Daniele Roccato: double bass; Giacomo Piermatti: double bass
Ludus Gravis bass ensemble: Daniele Roccato, Francesco Platoni, Giacomo Piermatti, Alessandro Schillaci, Andrea Passini, Simone Masina, Stefano Battaglia, Paolo Di Gironimo
Tonino Battista: conductor
The highly creative bass player Stefano Scodanibbio (1956-2012) also composed extraordinary music for double bass. Alisei (Trade Winds) features his compositions for solo bass, for two basses, and for bass ensemble. Among them is a world premiere recording of Ottetto, an often breath-taking thirty-minute compendium of all the extended techniques he invented or developed throughout his life. “It is his great spiritual legacy”, says Daniele Roccato, who co-founded the Ludus Gravis bass ensemble with Scodanibbio. As solo performer, Roccato rises to the challenges of Due pezzi brillanti, a piece which pushes virtuosity to its limits, and “makes the bass sing in its own true voice” on the title composition. Da una certa nebbia, for two basses, also a premiere recording, pays implicit tribute to the work of Morton Feldman.
Daniele Roccato first heard Stefano Scodanibbio in Paris in 2008: “I listened, thrilled as he unleashed that immense energy of sound, shaping it all the while.” The following year, Roccato invited Scodanibbio to a bass festival in Perugia and it was there that the Ludus Gravis ensemble was founded. The two bassist/composers came to share a deep friendship, although active collaboration as performers was cut short by Scodanibbio falling ill with motor neuron disease which, by 2010, made it impossible for him to continue playing the bass. Roccato travelled to Mexico in November 2010 to help him work on the score of the Ottetto. “I left Cuernavaca with a kind of storyboard of the score,” Roccato writes in the liner notes, “containing all the indications relating to expression, articulation and dynamics.” Back in Italy he began working with Ludus Gravis to bring the multiple techniques on which the piece was based to life. In the meantime, the first pages of the final score arrived from Mexico. “Later Stefano joined us to help us prepare for the premiere.” The first part of the piece was premiered at the Angelica Festival in Bologna in May 2011. The first complete performance of the Ottetto took place at the Venice Biennale in October 2012, nine months after Scodanibbio’s death.
The present recording was made in February and March 2014 at Pitch Audio Research in Perugia and Studio Contrafase in Rome.
The Ludus Gravis ensemble has gone onto perform music specially written or arranged for its eight bassists by composers including Gavin Bryars, Sofia Gubaidulina, Hans Werner Henze and Terry Riley.
Double bassist and composer Daniele Roccato has performed at many of the world’s most renowned festivals and concert halls, often presenting his own compositions. With writer, playwright and actor Vitaliano Trevisan he realised the theatrical works Solo et Pensoso, Time Works, Note sui Sillabari, Madre con Cuscino, Campo Marzo 9/10, Burroughs in Cage, Good Friday Night, Il Ponte, where he has been involved both as a composer and a performer. Roccato has also collaborated extensively with musicians from the worlds of contemporary music performance and free improvisation, working with – among many others – Vinko Globokar, Garth Knox, Barre Phillips, Barry Guy, Dominique Pifarély, Michele Rabbia, Bruno Chevillon, Joelle Leandre and Terry Riley. For more information, visit www.danieleroccato.com
Alisei is the second ECM New Series recording to address the music of Stefano Scodanabbio. The album Reinventions, issued in 2013, featured Scodanibbio’s highly imaginative recasting for string quartet of three Contrapunctus from Bach’s Art of the Fugue, together with Mexican songs and Spanish guitar music, all brought into a compelling unity. “Besides being the most inventive of double bassists, the late Stefano Scodanibbio was a sound-sculptor of unmatched imagination, as demonstrated in this radical programme of string quartet arrangements” - The Independent