Ermano Maggini (1931-1991) - Comment to edition 10

CANTO XI for ioloncello solo (1985) 2'40
TORSO III 'CINQUE VISIONI' for violoncello solo (1986/87) 5'30
TORSO IX 'GALAXIA' for violoncello solo (1990) 5'

Works for violoncello solo


Beginning with the TRE CANTI SACRI for violoncello solo, composed between 1972 and 1976, first performed as an integrated whole in 1978 and already published by Verlag Müller&Schade, we are in the midst of the creativity process which ruled the later works for violoncello solo presented here. They were performed for the first time in the composer's lifetime and posthumously recorded on CD by the cellist Annick Gautier-Escher from Zurich: CANTO XI (1985), TORSO III 'Cinque Visioni' (1986/87) and the last composition for violoncello solo TORSO IX (1990).

Ermano Maggini composed CANTO XI for violoncello (1985) in memory of his father, who had died in Intragna, and he mentioned the hour of death in the dedication: '24.5.1984, 14h30 per Luigi'. The work premiered in the Kornhaus Galerie Rorschach on 18th June 1987 on the occasion of one of Evi Kliemand's exhibitions and readings.

Each of these works for violoncello has its own evolutionary history but they all share the same forum for the first performance: not concerts but exhibitions and readings by the painter and lyricist Evi Kliemand. On those occasions a circle of friends of Ermano Maggini were present, among them artists and writers from Zurich such as Otto Müller, Max Truninger, Losinger, Hermann, Hellstern, Bernasconi; Hans Schumacher, Paul Grass, Bert Diehl, and those who had already died were also present somehow.

There is an early fragmentary handwritten note by the composer which says: „the title 'Torso' applied to music means the compositional work as a form of tonal expression (Klanggestalt) which the silence… that…“. Here ends the note.

TORSO III 'Cinque Visioni' (Five Visions) for violoncello solo (1986/87), first performed on 14th February 1987, and TORSO IX 'Galaxia'(1990) were both dedicated to his artist friend Evi Kliemand. 'Galaxia' should be the last piece of music dedicated to her. This dialogue between painting and music lasted two decades. The premiere of 'Galaxia' with the cellist Annick Gautier (1952 - 2003) took place in the Galerie Commercio in Zurich on 27th January 1991. As the cellist of the Trio Zemlinsky she devoted herself congenially to Ermano Maggini's works until her premature death. In March 1991 followed the first performance of TORSO VIII, a trio for clarinet, violoncello and piano, in the Kleiner Tonhallesaal Zurich, still in the presence of the composer. Ermano Maggini had already dedicated CANTO XVI for violoncello solo and chamber orchestra to Annick Gautier but the premiere could only be effected posthumously (cf.discography CD Edition Jecklin). In the composer's chamber music the violoncello is in its own with regard to the tonal body (Klanggebilde) on which Ermano Maggini placed great importance. These compositions indicate the intensity with which the composer knew to use the expressive-sensuous tone of the violoncello. In doing so he alternatively relied on the principle of atonality without renouncing the organically condensed sonority (Klangfülle) which complies with the innate exigency.

The edition of TORSO I for two violoncellos (1973/74) will be published separately.

Text and editing : Evi Kliemand 2016
Fondazione Ermano Maggini Intragna www.
Translation: Thomas Batliner

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