ERMANO MAGGINI (1931-1991) - Comment to edition 4

TRE CANTI SACRI for Cello solo, 1978 Zurich (appr. 12')

Tre Canti Sacri for Cello solo

There are instruments to which Ermano Maggini paid a special attention, the violoncello is one of them. One may speak of a cello-cycle that has been initiated by these first three cello works Canto I-III. The dialogue with the cellist, Annick Gautier (1951-2003) began in the early seventies. In 1972, 1974 and 1976 Ermano Maggini wrote the first three canti for cello solo. In 1978 he titled them the Tre Canti Sacri. The first three Canti for cello were performed initially one by one and for the first time together in 1980 as Tre Canti Sacri.
These three Canti mark the beginning of his project to create 21 compositions according to the chapters of Saint John's gospel, a project which the composer completed with the Canto XXI (Ultimo Canto) for stringquartet, only one year before his death in 1990. The same year Ermano Maggini wrote Torso VIII, a trio for clarinet, violoncello and piano.
All of the works for cello solo were first performed by Annick Gautier in the composer's lifetime. These works also have been recorded in 1993 on CD (Jecklin Edition). The original performances of all the works for cello solo were mostly staged in exhibition settings and lectures of the artist and writer Evi Kliemand.
A work for two cellos had already been composed in 1973/74 and first performed by the couple Annick Gautier and Christof Escher. Canto XI for cello solo – with the dedication '27.5.1984 14h30 per Luigi' (in memory of his father) followed in 1985 and in 1986/87 Torso III 'Cinque Visioni per violoncello'. In the same year Ermano Maggini wrote Canto XVI, an extensive composition for cello solo and string orchestra, which he dedicated to Annick Gautier. It was posthumously performed and recorded in 2000 (see: CD Jecklin JS 317-2). The cello cycle closes in 1990 with Torso IX for cello solo, also dedicated to Evi Kliemand like Torso III.
Ermano Maggini profoundly appreciated the relationship with visual artists and poets because he shared with them expression and texture of a visionary spirit. A fragile transcendency touched and penetrated the dimension of all of his compositions – which also characterises the Tre Canti Sacri.

(see CD Ermano Maggini (1931-1991) Kammermusik Jecklin Edition Szene Schweiz JS 295-2, Zürich 1993, in collaboration of the Fondazione Ermano Maggini Intragna with Radio Svizzera Italiana, Rete 2)

Text: Evi Kliemand 2009
Fondazione Ermano Maggini Intragna

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