Silvio talks about his creative process and the role of the classical music today
Such a huge topic!
Music has been a harsh emotional path that made me suffer for decades and at the same time alleviated that same pain. It was like an acid air: you need it to live but every breath was like a bite.
Then, in 2016, I realized that it was a mean to share universes that live and are in my mind and my heart, and the best shortcut I know to connect with my deep nature.
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
If by fantasy we also include and mean transcendental aspects, yes! It is all about the fantasy of a lifetime, for sure.
If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?
This question is a real challenge for me to answer in a simple manner…
As many other artists, music does not allow me to live. I need to work. In that regard, I cannot consider myself as a professional musician.
Moreover, because I do not want to wonder anymore to know what I would be if..., I decided to do I want and become what I am. And neither time nor difficulty does matter because I am motivated. It's a philosophy that forces one to be protagonist of her/his own life instead of being a simple spectator. And I also think that without it, life does not worth it to be lived.
And that's precisely because of that philosophy that I started to compose music and was somehow convinced to share it publicly...
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?
No, I am neither worried about the artists' future nor myself as an artist whereas all difficulties. The reason is simple: artists are messengers and sometimes also message originators. So, they are aware of what they need to communicate to the audience. The latter is not.
And that's precisely where I am concerned as an artist: if the society does not allow artists to live by practicing their art, how could people hope to evolve and have that precious enrichment? This is a real question that should interest everyone, that is to say from the single consumers to the economists, politicians and not only the legal experts or artists themselves.
What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?
Allow me to answer the second question first. All genres have their intrinsic features and history. On the top of emotions, classic music is, together with jazz music, the only genre that requires a certain level of intelligence, awareness, culture and/or knowledge, to understand it. In the past centuries, composers could express technicality without paying too much attention to emotions if they did not want to, because on the one hand, only a few could play, compose music and on the other hand one could only listen it during a live performance. So, I can easily imagine that every occasion to listen to musicians was an opportunity to be entertained. On the other side, those same listeners were also and somehow forced to make an understanding effort because the offer was not so widespread.
But, thanks to the evolution of technology, music invaded our lives, for our greatest pleasure. When a pop star sings, for example, lyrics (messages) can be easily understood and/or translated on the Internet. The question is: how many people are taught about what a symphonic orchestra plays? In our modern societies where people are systematically running out of time, how many read an explanation/analysis about the underlying messages or meaning of a work to know the finest shades of the music?
I do not have time myself...
And that leads us to the first question. I do not think that the role of classical music must change: what genre can pretend to enhance the general level of listeners awareness ?
Instead, the form should change and be consistent with our times. Some composers such as Messrs. Zimmer, Einaudi, Bergersen for example are all successful masters at different levels and in their own style. But as far as I may know they are all modern composers of classical music. And the public answers the call because their talent allows them to produce a deep emotion and to be understood by a majority of people.
When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?
Challenges. And at different levels.
Without being exhaustive, I think that the dichotomy between old classical music and contemporary music is a controversial and sterile illusion, if not for historical or other constructive purpose.
Arrogant elitism should be abandoned. People and youth are clever.
Classical musicians should never be afraid of breaking classical codes (i.e. Mr. David Garrett) or magnify them with elegance (i.e. Mr. André Rieu) if it complies with their own style.
But there is another important aspect that concerns unknown artists (that is a majority). If it is true that the Internet allows more freedom to broadcast music and to be known, the quantity of produced music seemed to explode. And traditional actors that are still key in the industry - whatever we say - seem to have hard time to be exhaustive. And in that perspective, I do understand that they focus more likely on the most popular genres such as rock, pop etc. That's precisely why your initiative and project are so interesting and make so much sense in the present context.
Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?
Yes and no. Creativity lives inside musicians otherwise they wouldn't be what they are. Asking them to be more creative is a non-sense. Helping them overcoming some of their difficulties and/or weaknesses is more constructive.
That said, and on the other side, classical musicians must realize that Respect (for a work, a composer...) does not mean trying to better imitate what other already did. They should also avoid confusing working technique - to acquire more freedom- and stick to it in a scholar approach.
Once a musician has acquired the technical freedom and consider having a good knowledge of the workpiece, her/his duty is to interpret the music, perform it, let her/his emotions be publicly revealed in order to connect with the public and bring it in her/his universe. As a composer, I do not see a better and true honor than having a performer mixing some of her/himself, her/his emotions with myself/ my work in a unique and same time. I think it is the ultimate gift for everyone. That is magic!
Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts?
Around the music itself, of course, plenty. If an artist wishes to reach out young generation, they must speak a language youth understands and likes. The question is: do classical musicians have the courage to go beyond the stereotypes (and if yes how far?) or do they rather feel better to stand in their comfort area even if they do not reach younger generations and go on feeding the same stereotypes?
The paradox is that by essence classical musician are among the best quality performers but at the same time that quality seems to enclose them in obsolete artistic schemes.
As far as I can see, rock, jazz, pop musicians seem not to have that kind of issue. They are master of making great business out of their own limits and stereotypes…
But in the end, the influence process will take time and have a marginal influence if the trend in tastes does not evolve.
How will you proceed?
Unfortunately, I do not have a general magic solution but a few considerations: use fantasy and/or humour to surprise, be inspired by other artist, do something unexpected during a (live) performance, in all cases give more than what you did the previous time and consider all ideas without exception. In the end, decide according to your own feeling.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favorite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?
I do not have a creative process. I would say that my inspiration is a complex, fragile and unstable mix of feeling waves that must be caught and recorded immediately in order to not forget them.
If I think how John Cudlow came out... I remember I sat in front of the piano and started playing until I found the right grammar and orthography. But it was not the case for La Passione where inspiration came from my whole body and a source I could not define.
That said, I can isolate permanent features: feeling and fantasy (as per the previous definition) generating images, colors, perfumes… in my head.
My favorite piece is always the next composition I work on…
To be more transparent, I have a soft spot for Prayer of a Man - Gloria al Padre (op.3 n.3) that I haven't yet published and finished to compose...
We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?
Not doing it would be a huge and terrible mistake. I like to be consistent with our times. We have so many opportunities to live new experiences, explore new paths, elude problems… We live wonderful times if we see all the opportunities it offers. Artists are meant to influence people and make other evolve. If this can be done by entertaining them in the best possible way, why not doing it?
Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?
I do not know if I am wise enough to advise them all…
Be curious, trust yourself and listen to your heart. No one on earth has The truth. Older people have more experience but it is not always for the best. Fresh opinions and ideas are more important than what they may think. Youth should be aware that in the end, what matters is what they really like not what others could think about what they like.
Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree?
If that is the case, I would only say… At last!
We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?
If that time should ever come, the first question would rather be with whom…
Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?
No, no expectations. Only general advice. When you listen, think what you want but do not stop wondering and asking questions… I hope they will make you evolve and be of help.
What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?
Yes, indeed. I would say that every composition is a new experiment and journey. But to be more concrete, for example, concerning a composition in progress, blues genre is going to tickle classical arrangement. But at the moment, I haven't the slightest idea of how much satisfying the output will/could be as the song is only half written. I can only confirm that, if I do not find what must be said, I will not produce it.