Tag Archives: Luigi Nono






http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4258080/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_2  James Mannan as Van Gogh in La lontananza nostalgica utopia futura. Alfred Eaker as Paul Gauguin in La lontananza nostalgica utopia futura.James Mannan as V. Van Gogh in La lontananza nostalgica utopia futura.

LA LONTANANZA SHOOT 8Alfred Eaker as Gauguin (ravaged by syphilis) in La lontananza nostalgica utopia futura.LA LONTANANZA SHOOTLA LONTANANZA SHOOT 2Alfred Eaker as Gauguin2 (ravaged by syphilis) in La lontananza nostalgica utopia futura.James Mannan as Vincent Van Gogh,  in La lontananza nostalgica utopica futuraJames Mannan as Vincent Van Gogh in La lontananza nostalgica utopia futura.


Boulez Chereau Rheingold

In 1976, at Pierre Boulez’s suggestion, Wolfgang Wagner brought in the 31 year old progressive French stage and film director Patrice Chereau to produce a new “Der Ring Des Nibelungen” cycle for the centenary of the Bayreuth Festival, and aptly teamed him with Boulez as conductor. The result scandalized and shook the entire opera world. Conservative musicologists, such as arch conservative NY times critic Harold C. Schonberg, loudly expressed moral outrage and pointed to this production as an “opening of the flood gates” (some hysterically labeled this a Marxist “Ring”). Four years later, television director Brian Large filmed the Chereau/Boulez Ring and televised it over a period of a week. It was a ratings and critical smash.
Over 30 years later, this production’s power and legend remains undiminished. It was the first complete filmed “Ring” and is now looked upon by most as pioneering and the greatest of its kind.


The stand out cast, which includes Donald McIntyre, unforgettable as Wotan and Heinz Zednick as Loge personified,has hardly been bettered. Richard Peduzzi’s stage design and Large’s camera work are exemplary, but this remains Chereau and Boulez’s Ring.

Donald McIntyre's Wotan. Boulez. Chéreau Das Rheingold.

Chereau, who was unfamiliar with Wagner and the work, endows this Ring with a fresh perspective. His is a penetrating, industrial age, Freudian ring, idiosyncratically interpreted in political, social and psychological terms.


The avant-garde advocate Boulez, who had previously conducted a radical, acclaimed “Parsifal”, brings an equally fresh perspective to this much interpreted work. The Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, accustomed to playing Wagner with opaque rolling thunder,came dangerously close to striking in protest or Boulez’s complex, brisk, diaphanous, minimalist approach. Continue reading AVANT OPERA ON FILM

Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura

While Gidon Kremer’s premier version (below) is more compact, extrovert and focused, the Arditti/Richard version is more open spaced and clear as a bell. This version from Melise Mellinger (violin) and Salvatore Sciarrino (sound projection) is more exploratory.

Sciarrino refers to “La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura” as Nono’s diary, containing glimpses of the work’s creation; Sounds of the composer and Kremer talking, juxtaposed against moving furniture, electro-acoustic trains, etc. Sciarrino describes the tape as the music’s soul with the music itself being “discovered” alongside the pre-recorded sounds. Likewise, the performance seems to find itself along the way, taking the listener along, never knowing what to fully expect, even if this is not the first version encountered.

Sciarrino probes the life of those tapes as deeply as Kremer, and predictably takes it to its fullest, hour length (Kremer’s version is twenty minutes shorter).

Mellinger/Sciarrino discover lyricism underneath a white chaos and this performance certainly adds to and is a welcome addition to the composer’s recorded legacy.

Nono struggled greatly with ” La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura “, literally delivering it on the eleventh hour to Gidon Kremer.

The composer expressed doubt about the pre-recorded material and his ability to communicate an almost inexpressible spirituality. Later, he expanded it’s title and lengthened the work by about twenty minutes.
Kremer uses the earlier, shorter version and there’s little doubt that is a more extrovert performance.

Arditti uses the revised,longer version and,frankly, there’s both pluses and minuses.

While Kremer’s star soloist version revels in brazen colors, the Arditti begins with a piercing silver which shrieks, then dies, only to re-emerge as a whispering white.

There’s a truer sense of the work’s madrigal quality here and a more pronounced realization of a wanderer’s pathless travel.

While Arditti delivers a typically gutsy,thorny, bravo performance (with partnered sound projectionist Andre Richard delivering an equally zealous interpretation) there is,on first listen and in comparison to Kremer, reduced contrast and sagging tension,thus minimizing it’s accessibility.

On repeated listens, it becomes apparent the Arditti/Richard team is meticulous in realizing Nono’s wishes.

Struggling with this work is part of it’s inevitable reward and this performance demands a focused concentration.

The Kremer version remains the ideal introductory work, while the Arditti/Richard performance is the next plateau and is an absolutely essential alternative.

There’s something uniquely special about Gidon Kremer’s ” La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura” and even though there has, to date, been five different recordings of this late Nono composition,I suspect Kremer’s will remain the supreme “first” choice, but certainly not the only choice; The Arditti/Richard, Mellinger/Sciarrino and Merkel/Heiniger versions all have further and unique things to convey here.

For an introverted work that’s about a communicative struggle, Kremer’s interpretation seems decidedly self-assured and intensely focused.

While Kremer relishes the extrovert soloist’s spotlight, imbuing it with the richest of colors, his genuine love of the composer and composition is evident throughout and fully enhances the experience(and reading his essay on the composition is almost as illuminating as the performance itself).

Aptly, one does not come to terms easily with “Nostalgia for a Far Away, Future Utopia”, which makes the Kremer version all the more worthwhile and essential.

That said, one big misfire here is in the pairing with Kremer’s version of Nono’s valedictory work,” Hay que caminar”.

While Kremer’s version is a formidable one, it simply cannot compare to the sheer poetry of Arditti’s incomparable performance and immediately following “Utopia” with another work only seems to diminish an experience that should unquestionably end with silence.


Conductor Peter Hirsch, who worked with the composer and Claudio Abbado on the premiere,has thoroughly done his homework in this clear as a bell performance.

Not only is the performance itself lucid and attune to the all those essential,subliminal,nuanced details, but the recorded sound is crystalline,ideal.

Also,the packaging is handsomely mounted with complete listening score, commentaries,history etc,making this the quintessential recording and preferable to the out of print EMI version .

This is by no means a casual listen or something one comes to terms with in a single hearing, but like “La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura”,with repeated exposure,the complexities,immense struggles and elongated silences give way to an emotionally rewarding, intellectually stimulating, uncompromisingly poetic,provocative, yet exquisite soundworld of diaphanous pink and white, yellow and blue timbres.