And The Things That Remain is the title of a trio for violin, cello and piano that I wrote a short time ago. It speaks of that thought, that question that we inevitably ask ourselves at a certain stage in our lives: at the very end, what is left of everything, what remains afterwards? What remains of us and what have we got left?
I am still rather reluctant to let people hear this trio, as it was created in the most absolute silence. And, in that silence, as it usually happens, I asked questions to those who were around me and to anyone else I could possibly pose them to. I have also started to collect other people’s business. I have collected and am still collecting their words and their accounts, absolutely anything – even objects – that could be considered a reply from the people I spoke to: photographs, poems, letters, sounds, paintings. Perhaps the most moving things are the old photos which depict parents and I recall a phrase: "I originate from that smile and that same smile is all that remains of them.”
Basically, also this brief anthology represents some of the things that remain and, also in this case, I asked and shared choices with other people. The things that remain, written by myself and chosen by those I love, by those who follow me; I wish to be clear, there’s also something that I chose personally, together with Luciano who has supervised this anthology: I haven’t left everyone else to do all the hard work ...
I hope it will be like this: a short trip to Ezio’s era, to that 10-year period packed with life experiences and recordings. In any form: as an orchestra, a quartet, as a conductor-organist and obviously as a pianist.
One of the magical aspects of music is that it allows you to travel in time, to make time stand still, to make it either expand or make it shorter. It’s just like the voyage undertaken by an astronaut inside a black hole. I will be happy if you like these choices; obviously, I would have included more tracks but, Sony Classics, my new recording company, has told me that the ones we have chosen have already filled up two CDs... As this is the first project that we have worked on together, I decided to include some new tracks. One of them is Unconditioned, Following A Bird which I think, by now, has become the most well-known piece that I have ever written, yet this is a version which is both old and new at the same time (always due to that free, magical power): the version written for cello and piano which derived from the one originally written for violin. One day I may also have to record that version, who knows? So you will have the chance to choose which one represents you the most.
The other piece refers to an adverse weather condition that, up until now, I have never had the courage to narrate in detail, perhaps because it the one which frightens us the most: “grandine” in Italian, which in English is hailstones and hailstorm (it’s true, everything sounds cooler in English ...). This is the most devastating weather condition that exists and also the most absurd; it is truly the sky which falls onto the earth, as the Celts once told, and no-one likes that phenomenon that comes from the largest, awe-inspiring cumulonimbus clouds that they also called “the King of Clouds.” If you are afraid of hailstones, its violent noise and its majesty are often associated with intense, excruciating pain. I finished composing this piece only a few hours before I started recording. With me, on the cello is my faithful companion, my “brate” as we call each other: Relja Lukic. His sound is truly one of the voices that I am unable to describe, you’ll hear it on this CD. I just couldn’t help inviting him to accompany me on this first adventure, yet another opening of rooms in the new recording company to which I belong.
Where did we record it? Obviously in my beloved Teatro Sociale belonging to my beloved Gualtieri and this time, we decided to go over the top by shooting a video of the recording sessions, so you could actually visit it and be there with us too! Do you think we overdid it? Of course we didn’t, after all it is great to prepare an abundance of food for those you love, and in any case, that is how it works for me, I try to do everything right up until my last breath, to dare, to try to do better and to be better.
By sheer coincidence, I discovered that this phrase is consonant with some of the poems written by our Emily (Dickinson). Here is one of them:
Some things that fly there be–
Birds, Hours the Bumblebee–
Of these no Elegy.
Some things that stay there be–
Nor this behooveth me.
There are, that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the Riddle lies!
While I am writing, I continue to think, over and over again, about the things that remain and I realise that the recordings, the CDs are actually one of those things that remain.
It is often what remains of the sound, the idea, the touch and above all, of a precise moment in a musician’s life.
Just like those photographs ...
P.S. One day I hope to be able to let you hear that trio opus 100... And The Things That Remain. Bon Voyage.