piano

Premiere: February 25, 2021, Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques 2021: Poesiole — Hommage à Silvio Palmieri, Montréal (Québec)

In the weeks leading up to his death, Silvio Palmieri expressed the desire to write a short work that might evoke a hanging mobile, a kind of partially notated improvisation, which would constitute a posteriori the fourth in his cycle of eleven preludes, a cycle composed over his lifetime that he himself described as a “personal diary.” Why had he never written this No. 4 within his series of eleven? There was surely a bit of whimsy in his choice, but it is a mystery we will leave for another day. The musical intention was, in his words, to prepare a “moment,” thereby “creating from C# and its harmonics a floating spectral fabric.” This C#, which in fact corresponds to the pitch of the tinnitus he suffered from, becomes the fundamental of the work.

Silvio had also indicated that he wished to integrate a short poem into the score, to offer the performer an inspiration, a “spirit.” In October 2018, during the period of profound turmoil surrounding his untimely death, the Ultimate combat proclaimed in the title, I wrote a poem for him, which he chose to include in the score, alongside the notated harmonics and handful of indications regarding the temporal evolution of these few minutes with no time signature. As Silvio was not able to write the score, Serge Arcuri and I stayed as faithful as we could to his instructions to produce this version.

To Silvio Palmieri
Untangle the silence / The one
who dwells inside the snow / The
one who repeats the enigma of
light / Bring lightning and thunder
together until they are united / In
a single whiteness

Marc Hyland [i-21]

Performance