense of involvement that Aspern expects and demands of actors and audience: insisting strongly on the ultimate sense of this playful, funereal Singspiel, which the composer quite significantly defines as "a diagram or exemplification, and certainly: not a merely autobiographical one, of the very act of composing". Its sense is wholly implicit, enveloped in the folds of the musical structure, for Sciarrino shuns any openly or explicitly "expressive" gesture. This desiccated Mozart stakes all on the essentiality and the boneless exactness of sound.
The timbric magic that in virtuoso manner Sciarrino scores for a clearly reduced instrumental ensemble, poses it in the form of ectoplasm, of dried-out, perverted ghosts. Nods in the direction of some of the false myths of musical and other literature, exoticism, the night, mystery, all reinforce the corrosive spirit of sound that can produce airy lightness but also a nearly perverse aggressivity, in the rasping and grunting of the cellos or the rending lament of the metal sheet.
Between the music and the action, which seem to proceed along separate, though interacting lines, there finally emerges the closest, most precise of links. Even when they are removed from their theatrical setting these pages demand our attention and lodge firmly in our memory, as symbols of a situation of disquiet and crisis, of ambiguity and mystification which each one of us is condemned to experience.
Translation by Timothy Alan Shaw