For wind orchestra -version 48 musicians- (2006, ca. 23′)
– 1 picc., 2fl., 2 ob., 1 engl.horn, 2 bsn. [or 2 bar. sax. ad lib.]
– 1 picc. clar., 3×4 Bb clar. (I., II., III., possibly 3×2), 2 alt. clar. in Eb [or 2 bass clar. in Bb ad lib.], 2 bass clar. in Bb, 1 contrabass clar.
– 4 sax. [sopr., alt., ten., bar.]
– 4 hrn. in F, 2 cornets (Bb), 2 tromp., 3 tromb., 2 tenor tubas, 2 bass tubas
– 4 perc.: (1 mba. [4oct 1/2], 1 vibr., 1 glockspl. [2 oct 1/2], 1 steel drum [1 oct 1/2], 1 cymbal, 2 gongs, 1 drum, 1 tom, 3 bongos, 3 grancassa [alt, ten, bass], 1 lion roar, 3 wood bl., 4 makubios [ossia: temple bl.], 1 guero, 2 triangles, 1 rattle, 1 wood shell).
What defines a military music? How can a work of art exhort, celebrate (mournfully or victoriously), or depict acts of war? War can be viewed in many ways: as a strategic and political activity independent from its human consequences (Clausewitz, Sun Tzu); as an individual action of heroism and bravery; as expression of eternal destruction and regeneration (Jünger); as an act of resistance symbol of peace and freedom; or, in the short term, as a terrible human tragedy (Malaparte).
Tre volti del volubile Ares (Three Faces of Ares the Inconstant), for professional concert band, takes inspiration from these various readings. The first movement, Inno, refers to music that induces and emboldens people to battle. The second movement, Il sole è cieco ( 1-violent; 2-Funebre), named after the work of Curzio Malaparte, alludes to the funeral music.
In this diptych, as with many other large ensemble pieces of mine, the orchestra is used to create a pointillistic polyphony constructed of 48 musicians. The first movement, Inno, makes use of complex rhythmical techniques originating from Africa, known as ‘cross-rhythms’, which I apply to other musical parameters, and have realised for the first time with the help of a computer. In fact, I have dedicated the work to Gérard Assayag and his team at Ircam, whose software Open Music has been indispensablein the writing of this piece. In spite of some ensembles’ last minute hesitations to premiere this difficult work, and in acknowledgement of those who accepted this challenge, the second movement is dedicated to all concert bands, fantastic musical ensembles, in a spirit of universal harmony between people.