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FONDAZIONE NAZIONALE DELLA DANZA / ATERBALLETTO

PRESSION

CHOREOGRAPHYMAURO BIGONZETTI
MUSICHELMUT LACHENMANN, FRANZ SCHUBERT
COSTUMESKRISTOPHER MILLAR, LOIS SWANDALE
LIGHT DESIGNCARLO CERRI
PREMIEREDEC 3, 1994 TEATRO CAVALLERIZZA, REGGIO EMILIA (I)
LENGTH OF PERFORMANCE18 MIN
ON STAGE4 DANCERS

Commissioned in 1994 by Reggio Emilia Contemporary Music Festival “Di Nuovo Musica”, Pression is clearly a product of the festival’s characteristic penchant for experimentation with various genres, blending classic with modern. For four dancers, two men and two women, the choreography is made up of two pieces performed to the accompaniment of absolutely antithetical melodies, Helmut Lachenmann’s cello solo Pression (from which the choreography takes its name) and variations from Death and the Maiden by Schubert.

“Two completely different pieces of music, the first (Pression) from the Sixties, written by a contemporary composer, a student of Nono and Stockhausen (...) who, following his earlier involvement with pointillism and structuralism, has moved on to a determined analysis of the substantive quality of sound itself; the second (Death and the Maiden) is that famous, much loved piece brimming with emotional significance and feeling that has inspired so many choreographic interpretations (...). As for Lachenmann, this is the first time his work has been subjected to a mise en danse. The score was selected by common agreement between the two artists, involving a simulating shoulder to shoulder work experience. The result is a masculine dialogue, very sparse, clean and linear, without the superstructure of scenery and costumes, cut down to the bare bone, to the raw nakedness of the bare stage. A dramatic contrast is set up by the music of Schubert, from which Bigonzetti has selected ten minutes of unusual variations, for the same two men, joined by two women, in an interpretation that has been radically purged of any narrative or sentimental temptations in the choreographic rendering.”
(excerpt from the introduction by Elisa Vaccarino, “Di Nuovo Musica” 1994 catalogue)

Mauro Bigonzetti explains: “more than a ballet, it’s an unadorned, non-didactic musical action without the benefit of stage sets, in which movement and gesture exist in symbiosis with the music. The final goal is to create a single, seamless tissue incorporating both movement and music, even when the shift is made from the radical approach of Lachenmann to the deep emotional world of Schubert.”

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