When Dr. Katrin Meidell and Dr. Elizabeth Crawford asked me to write a piece for their duo Violet, the idea of choosing Nathaniel Hawthorne's version of the Greek story of Pandora's Box as a source of inspiration was among the first I had. After all, the story has two characters – Pandora and Epimetheus – and the viola is indeed a box, capable of producing all sorts of sounds – some pretty spooky, by the way. Choosing an extramusical idea for my compositions is something I do quite often although the subject in question rarely establishes an underlying plot in any of them. This is also the case with Pandora's Box. Each movement has a title and its relation to the movement's musical character is rather obvious but there is no internal story, no plot to be associated with the structure, the motifs or the themes. Why a title then? Well, simply because I love telling stories, just like Hawthorne.
Il giardino della casa was commissioned by Peruvian flute player Daniel Cueto and Romanian guitarist Mircea Gogoncea, to be included in the program they were preparing for the second edition of the Encounters of Peruvian Musicians, organized by the Philharmonic Society of Lima. The piece is divided in three movements, each of them inspired by photographs taken by my father at our home garden. The first movement, “Fiori, sogno impressionista” is based on pictures of flowers; it is followed by “Fogliame, giungla in miniatura”, inspired by photographs of leaves and bushes. Finally, “Uccelli, i piccoli visitatori”, inspired by pictures of small and colorful birds closes the set. The piece has been conceived to be performed with a projection of the photographs in the background. It was premiered on July 12, 2016 by Daniel Cueto and Mircea Gogoncea at the Auditorium of Colegio Santa Úrsula, Lima, Peru.
Images of the Peruvian coast was commissioned in 2015 by Peruvian trumpet player Franco Carranza. The commission demanded, from the beginning, the use of airs of Peruvian music and accompaniment with piano, guitar and percussion. From the different genres and styles of Peruvian music available, I was asked to use the Peruvian Waltz, the “Triste y Tondero” and the “Marinera”. As all these are coastal airs, I decided to write a triptych titled "Images of the Peruvian Coast", in which each movement would have a different instrumentation and would be dedicated to a specific place in the coast of Peru that has had some significance in my life. Villapampa was an estate once owned by my paternal grandfather between the 50’s and 80’s As he was of Italian origin I decided to combine a theme inspired by the "Canti Alpini", so typical of northern Italy, with another one inspired by the Peruvian Waltz.
Pictorial Miniatures is a set of short pieces inspired by nine paintings by Peruvian artist Ernesto Bavastrello, who also happens to be my great-granduncle. While all the pieces were conceived with the idea of conveying some sense of the painting that served as their inspiration, none of them follows any given programme or libretto. The sixth movement is inspired by the painting named Whim V, a tempera and water-color on a floral motif – showing here.
Fantastic Episodes is a work Inspired by my childhood fantasies about space travel and my fascination with the 60’s TV show “Lost in Space”. The title refers to the structure of the work, which is designed to be perceived as a sequence of parts or "episodes", each of them a short musical fantasy, resembling in some way the structure of the TV show. The work is also a tribute to the music of Lost in Space, particularly the cues written by American composer John Williams, on which characteristics such as the instrumentation and musical style of Fantastic Episodes are based.
The Garden of the Shadows was composed in 2001, as a work for my second Composition Workshop, at the National Conservatory of Music. The inspiration came from two sources: the first one was a small section of my incidental piece "Bloodline", which I wrote in 2000. The second source was H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Time Machine. In fact, the title of the work, as well as the titles of the four movements, make reference to the plot of this science novel, in which a scientist from the XIX century travels to the future, only to find out the human race has evolved into two separate species: the beautiful, peaceful and almost childish Eloy and their counterpart, the Morlocks, grotesque creatures of the night who live underground and fear light.
Peruvian Fanfare No.1 is based on two traditional dances from the coast of Peru: the Marinera and the Festejo. The piece incorporates many of the characteristics of both, mixed with my own musical ideas. The Marinera is often danced by a single couple and requires a rather large space to be performed. The dance is an elegant and stylized reenactment of a courtship, and the dancers never touch each other. The Festejo is a dance of African origin, developed by the slaves brought by the Spanish from Congo, Angola and Mozambique. Contrary to the Marinera, it is usually performed by several couples. Choreographies may be very elaborated, with men and women dancing barefoot in a festive-erotic dance that includes strong movements of their hips and torsos.