For the Fallen

The marvelous Italian trumpeter Ivano Ascari contacted me on the recommendation of composer Fabrizio Festa, a mutual acquaintance. Ivano was creating a program in honor of the centennial of World War I and asked if I would  contribute to this effort. I thought it was an important project and agreed. Whenever I create a piece for a soloist or ensemble, I am interested in finding connections that move me both in terms of conception the musical design during our discussion, Ivano told me about the Campana dei Cauditi (Bell for the Fallen) in his home town of Rovereto. It was originally cast from cannons melted down after World War I, with the project conceived by the Priest Don Antonio Rossaro. This bell is rung 100 times at sunset every day in memory of the fallen in all wars. A recording of the bell was shared by sound engineer Marco Olivotto and I fashioned the electronics from it. Ivano premiered For the Fallen at the Mondi Sonori, XV Edizione Festival at the Trento Conservatory in Trento, IT on 10/5/12, and subsequently recorded it on his CD A Hundred Years, to commemorate  the Centenary of WWI.

I did a residency at the Trento Conservatory in 2015, delivering my first lecture in Italian, and attending a concert that included an outstanding performance of For the Fallen by Ivano, whom I had the pleasure of finally meeting. The next day, my husband and I visited Rovereto, and Ivano took us to see the impressive bell and the museum on the same grounds where there is  information about the bell and the ongoing work to foster peace.

While I rarely envision multiple versions of my compositions, this one is one of the few for which I have done so. In addition to the original version for trumpet, I’ve created versions for flute, soprano sax and cello, with versions for clarinet and for violin in process. The terrific flutist Lindsey Goodman premiered the flute version and recorded it on her CD Returning to Heights Unseen, while the outstanding sax player Drew Whiting released the version for soprano sax and electronics on his CD In Lights Starkly Different. And still another version exists for cello that was premiered by Madeleine Shapiro, It is a fascinating process to reimagine the timbral world of the bell for several different instruments, finding a way to interweave each with the compelling sound world of the electronics that I fashioned from the recordings of this amazing instrument.

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