Italia, classically trained percussionist-composer Sebastiano De Gennaro is thought of as one of the most important Italian musicians of the last twenty years, with a magical balance between technique, inventions and imagination. He played in more than seventy records, including those of the Esecutori di Metallo su Carta ensemble founded by himself together with Enrico Gabrielli, with idiosyncratic composers like Francesco Dillon, Terry Riley, Sandro Mussida, Azio Corghi, Dario Buccino and with local pop bands.
De Gennaro’s Musica Razionale (Rational Music) features six compositions that search for music in mathematical sequences or are the «sonification» of six mysterious mathematical phenomena, following composer Luciano Berio’s assertion that «Music is everything we listen to with the intention of listening to music. Everything can become music». The album is released by the British, experimental «anti-classical music» label 19’40”, a subscription-based recording series created by De Gennaro, Enrico Gabrielli and Francesco Fusaro, in collaboration with Tina Lamorgese and Marcello Corti.
These six compositions were written as graphic scores and are aimed not only to be presented as sound objects or abstract sonic events but also and above all to arouse interest in the nature of their form. For this reason, listening to these compositions does not end with their respective audio tracks, but with the answer to the question about the form inherent in the tracks themselves. These compositions are introduced by musicologist Francesco Fusaro and hint at complex mathematical dilemmas. The cerebral solutions of De Gennaro employ mathematics as a creative art and suggest subtle layers of rhythms, repetitions, elusive harmonies, alternation of tension and rest in the development of discourse, and the presence of irregularities and surprises. De Gennaro is the main soloist and his playing is augmented by organ and electronics samples and the violin playing of Yoko Morimyo on one piece. These challenging compositions offer almost impossible architectures, stubborn, unstable and highly resonant in spirit, and serve cryptic and sometimes even unsettling needs as in the futurist «Farey Sequence». «Ulam Numbers» uses the Fibonacci sequence, which inspired classical composers like Bach and Bartók and modern ones like Elliott Sharp and Vijay Iyer, expressing De Gennaro’s most bold attempt to match structure and logic. The last composition «Numeri Malvagi» balances remarkably logic and structure, and offers a delicate meditation on the close relations between mathematics and music.
Sebastiano De Gennaro (perc), Yoko Morimyo (vio), Massimo Borassi (organ samples), Simone Pirovano (electronic samples), Francesco Fusaro (v), Paolo Soffientini (v)