Fausto Romitelli, composer, died of cancer in 2004. He was only 41 years old. An Index of Metals (2003), his final composition, is both a celebration of his visionary talent and testament to music’s startling loss. Performed for the first time in the city by the London Sinfonietta, it is a must-see for all adherents of the more challenging side of contemporary classical music.
On the one hand, Romitelli was a scion of the post-war avant-garde. Inspired by the likes of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gérard Grisey and György Ligeti, he spent the 1990s working with the famed Ensemble l’Itinéraire contemporary music ensemble. On the other, he was also an acolyte of psychedelic rock music, with pieces such as Acid Dreams & Spanish Queens (1994) and the Professor Bad Trip cycle (1998-2000).
An Index of Metals is the culmination of this experimentation, mixing spectralist techniques with psychedelia’s entrancing power to create a twisted, alien world of sound. The artificial techniques of rock, such as amplifying and distortion, are used on the sinfonietta’s classical instruments. Over them, a soprano mutters, chortles and wails. It is the music of the end times, drawn inexorably towards annihilation.
The music is only half the story, though – in his pursuit of a ‘completely new concept’ that unifies ‘sound and light’, Romitelli commissioned artists Paolo Pachini and Leonardo Romoli to create an accompanying film, redolent of 60s light shows. In Romitelli’s words, it is a ‘furnace of sensations’, ‘a magma of flowing sounds, shapes and colours’ and ‘an experience of total perception’.
|What||Romitelli: An Index of Metals, Queen Elizabeth Hall|
|Where||Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
On 08 Oct 14, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Southbank Centre|