Sometimes the wind operates in magical, sometimes in terrifying ways, be it in the storms at sea and on land… or in the adaptive geometry of a musical composition performed for the first time in an elegant drawing-room or an aristocratic Kammermusiksaal. But the most mysterious place for the wind to work its wonders is in the human heart, for storms are located here as well.

The title of my composition makes reference to the sonnet of the same name written by Francesco Petrarca (his first on the death of his beloved Laura) and set almost three hundred years later as a five-voices madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi:

Zefiro torna e ’l bel tempo rimena
E i fiori e l’herbe, sua dolce famiglia,
E garir Progne e piagner Filomena,
E Primavera candida e vermiglia.

Zéphir revient, qui nous ramène le beau temps,
Les herbes et les fleurs, sa suave famille,
Et les chants de Progné, les pleurs de Philomèle,
Et le printemps vêtu de blanc et de vermeil.

Zephyr returns and brings back beautiful days
and flowers and grass, his sweet companions,
and warbling swallows, lamenting nightingales,
And Spring, milk-white and scarlet.

Monteverdi’s music becomes for me a kind of cantus firmus which, during the course of its journey through my composition, engages in a dialogue with other musics, with other ancient winds of a more ominous nature, finally to emerge just at that moment when the gentle and agreeable wind Zephyr returns… again.

Zefiro torna was commissioned by Alex Pauk, music and artistic director of the Esprit Orchestra of Toronto, thanks to a grant from the Canada Council. The work is dedicated to Mario Bertoncini, inventor, pianist, and composer of aeolian music.