Probably the most promising Italian composer of the new generation, Fausto Romitelli (1963-2004) died in Milan after a serious illness. Trained in Milan and Sienna, he was interested at a very early stage in the major pioneers of contemporary music (Ligeti, Scelsi, Donatoni), but was especially inspired by French spectral music and new technologies in sound; his period as a research composer at IRCAM from 1993 to 1995 definitely opened up horizons for him that had an unparalleled effet on the development of his musical language.
An astonishing composer, of insolent modernity, the Italian’s world included psychedelic rock and electric sonorities. An Index of Metals, his last work, was written during the final weeks of his life and is a veritable journey to the heart of sound, to the centre of sound matter. Romitelli explores sound in all its breadth, in all its depth, to find out to what extent he is close to something throbbing and alive, to admire its energy and even its violence. This is total immersion; all the component elements of Romitelli’s music seem to want to push the limits of sound and try out a novel sublimity. Even Kenka Lèkovich’s text becomes matter, linguistic in this case, reinforcing the sound matter, at once sensual and metallic.
Colour, movement, geometric lines come together in the video that is entirely based on shots of real metals, subjected to spectacular light effects; one sees buildings, mercury, metals in fusion, etc. This video-opera was conceived from the start as an ensemble in which music and image are indissociable; this comes from Romitelli’s complicity with the video artiste Paolo Pachini, who effected a veritable imaging of the sound matter. Originally conceived for three big screens overwhelming the stage and the musicians, a new single-screen version was made for this DVD release; both versions are available on it and they are captivating. The multitrack sound version of the DVD is also a stupefying experience.
A simultaneous CD / DVD video release is thus indispensible in order to appreciate fully the genius of this visionary work.
“The performance was recorded live then remixed, with the dynamism but also subtlety of Romitelli's sonic imagination brought well within the confines of home listening, while the DVD presentation captures the immediacy of Pachini's imagery. Visceral contributions from Donatienne Michel-Dansac and Ensemble lotus and informative notes by Alessandro Arbo. Those who doubt the expressive intensity and sensual allure of such undertakings will need to think again.”