Giuseppe Ciravolo

surgeon and composer

Italy

Author

About

About me… I was born in Milan in 1960 and I am not a pianist. I play for pleasure and compose for passion. I studied piano at the conservatory (as a privatist) but I never graduated. I'm just a lover of beautiful music. Classic and not. Nothing else. So, although I am very flattered to be counted among all these talented professionals, I must confess that, especially when browsing through some resumes, I feel a little uncomfortable. A fish out of water ... I hope that, aware of what I have explained above, you will forgive me for some compositional simplism. A little for this passion of mine (I collaborated for many years with a foundation that organizes concerts and currently with the conservatory of my city) and a little for my work, I was lucky enough to meet many well-known musicians who, despite being very different from each other, they have always fascinated me for their talent and amazed (my profession requires pragmatism) for their ability to exercise lateral thinking. I've always envied them. I envy you. Now, considering that I have no important musical studies nor, of course, any significant performances to report to you and given that the path of my professional life, having no adherence with the purpose of these pages, does not deserve to be mentioned here, I have nothing else left. than greet you, thank you for the attention you have dedicated to me so far and, thanks to Anna's kindness, wish you a good listening. “Music belongs to everyone. Only the publishers believe it belongs to them. " John Lennon

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Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

It is something inseparable from existence. It is perhaps the most sincere way of expressing oneself. A free speech, without artifacts, without rules or borders. A universal language that unfortunately, more and more often, is not understood. "Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable" Leonard Bernstein

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

In the past it has always been a combination of imagination and craft where the former was predominant. Today, at least for the most popular music, it certainly isn't anymore. Commercial music, although structurally simple, is subject to more rigid rules and stylistic features than Baroque music. More than anything else, the job is needed. There are many talented young authors who engage in this rigidly fluid world which, on the other hand, is the only one that pays off. Only some soundtracks, some pop songs, jazz and, obviously, contemporary classical pieces by independent composers are excluded. “Life is like jazz. It is better when it is improvised " George Gershwin

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

A professional musician. I am a surgeon.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

Of course. At this rate, the classical will be relegated to the museum arts. It is now perceived as a sort of secret, refined and sophisticated language. A slow and complex language projected into a fast world of acronyms. Young people of all ages, to adapt to their times, have always had to adapt to changes in speed. They must do it even today, deserting any slowness. Even that, extremely conservative, of classical music concerts. So, although it is difficult to transform such a rich and complex art into something else, it should still be modeled for this fast pace. Or you can slow down the world. The first solution is more feasible. “Music is the perfect kind of art. He never reveals his hidden secret. " Oscar Wilde

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I do not know. In fact, the use of the musical product has never been so rapid and widespread. Access to listening is now such as to make the music almost a simple background for a different, often visual, product. Even many “fans of classical" now attend concerts more to see than to listen: "Tonight I'm going to see Trifonov". The program is secondary. Whether Chopin, Tchaikovsky or Mompou plays is unknown. The important thing is to have been there (preferably in the first rows of the audience on the left). I really don't know what else can happen. The network could be of help for listening re-education as well as concerts in the dark could help us rediscover the pure role of hearing. "Music teaches us the most important thing that exists: listening" Ezio Bosso

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

It depends on what is meant by creativity. If we define it as the realization of an inspired fantasy, the contemporary musician has a wide and instant choice, both technical and cultural, to stimulate his creative process. Of course, you need to develop your own style. Debussy's music was very influenced by oriental harmonies but he had the opportunity to discover the Javanese gamelans only in 1889 at the universal exhibition in Paris where, fortunately, he lived. Today, to listen and be inspired by anything, it is enough to have a mobile phone. After all, by now, musical experimentation has no boundaries. From the most disparate instrumental and stylistic contaminations to the gestural sound, I think everything has been proposed. And more. However it may be (at least for the music that is created by emitting sounds) the creative process always has its origin in any sort of muse and remains a fundamental constant in the compositional structuring. A sort of fil rouge. The same incipit can be common to many authors but ultimately it will be only the style, the imaginative and personal part, that will make the difference. "Music and life are just a matter of style" Miles Davis

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

I believe that today the charm of classical music is very rarely perceived by young people, almost by magic. On the other hand, it is now incomprehensible jargon, a sort of soft, outdated language that, however, must and can be rediscovered. It is up to the professionals to translate and explain it, but this process requires lateral thinking, an attractive trick, a precise planning with a well-defined path. The form of the recital is obsolete, long dead. It still works for the big names that have and will always have the same audience that will age with them but, if you want to entice young people, you have to renew the way of making music. Mixed formulas of music and dance, music and prose, music and poetry etc have existed for a long time but, although they attract a less mature audience, they often relegate music to a secondary role or, at the very least, as a supporting actor. Classical music is a prima donna, a complex art that conceals within it the thousand facets of the historical context and the places where it was born, the evolution of creative thought and compositional syntax and, last but not least, of life, often as a novel, its authors. For every single piece there would be many things you can say to explain it, make it better understood and appreciated. To make him "feel" and not just listen. For many eardrums it would be a shock. How to eliminate all of a sudden, with words, large earwax plugs. A magic. I know it. Reading-concerts have been around for some time but they are almost never captivating. Often the musician does not lend himself to be a narrator (and the presence of an actor would transform the recital into a "music and prose") or he does it but does not have the necessary skills. So, in order for the magic formula to have its auditory effect, it is necessary to instruct the musicians and have them hang up their tails. Of course, for this purpose, even a director, a writer of texts and a screenwriter would be useful … "The music! A magic that surpasses all the ones we do here. (Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter) " JK Rowling

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

Well, actually I don't perceive a real creative process. I've always been writing because ... I have to. I have little time to devote to music and on those rare occasions, if I happen to be inspired by something, I compose. Generally I write (on paper) a few opening bars, the title and, often, the ending then, when I have time, I fill the rest with notes (on the computer). I rarely write the complete piece straight away. Lately it happened with PASS. Started and finished in 3 hours. One exception. I fall in love with other people's pieces but I don't have a real favorite piece of mine. Usually the last one remains in pole position until he is ousted by the next. Of course, in the end, I like some piece (terze d’acqua, celtic stones, Alhambra suite, Missed April, boring blue and some waltzes) more than others, but only one is particularly dear to me. It is a study for the right hand only that I composed during my time at the conservatory. It is called “semplicemente terzine" and the subtitle says "... what a beard Czerny and Heller!”. I found it, 40 years later, among the various papers that my mother had kept. I wrote it (including a fingering that I would change today) because, at that time, I found the melodic studies of the two aforementioned authors really boring. I wanted to be able to play something pleasant (at least for me) between studying one exercise and another. A kind of refrain. At that time I was recovering from a trauma to my right hand (from a fall on a bicycle) and I needed strengthening exercises so ...

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Read Before Listening. Then reread and listen again to be able to hear. Classical music is a wonderfully complex time machine and has an amazing and detailed instruction booklet within the reach of anyone. "Where words end, music begins" Heinrich Heine

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Never. For the most part I tell and tell myself without worrying about the possible appreciation of others but, despite my arrogance, on the rare occasions in which some of my compositions were chosen by a pianist who then performed it in public, I still heard a lot of applause ( which I indirectly perceived as mine). And now… I am a lucky man. Being listened to, perceiving that others also understand your "non-words" is always a great emotion. “The music speaks of you. He tells you the poem of your life. " Charles Baudelaire

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I have little free time. I rarely experiment. Lately I have been interested in Crescentini's enigmatic scale. I am working for an ensemble (piano, voice, cello and double bass) based on this scale but I am sure it will be a long and tiring dystochic birth. Ciao