Carnaval 2 (after Robert Schumann)

for masked pianist

Composition

2020

Catalogue number : 85

What crawls around on all fours in the morning, walks on two at noon and limps on three in the evening?

Alessandro Bosetti’s Carnaval 2 uses Robert Schumann’s Carnaval as the personification of the Sfinx-part in it. Like a black hole it might only be studied by the phenomena around it, Schumann’s different identities and masks are drawn towards the light of the scene like butterflies.

Since the start of 2019, Alessandro Bosetti has been working on a radical rewriting/destruction/reconstruction of Robert Schumann’s Carnival for piano.
The piece is written for- and dedicated to dutch virtuoso pianist Reinier van Houdt.

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Even before our lives had been disturbingly overrun by masks the pianist is invited to play it while wearing a different mask for each one of the episodes from which it is composed. Multiple visual artists are asked to create or lend original masks, (crazy, abstract, disproportionate) for each new performance.
The original piece, a milestone of the romantic repertoire was written between 1834 and 1835 and included 21 episodes, each dedicated to a commedia dell’arte mask or a hidden portrait of Schumann’s friends and colleagues. The new version, while preserving the episodic structure, removes the original portraits and interpolate the new enigmatic masks with electro-acoustic “paraventi” (screens), sonic curtains hallowing the pianist to change mask and morph into a new identity.

B : Yes yes, I understood what you say, a little bit. It is that they have a complex and very evocative sound spectrum. I would say romantic, not in the sense that we usually give the adjective when we talk about music, but in the sense that they evoke something that is and isn’t there at once (the original music, which in turn is a series of evocations and masks, after all, does just that).
So obviously this also prompted me to investigate the way these evocations work. To me, more than an intellectual effort, that is an aesthetic trip.

A : Absolutely. Aesthetic trip first of all in looking for a dialogue with a music from which a distance is needed and of which some things we like very much and others we don’t. As for the evocation I said to myself: I will write every song knowing that it is the mask of someone but not knowing who that person is, and that, if I am lucky, I’ll find out along the way. And if I ever find out who that persone is, I will keep it for myself, leaving the field free for others, for example these that will be invited to create masks for the pianist to wear.

Dedicated to Reinier van Houdt.
Special thanks to Maxime Guitton.

© Alessandro Bosetti / 2021