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La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura

(Luigi Nono)

This madrigal style work was composed by the Italian composer Luigi Nono during the years 1988 and 1989 after meeting the violinist Gidon Kremer in 1987.  This complex piece was written for solo violin, 8 tapes and 8-10 music stands, with the title reflecting the past, what is wished for and the future.  It is dedicated to the composer Salvatore Sciarrino.

The violin solo is written in six parts which are placed in the music stands that are situated at various places on the stage.  The tapes, which lasted an hour instead of the stated 45 minutes, were prepared by Gidon Kremer and Sofia Gubaiduline and the production and direction with electronic realisation of the tapes by Luigi Nono and Hans Peter Haller was done at the Heinrich Strobel Foundation’s experimental studio.

The two collaborated where Gidon Kremer would perform improvisations into a microphone and these would be recorded and processed by Luigi Nono.  They had set a date for the premiere in Berlin in 1988 and, getting the sheet music just a couple of days beforehand, Kremer was left to literally “decode” a piece of music with notes and markings which were very hard to decipher.

Nono had wanted Kremer to perform the piece alone at one point, but the premiere eventually went ahead with the accompaniment of the tapes, which were operated by the sound engineer who decided which of the channels were used dependent on the music of the violinist.

Even though the premiere in Berlin went ahead and a further performance was given in Milan, the composer decided he wanted to revise the piece and after a major re-working, re-writing and re-titling the work was finished in early 1989.

The work has been released on several recordings with the violin performed by Gidon Kremer, Irvine Arditti, Clemens Merkel and Melise Mellinger.