for two sopranos and ensemble

premiere 19.04.21

Divertimento Ensemble, cond. Viktoriia Vitrenko

in Milano, Italy

Discanto consists of a single musical object which is very slowly transformed through eleven different stages. Though the clearest and most distinct of these transformations is in pitch, the listener will be able to appreciate how the perception of these pitches is affected by all other aspects of this musical object, such as timbre, loudness, roughness, position in space, and many others. Starting from absolute silence, the sound appears as if out of nowhere and grows and opens until it is completely transfigured.

In this piece, the voices are written in a very instrumental manner, which is the reason why there is no text to be sung. Instead, the singers produce different phonemes, which were chosen for their acoustic characteristics, and transition very progressively from one phoneme to the next, slowly revealing the myriad of interstices that exist in the spoken voice. Likewise, the instruments adopt a rather vocal nature, functioning as extensions of the human voice, and fusing the sounds together to the point where it is impossible to distinguish between vocal and instrumental.

The title Discanto refers to the medieval polyphonic technique, opposed to the organum, in which the two voices always move in contrary motion with respect to one another.