Lo spirito del rischio

Homage to Anthony Braxton with Gianpaolo Antongirolami (2023), alto saxophone and live electronics [any duration]

Any new notation may ask new questions

Barry Mazur

Lo spirito del rischio (The Spirit of risk) is a guided improvisation. The graphic score consists of 25 modules whose duration is ad libitum, but it must be the same for all of them. The symbols in the modules – learned from mathematical and musical notation systems of ancient and non -European cultures – are grouped in two types: 23 indicate the rhythm, 25 indicate the kind of sound making and/or of treatment. The performer has first to create her/his own association with the sound to be produced for each symbol, but drawing exclusively from the 12 Language Types codified by Anthony Braxton for his Solo Pieces. Each module has a varying number of symbols (from 1 to 5).

Live electronics is also performed by the saxophone player. Through switches and pedals she/he controls which sound source has to be transformed – choosing within three different saxophone miking (close, only key noises, far) – and two forms of processing: an ‘electrification’ of the instrument’s timbre and a wah-wah filter. All the choices for these algorithm’s parameters must be associated to the graphic symbols on the score.

Lo spirito del rischio is one of the compositions which make a larger project by the same title, with solo pieces by Anthony Braxton and Roberto Doati’s electronic pieces related to Braxton’s music.

I am grateful to Joseph Mazur for his book Enlightening Symbols, a true source of inspiration together with Armand Machabey ‘s La notation musicale.